Music Photography


2011 Photo Passes and Tickets
Another year has zipped by and today’s the ninth anniversary of the site.

The backlog has increased and I’ve recently found myself over a year behind, despite photographing less and less.  I think that’s half the problem; when I was photographing much more it helped make sure I kept on top of things.  I would photograph much more than I do but no one seems interested in reviewing.  I miss those days of photographing several times a week.  I try to avoid doubling up as much as I can as I’m not a great reviewer and definitely not a fast reviewer/writer.  I’m the king of unfinished posts that take so long as to be unusable as the moment has long since passed.

The other reason for the decline in posting is that in recent years I became a habitual writer, managing to crank out 400-500 words every morning on the train to work, but thanks to the cost I don’t use public transport as much as I did, maybe only once or twice a week. It’s not enough to keep on top of it all.

I’m now up to 562 posts (this one being 563), a measly 18 posts during the year compared to 50 last year and 45 the year before and a long way off 2012’s record productive year of 88 posts. I didn’t get around to doing a ‘Best of 2014′ at the start of the year but, then again, I still haven’t gotten around to doing a ‘Best of 2013′ yet either.  The photos are all up to date (with the exception of this weekend’s from the Babaganouj show at The Brightside and a photo of last year’s tickets and passes, hence the 2012 version) and a lot of the 2014 posts have been fully drafted so it’s a case of putting together a few of the outstanding ones to get back on target.  The next job is trying to put into words just how good the 3 ¾ hour Bruce Springsteen show was last February.

This August also marks the 10th anniversary of moving to Brisbane.  I really should do something official to mark the occasion, although I don’t know what or whether I’ll end up having the time to do anything.

For interest, the most popular posts of the last 12 months are below.  That’s two years in a row that Brian Setzer has topped the list.

  1. Brian Setzer’s Rockabilly Riot @ The Tivoli, 28.03.2012
  2. Soundwave 2012 @ RNA Showgrounds, 25.02.2012, Part 1
  3. Queens Of The Stone Age – The True Meaning of Era Vulgaris
  4. Flavours Of Scuzz @ Woodland, 09.07.2011
  5. Parklife 2011 @ The Riverstage, 01.10.2011
  6. Soundwave 2010 @ RNA Showgrounds, 20.02.2010: Part 1
  7. Laneway 2013 @ RNA Showgrounds, 01.02.2013: Part 1
  8. Good Vibrations @ Gold Coast Parklands, 19.02.2011: Part 1
  9. Soundwave 2012 @ RNA Showgrounds, 25.02.2012: Part 3
  10. Steely Dan + Steve Winwood @ Sirromet Wines, Mt Cotton, 23.10.2011
  11. Mark Lanegan Band @ The Tivoli, 21.04.2012
  12. Soundwave 2013 @ RNA Showgrounds, 23.02.2013: Part 3
  13. Jesus Jones + The Wonder Stuff + Clouds @ The Tivoli, 18.08.2011
  14. Everett True vs The Australian Music Press
  15. Big Day Out 2014 @ Metricon Stadium, 19.01.2014: Part 3
  16. Future Music Festival 2012 @ Doomben Racecourse, 03.03.2012: Part 1
  17. Soundwave 2013 @ RNA Showgrounds, 23.02.2013: Part 2
  18. Laneway 2014 @ RNA Showgrounds, 31.01.2014: On Film
  19. The Steady As She Goes + Occults @ Black Bear Lodge, 13.02.2014
  20. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band @ Brisbane Entertainment Centre, 26.02.2014: On Film

Soundwave 2014 @ RNA Showgrounds, 22.02.2014: Part 3


By the time the mid to late metal scene was around, I’d long moved on. Although I wasn’t really interested, It was only the fact that I’d never seen Korn that made me go along to photograph them. Just another one for the list and another band photographed for the day. Musically I still don’t understand these sorts of bands, I guess I was just too old at the time.

