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My Disco + 100% + Cured Pink @ Crowbar, 20.11.2015

Traditionally you expect the lights to get better as a gig goes on, in a similar fashion to the sound improving for the headline act.  Tonight is one of those nights where the lighting goes in reverse and is best for the opening band.  Cured Pink have a couple of the band being lit, 100% have one person and My Disco play in total darkness, the only light coming from a projector connected to a laptop that shines rotating 3D geometric shapes, as seen on the cover of their 2015 album, ‘Severe’, onto the bass drum cover.

Very occasionally this spills over to shine some light on to the drummer but the other two members of the band play in darkness.  It’s time like this that the LEDs on the guitar effect foot pedals becomes the dominant lighting for most of the stage.  The last time I photographed a band that played in such little light was My Disco when they played at The Zoo a few years back…

And they play late…

A late show, poor lighting, terrible photos and not the best of nights.

Future Islands + Curse Ov Dialect @ Triffid, 16.11.2015

I was never sold on that Future Islands appearance on Letterman, I didn’t get the hype about either them or the performance.  That perception changed when they played at Laneway earlier this year, when they were one of the standout acts of the day.  I think sometimes (maybe often) TV appearances just don’t translate into what a band is actually like when you see them in the flesh.  Singer Samuel T. Herring really gave it his all in his performance, despite playing on a typically hot and humid summer day and it was fantastic to photograph.  I really like the photos I got of their set and was keen to repeat the experience when they played a headlining show at Triffid.

Curse Ov Dialect are the sole support act.  I always wondered what happened to them.  I don’t think I’ve seen anything about them since that time, all those years ago, when they played at one of the 4ZZZ Market Days.

Although it’s a Monday night, and a rare Monday night show, the show is a sell out.  I didn’t expect that, assuming that the hype about Future Islands would have died down by now, and they didn’t seem like the sort of band that had a massive, long-term following.  It’s not as good as the Laneway experience as the Triffid lighting isn’t the best, with Herring plunging into darkness anytime he moves to the front of the stage.  At least there’s a proper photo pit, generally Triffid don’t put up barrier and you have to photograph from the crowd.

AC/DC + The Hives + Kingswood @ QSAC, 12.11.2015

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AC/DC are a band I grew up with and have been listening to and enjoying for decades.  I’d never seen them so bought a ticket for one of the QSAC shows, a venue that’s just up the road from where I live, never expecting to be successful with applying for a photo pass.  Getting a photo pass plus ticket for the first night and having a ticket for the second night meant seeing the band twice in the period of three nights.

I wrote some words about it on Collapse Board, about whether it’s ok to like AC/DC.  I’m still not sure to be honest.  The shows were ok, not a great venue, the sound wasn’t the best, the setlist was identical on both nights and sadly Brian Johnson’s voice sounded a bit shot.  It was all about Angus and glad I went to finally get to see him play live.  Photographing them was fun. Photographing big shows normally is, it’s a shame I’m not in a position to cover many of them these days.

Pulled Apart By Horses + YELLOWCATREDCAT + Release The Hounds @ Crowbar, 29.10.2015

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When I saw Pulled Apart By Horses at Soundwave a few years back, they were one of the standout bands of the day. I thought there was something Zeppelin-esque in the riffs even though listening to them on Spotify the following day while editing the photos, they sounded nothing like them.

It’s one of those weirdly uncomfortable shows where at the start there’s more photographers, all lined up in a row at the front, than there are punters. Even by the time the headliners play there’s probably only 50 or 60 people there, this despite the reduced price in the lead up to the show, with the price coming down from somewhere around $50 to a very reasonable $30.

Still a great live band but obviously would have been better if it hadn’t have been at Crowbar. It’s another night or wearing earplugs the whole night and coming away with ringing ears. I hate to think what it’s like for the people who work there.

Still a great live band, although would have helped if had not been at Crowbar. Another night or wearing earplugs the whole night and coming away with ringing ears. Hate to think what it’s like for the people who work there.

