MØ – VEGA 2024 – Photo Essay

December 2012. I vividly remember the first time I saw play live, at a big indoor one day event by the Danish radio station P6 Beat showcasing a lot of upcoming artists. MØ played a handful of songs including the two big hits ‘Maiden’ and ‘Pilgrim’. I was blown away by the energy, the music, the performance, and that undefinable something special, that edge that made me instantly think MØ was going to be huge, her performance, energy, sound was incredible. I don’t think anyone could have predicted though just how much MØ would dominate the world in the following years, it was absolutely fantastic. I was traveling a lot in that decade, living as a digital nomad actually, and I remember hearing ‘Lean On’ absolutely everywhere I went on the planet, from Copenhagen to Mexico, Peru, Serbia, Australia, Singapore, USA etc. I could not get accreditation at the 2012 gig, but had the chance to photograph MØ at a small festival in 2013, and then twice on the huge Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival in 2016 and 2019:

Always, I had this dream of one day working for MØ, her live shows are outstanding and I dreamt of a chance to capture a full MØ show. One thing I try and pass on to photographers starting out is to have patience, make awesome pictures and be an awesome person to work with, do that consistently and patiently and you can make good things happen down the road. Fast forward to now, 2024 and 12 years after I first saw MØ perform and the dream came true as I was hired to document all 3 of MØ’s sold out shows at VEGA in Copenhagen back in March. 3 shows celebrating the 10 year anniversary of MØ’s debut album ‘No Mythologies to Follow’ and I was so excited, so nervous! Yes, 12+ years of concert photography and big arena and stadium shows, but I still get really excited and nervous because it means so much, music is everything and I could never forgive myself for making mediocre pictures of something so special as these MØ shows. Actually, if I ever end up not feeling excited and nervous going on stage with my camera, I have lost the drive and will quit right there, these type of gigs are dreams come true and should always matter deeply.

MØ – No Mythologies to Follow – 10 years anniversary show!!!

The setlist solely featured songs from the debut album, and the entire show was a throwback to MØ in 2014, including bringing back the great visuals from the first MØ music videos and the classic braid! It worked so well, it was really wonderful to hear all these songs performed live again and the crowd was absolutely ecstatic and loving this trip back to the debut album. MØ was on fire, absolutely loved her performance, so many special moments and so much wonderful interaction with the crowd, just pure love of music on stage and in the venue on all 3 nights. I have to also mention the great stage design and lighting. The design featured basically a stage ‘box’ built within the stage with a raised floor meaning lights underneath the stage would be pointed up through the iron grid floors, illuminating MØ and the band from below. I don’t think I have seen this done before, it was really wicked. It was such an incredible joy and privilege to document these shows and I feel it’s the best work I have done in months.

The essay is a mostly chronological series of my favourite pictures from all 3 shows combined. As a photographer, it is such an advantage to have more than one show, you get to cover moments from different angles, study the pictures from the previous day and try out ideas like “maybe the crowd surf will look awesome from the balcony!” (it did!). More on the photography after the essay, now let’s get ready, it’s show time. A huge thank you to MØ, all of the crew and management for 3 absolutely wonderful days and the opportunity to document these shows!

The great MØ live band: Sylle Struck, Rasmus Littauer, Vilhelm Strange

Notes on photographing MØ at Vega

I used my favourite setup of 2 x FUJIFILM X-T5 cameras, 10-24mm and 16-55mm lenses most of the time, and the 50-140mm and 33mm F1.4 (spot the lovely shallow DOF shots) occasionally. That is also the nice part about having several gigs of the same show, I can experiment more with lenses. At the 2nd show I had the 50-140mm on one of my cameras all the time, I generally find this lens a bit too big for my liking but it does enable me to get shots I would never get with the 16-55, such as shooting across the entire stage and still get a tight composition. At the 3rd show I had the awesome new 33mmF1.4 prime fixed to one camera the entire show, dang that lens is a masterpiece, such clarity with mega fast AF.

As much as a I loved that stage design, it did mean the stage itself was completely maxed out, no room at all at stage left, just a bit on stage right but mostly obstructed by a lot of big moving-head lights. And the entire rear of the stage is a big projection screen so that’s off limit too. But that’s always the fun challenge as a photographer, even having shot the same venue hundreds of times, every gig and stage layout is different, you gotta adapt and find your shots, find your angles!

I am highly critical of my own work and always analyse all my pictures after a show to see where I can improve, and there are a few things at these MØ shows that I feel I didn’t quite nail, didn’t quite capture the essence. But it is also often the case, first time working for an artist, you can’t nail the very core essence of an artist expression, I feel that takes a longer working relationship so you really get to know all the little details. Overall though, I am very happy of proud of what I made during these 3 magnificent shows and I hope to get the chance to document more of MØ’s wonderful concerts.

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