If there is one band I’m looking forward to seeing, it’s the reformed Rocket From The Crypt. I stay and watch most of their set and it’s fun. Sadly they play in front of a criminally small crowd, probably the smallest of the day, at least the smallest for this tent stage. You could easily fit everyone in The Zoo with room to spare, which just isn’t right, especially with Korn playing to the masses less than 100m away.

Green Day are this year’s main stage headliners and have been allocated a massive timeslot. I guess they’ve had the mainstream appeal to warrant their top of the bill placing but again, it’s 90s rock that had passed me by at the time they were first starting out. There’s a rumour that we’ve only got one song although no one official has actually told me this. It wasn’t announced at the start of the day when we picked up our photo passes, which is normally when you find these things out. Waiting in the pit for them to start, my camera is refusing to play ball, my 70-200 main lens refusing to focus on anything, even if it’s brightly lit and shouldn’t be a problem. Come showtime, it decides to work, not perfectly but enough to get a few photos. I think every photographer gets the Billy Joe Armstrong jump shot from one angle or another, the annoying thing being from where I’m stood in the pit, I also get a healthy dose of microphone stand across the middle. Come the end of the song, PR confirm that it’s only the first song, and we all shuffle along and out of the photo pit. With the band playing for over two hours, you get to hear them in the distance whenever you’re walking between stages but it doesn’t sound very inspiring.

By comparison, Rob Zombie is a lot of fun to photograph, even if there’s some horrible red lighting that makes my camera unhappy. Musically it’s all fairly terrible sounding but at least there’s something of the old school rock star about him and his band that makes it visually interesting, something that’s at least as important when you’re tasked with photographing all these acts.

I only get to see the last song from Glassjaw while sat down waiting in the photo pit for The Dilinger Escape Plan so take a few cheeky photos.

This is the second time I’ve photographed Dillinger Escape Plan and the lesson I learn is that they’re infuriating to photograph.

When they played at Soundwave back in 2012 they played the tiny Stage 7 and within seconds of seconds of them starting to play, singer Greg Puciato had launched himself into the unlit surrounds of the photo pit and then away into the midst of the crowd. Being completely unprepared and with time being against be with the three song rule, it meant having to commit that ultimate of photographer crimes and use the pop up flash. I got a few ok shots from the experience but nothing as good as I would have liked and nothing that did a service to just how good the band were playing live.

This time around I make sure I’m ready with my flash in place, except this time there’s no rush for the crowd. The band play the much larger, much higher up the rank Stage 5 with a proper stage and proper lights, except everything is strobing and there’s a tonne of dry ice to contend with. All of this coupled with a camera that is playing up and hates strobing lights and dry ice at the best of times makes it three songs of hit and hope, with the camera’s auto focus continuing to search back and forth to find something to lock onto. In the end I take far too many photos; I think the three song rule went by long before any of the photographers started moving away. As in 2012, I end up with a few ok shots, but nothing to write home about. As is nearly always the case, I look at photos from the Soundwaves around the country from places far further south and with daylight savings and am always a bit jealous as they get the same bands playing on outdoor stages in daylight that Brisbane gets playing long after the sun has gone down or playing in dark tents. I’m living in hope that one day I’ll get to photograph The Dilinger Escape Plan under good lighting conditions and with a properly working camera.

It’s another long hike across the festival site from Stage 5, past the neverending Green Day, and all the way to Stage 4 for Mastodon. The trouble with the pointy end of any festival is that all the headline acts always start at almost exactly the same time as each other. Stage 4  is running late, they didn’t claw back any of the lost time that they incurred much earlier in the day when GWAR were really late starting, which means that despite the long walk, there’s only time for one song in the photo pit before the needing to make one last port of call for the day. It’s a shame as I really like that last Mastodon album and there’s a whole host of bands that I see play festivals towards the top of the bill, Mastodon among them, that I only ever get to see for a few songs at most and who always only play festivals in Brisbane rather than their own headline shows in the city.