E^ST + Golden Vessel, Mid Ayr @ Black Bear Lodge, 01.10.2015

E^ST @ Black Bear Lodge, Thursday 1 October 2015

On the Wednesday night I stayed in the Valley after work as Kirin J Callinan was playing a random Brisbane show at Brightside. After having some food (burrito), I headed to the venue at around 8:30pm only to find that the headliner was playing a 10:40 to 11:30pm set. On a Wednesday. So I just went home.

The following evening I’m back in the Valley to see E^ST at Black Bear Lodge. As someone who tries to listen to everything in my inbox, usually between 30 and 50 emails a day (although to be honest I pass on all the death metal I get), I really liked the E^ST promo for ‘The Alley’ I got sent by the PR person. Apart from all that death metal, so much of the rest of what I get sent falls into two camps; male singers who want to be Bon Iver and female singers who want to be the new Lorde. With respect to the former of those two categories, someone should develop an app that interrogates the contents of my inbox and automatically deletes anyone sounding like Bon Iver. Most of the second category is just very boring, just all the same sounds, the same drum loops, the song structures and vocals so indistinguishable from each other that sometimes you’d swear it’s the same person and the same song as the last promo single you heard, despite the subject of the email telling you it’s a different song by a different act. But E^ST, much like Lorde, works and stands above all the competition because of the voice.

Being a new act, it’s one of those shows when you wonder in advance if there’s going to be much of a crowd. Of course then she does triple j’s Like A Version the Friday before show and the venue is packed with everyone wanting to hear her do her Bitter Sweet Symphony/Teardrop mash-up. It’s a good, if short, show, one that really marks her out as an act to watch. Even better is that the show is all over by the time Kirin J Callinan was due to start the night before.

Sixfthick + HITS + Deafcult @ Crowbar, 26.09.2015

Sixfthick @ Crowbar, Saturday, 26 September 2015

The only note I made for this show was that my ears were still ringing on the Monday.  And that was with wearing earplugs.  Every time a band I like and/or want to see announces a tour and the Brisbane date is at Crowbar, I die a bit inside.  I’m sure they’re lovely people, it’s just a shame that they’ve got an awful space for seeing bands.  The photos didn’t turn out too badly though.

BIGSOUND 2015, 10.09.2015 – Part 2

Totally Mild @ BigSound 2015, Thursday 10 September 2015

The final set of photos from BigSound 2015. Highlights were Jonny Telephone at Ric’s, one of the pleasant surprises of the whole thing, and, as yesterday, Major Leagues and Totally Mild. I’d never seen Waax before and they were fun to photograph as was Milwaukee Banks. I’m not a fan of the music but really liked the photos that came out of it, despite having to battle the poor lighting at Woolly Mammoth.

Even if most of the line-up is your average triple j fare, it’s good to see BigSound getting its act together this year, or at least doing a much better job of trying to put its house in order. In previous years, under its old regime, the conflicts of interest between the people putting on the event and the bands being awarded showcases was embarrassing to the point of disgraceful. They’re probably lucky that that Brisbane Musicians United lot didn’t get their act together, despite all the evidence that was readily available, as you would have to question whether any funding bodies would have been willing to stump up the cash for the event to run if they had put together the argument that was there to be made. It’s still far from perfect, as the awarding of a much coveted showcase to The Rumjacks shows. But that’s another story for another time.

BIGSOUND 2015, 10.09.2015 – Part 1

Darts @ BigSound 2015, Thursday 10 September 2015

As for Parts 1 and 2 from the first night of showcases, these photos are presented alphabetically rather than in chronological order from the night. Looking through them now it’s hard to remember anything or anyone that really stood out from this selection of bands. Maybe Darts, maybe Sui Zhen? That’s the trouble with cramming so much into each night, it all becomes a blur, even more so by BigSound’s second night, when the novelty has worn off somewhat and the approaching end of the night becomes ever more attractive.