The last band of the day are Living Colour. I manage to go to the wrong stage, not checking my schedule and thinking they were on Stage 6, so by the time I get to Stage 7, they’ve already started. I know someone has to play in that spot, but it seems wrong that they’re playing the smallest stage at the festival, but it’s reassuring that there’s a really big crowd there to see them. I was quite into Living Colour back in the day, at least for those first couple of albums. Saw them at a show they played at The Mayfair in Newcastle (the ticket stub is pinned up with all my other tickets in my bedroom back home; from memory I think it was £8) and went to an instore signing the day of the show to get my copy of Vivid signed. Having not seen them in over 20 years, it’s strange seeing stylish guys with crazy haircuts in the late 80s/early 90s as middle-aged men with sensible haircuts in 2014. Still sounding great though and I stay for most of their set before deciding that it’s time to go and start processing photos. Soundwave 2014 was another scorcher of a day and, as ever, it’s really taken its toll on me.

So after five years of photographing Soundwave, the run ground to a sudden halt in 2015, which was a real shame. I did try and contact Soundwave’s media people fairly early on last year to try and get them to add Collapse Board to their mailing list but never heard anything from them. No doubt I’ll try again sometime soon as it was disappointing to miss out and then find plenty of places being given accreditation for the Brisbane leg that look to have much lower readership (based on some of the generic web stats sites) than we have. There were definitely a few acts that I would have loved to have tried to get interviews with and of course I would have loved to have photographed the festival again.

The 2015 version was split over two days, with less stages and longer set times, so it looked like it wouldn’t have been as much of all-day marathon as it normally is, even with having to turn up for that second day. I think for 2016 they’ve already said that it’ll be back to a one day event. Here’s to hoping for a swift return to photographing Soundwave in 2016.

Soundwave 2014 @ RNA Showgrounds, 22.02.2014: Part 2


Although I wrote a few notes at the time for Part 1, I didn’t write anything down for the rest of day, Relying on my memory a year later is going to make the remainder of these posts fairly brief.

I’m late getting to Stage 6 for Trash Talk and as I turn my attention to the stage, realise that everyone else if focusing on the singer who’s prowling the photo pit with us. I should have taken more time to set myself up and gone and gotten a flash but stupidly just decide to wing it as I’ve already missed a song or two and didn’t want to lose any more shooting time. The three song limit doesn’t seem to apply and everyone stays around long after that point has been and gone. I didn’t really expect to get anything but manage to save a few photos that aren’t too bad, all things considered.

Pulled Apart By Horse are the discovery of the day. There was something Zeppelin-esque about them, with huge guitar riffs and thundering drums. However, editing photos the following day and listening to them on Spotify, they’re just not the same.

I’d never seen GWAR before but know exactly what to expect. Knowing what was coming I made sure I was well prepared with a cheap $5 waterproof jacket (with a $2 poncho for emergency back- up) and my waterproof camera jacket. Despite all this, my main regret afterwards is that I still erred on the side of caution and distance rather than just getting right in there to photograph. My first port of call after shooting them is the bathroom to clean myself up. Whatever they make that fake blood from, it’s a fairly horrible thing, really sticky and hard to remove.  The stains on my hat are still there a year and countless washes later.  It’s sad to think that only a few weeks after these photos were taken vocalist Oderus Urungus/Dave Brockie died.

I know I saw Panic! At The Disco because I have the photos to prove it but can’t remember anything about the experience.

Filter start late due to technical issues and only manage to fit in four songs before they run out of time. I think the changeover time between acts is only something like 20 minutes which is fairly short given the stage has to be cleared by the previous band before the next band can set up. Do I remember something from AJ saying that he’d get them back again to make up for them only playing such a short set?

I’ve seen Clutch before, when they played the long-forgotten Overcranked back in 2007 or 2008. They’re a lot more enjoyable than I remember and I regret never listening to the promo version of their last album that someone sent me.

Regular readers will know if there’s one thing I hate, it’s musicians (and by that I really mean singers) coming out and performing with a drink in their hand. So Pennywise’s singer annoys me from the very start. I think I might have seen them before, at Reading a long, long time ago. They play that US style of punk that I think I like even less than the UK style of punk.

+++ (Crosses) are next up. A lot of people seem to be really into them (and their album). I enjoy photographing (as always) but it’s fairly pedestrian musically.

Soundwave 2014 @ RNA Showgrounds, 22.02.2014: Part 1

The Story So Far @ Soundwave 2014, RNA Showgrounds, Saturday 22 February 2014

Soundwave 2015 is less than a month away [at least it was when I first starting drafting this post, showing just how slack I’ve become in recent times] but as no one has asked me I’m guessing that I won’t be photographing it this year.

I’ve photographed the last five festivals – 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 – for The Vine but since Fairfax sold the site the new owners have looked to turn the site into another one of those sites that copies and pastes the same stories from other news sites and social media in order to create content, while coming up with very little of its own stories. I guess without Fairfax’s backing there’s little money to invest in the site but it’s a shame. There’s been next to no music photography on the site since the takeover: I think the last one might have been Splendour but (as in previous years) that opportunity went to someone from Sydney/Melbourne [of course within a day of starting to draft this they put up some Laneway photos from Sydney and have just put up some Drake photos from his Melbourne show].  I don’t really see the logic because, as I’ve argued here previously, you could write a first-rate review or conduct the most amazing interview and I’m probably only going to read it once. However, I could put up a rubbish gallery (not that I’d really be wanting to) and even if you click through the first couple of photos, I’ve got more page hits than most writers. To be honest, I hate that approach and find it dishonest, which is why when it comes to be own galleries, I make them accessible without having page click through them.

Soundwave is always the most full on of the summer festivals. The size of the site and all those stages means being constantly on the go to cover as much as possible. It’s the festival with the worst morning-after feeling and usually takes a few days to recover, especially if it’s been a hot day, which it usually is. 2014 was another one of those baking hot and sunny days.

Following on from Laneway 2014, Soundwave 2014 was another day of camera issues and my main lens not wanting to focus on anything, just endlessly searching to focus even when lights were good, there was no dry ice and there shouldn’t have been any problems. By the time it got to the pointy end of the day, it was worse than ever and a slight miracle that I came away with anything. I can remember standing in the pit for Green Day (who we got one song for) and it wouldn’t focus on anything but then behaved itself for those few short minutes. A year on and there’s been no change. I really should sort it out as neither of my main lenses are working properly but they both need to go to Sydney and I need to try and find a definitive quiet time in the year for this to happen. Maybe I’ll try for May/June as that’s always the quietest time for shows in Brisbane.

If there’s one thing you can rely on with Soundwave, it’s that no matter how early you get there, they’ll be issues with the media passes which mean you miss some of the bands at the start of the day. 2014 is no different, with names not on the media list and needing to chase up PR people to come and sort out the passes. Late entry sadly means no Amon Amarth and their Viking ship set-up

It’s amazing that Biffy Clyro are on so early, the first band of the day on the main stage, given they headlined Reading/Leeds above NIN in August. Considering how much shit there was from bands unhappy at their allocated playing times that bands were actually dropping out of the festival, it says a lot for them.

I’ve no idea who Mayday Parade are but they sold out a sideshow at The Tivoli so I end up taking the long way around to Stage 5 via Stage 3 and pretty much wish I haven’t as Mayday Parade are another one of those terrible modern metal bands.

After having the mandatory early-in-the-day reconnaissance walk around the site to check out the stages, I take a few photos of Defiler from the crowd but nothing good enough to be worth showing the world before a quick couple of songs of Less Than Jake. Maybe it was just me, but I was finding the lighting really hard to deal with; all backlight causing flaring, no front light to light up the band’s faces.

After checking out The Story So Far (another one of those bands) I head over to Stage 6 and check out The Defiled. They’re interesting to photograph, especially the keyboard player, who throws his keyboard around, and keeps raising it, stand and all, over his head. The downside is that Stage 6 is virtually pitch black and the camera settings are in places that just aren’t conducive to taking good photos. The unholy trinity of high ISO, very low shutter speed and large aperture still not being sensible enough to get a decent exposure under the circumstances of an energetic rock band playing on stage.

Part of me really regrets missing out on Bon Jovi’s Suncorp Stadium show a year or two back. They were just one of those bands from my teenage years and the obligatory teen metal years. I even wrote off my first car while New Jersey was playing in the tape player. Estranged guitarist Richie Sambora is playing in the heat if the early afternoon sun and I only get to see him for a few songs so miss out on anything from the ol’ days which I’m assuming gets saved for nearer the end of his set. Unless he’s doing that thing where you completely ignore your music from a previous life to concentrate on the new songs.

If you were to do that poster thing that recently happened with the Reading/Leeds bill for 2015 for the 2014 version of Soundwave, you’d be in trouble. At the time I did actually go through all the profile pictures on Soundwave’s website and based on those band promo photos think it was something like four female performers on the whole bill, and maybe only one or two female singers. It’s little wonder that metal has the issues it has when it comes to gender balance. Being one of the those very few female singers, I go and check out Nostalghia, who’s a lot better live than she sounded in her Youtube clips. I really had hoped that Babymetal would play Soundwave in 2015 but it didn’t happen. Maybe 2016?

Mutemath seem like an odd choice for Soundwave. Didn’t they play Splendour at some point. The drummer is magnificent, the rest of the band less so.

(Not) Eminem + Kendrick Lamar + J.Cole + Action Bronson + 360 @ Suncorp Stadium, 20.02.2014

Kendrick Lamar @ Suncorp Stadium, Thursday 20 February 2014

The day after the Wire show at the Zoo and it’s a last minute opportunity to photograph the show at Suncorp. It makes me regret turning down the opportunity to photograph Dolly Parton at the BEC on the Friday night because I could have had a four-in-a-row run of Wire, this show, Dolly Parton and Soundwave.

The downside to tonight’s show is that bizarrely we’re not allowed to photograph the headline act.  I’ve been to festivals where we’ve not been allowed to photograph headliners or certain bands during the day but can’t remember ever going to a show where this has been a stipulation for the main attraction.  Eminem has brought his own personal photographer and they’re supplying the official photo to the media.  What’s funny is that the official photo from the Brisbane show that comes out the next day is pretty terrible.

It’s an early start time, needing to be at the venue by 4pm if we want to photograph all the rest of the bill.  The photographers are allowed to sit and watch the bands, so it’s a more pleasant experience than last time I photographed at Suncorp for The Police/Fergie when they made us wait on the pavement outside between acts and kicked us out of the venue after The Police’s first three songs.

It’s not just that so much Australian hip hop is bad, it’s just that so much of it, at least what I hear played, is so far behind the rest of the world.  It’s funny how 360 has turned into some enlightened renaissance man by the end of 2014 considering his songs include lyrics about bitches sucking his dick and he also adds in some between song banter about how crazy the first night of the tour had been with “chicks getting their tits out”.  It just makes you think that it’s 2014 and haven’t we as a civilisation just moved along from all this crap? It’s terrible but depressingly the crowd seem really into it.

Ah, the crowd. It’s easy to feel that I stick out like a sore thumb given I haven’t got a neck tattoo and aren’t wearing a wife-beater and baseball cap combination.  I find out afterwards that the reviewers got the five-star treatment, watching from a corporate box with air con (it’s a ridiculously hot and humid afternoon), free food and as much free alcohol as they want.  Us lowly photographers just get to watch various acts of carnage down near the front of the stage.  A woman gets dragged over the barrier and one point and goes mental at the security, I think one of them might have copped a foot to the face.  After a bunch of them basically sit on her for about five minutes, it looks like it’s all calmed down but as soon as it reaches a point of relaxation she kicks off again and gets unceremoniously dragged out with a security guard on each limb.

Whereas 360 gets the crowd going, you could almost hear a pin drop after each of Action Bronson’s songs.  He’s a big man and way out of shape, probably not helped by the heat of the day.  He has to have a puff on something after every song and at one point is just bent over double getting his breath back.  He starts early than advertised, with only me in the pit although another couple of photographers make it before he finishes off after only about 20 minutes to mute applause.

Back in the crowd I miss a fight that happens but get to see the aftermath as one guy lies motionless on the floor being attended to by medical staff who eventually take him away (still motionless) on a stretcher while a group of police talk to three guys for some time before escorting them away.

If I could remember more, I’m sure I would say more about J.Cole and Kendrick Lamar other than the fact that everything is better when you have a full band backing you, rather than relying on the tinny sounds of decks and samples.

I don’t stay for Eminem, partly because I assume we’re being kicked out, partly because I don’t really want to watch the show from the crowd.  I hear afterwards that I could have stayed and, as even a lowly photographer, I could also have also gotten access to that five star treatment being doled out to the important people.  As I leave, there’s a guy being dragged out by security, his trousers around his ankles as he’s chucked out of the venue.  Some might call it the perfect end to the night.

Wire + Per Purpose + Multiple Man @ The Zoo, 19.02.2014


One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2014 was to do more interviews. It wasn’t really because I really wanted to do them and re-invent myself as an interviewer as much as it was that we kept being offered them and no one was ever interested. So potential interviews with the likes of Mudhoney, Future Of The Left (as a couple of examples) just went begging. Once you start turning down things, it’s a short step to not being offered anything.

Interview No.1 was with Adalita and great and I really enjoyed it (apart from the transcribing bit). I had a list of what I thought would be interesting questions but not being used to how quickly 20 minutes goes by, we’d barely gotten into them before it was time to end. Next up was an interview with Wire, with time scheduled with both Colin Newman and Graham Lewis. The line to Colin was terrible from my end and wasn’t helped by the incessant stream of planes overhead on their way to the airport. I think the flight paths must have changed at some point because it didn’t use to be like this. It was hard to hear what he was saying and the guy can definitely talk; I could barely get a word in edgeways but the list of questions didn’t really matter as it was just a really interesting conversation and we went massively overtime, almost double what was scheduled.

It was only when I went to transcribe the first of the two-part interview that I found out that there had either been an upgrade to Android or the app I was using (I can’t remember which) that meant that it didn’t record properly. Whereas the interview with Adalita a couple weeks earlier had recorded both of our voices perfectly, the update meant that instead of the other person’s voice being recorded internally, it had now been captured only through the phone microphone via the sounds coming out of the speaker. So in addition to being a terrible line, with an annoying amount of background noise, it meant that the recording of the other voice was virtually inaudible. I tried various software to bump the signal to a more coherent level in order to try and transcribe it. Although this worked to some degree, there were passages that were still too quiet and which had to be left out.

The Graham Lewis interview a few days later went similarly well. Having gone well over the scheduled time with Colin, it meant that I started with less credit on the phone card I’d been given by the PR people than expected. The line was better for me this but not from Graham’s end in Sweden, where he was getting a lot of noise and interference. As a result of this, he got me to call back a few times which meant that the already small phone card credit further diminished with the initial connection fee. It was another really enjoyable chat but we were less than 8 minutes into it before the pips sounded and the call cut out. I explained what had happened to the PR the following day and asked them to apologise to Graham for the call being cut off so suddenly but not sure if he got it. Sorry Graham. Maybe we can try again next time?

The Zoo’s website lists them as only playing for an hour from 9:40pm to 10:40pm but seeing the 19 song setlist on the stage floor, it’s clear that’s not going to happen unless they’re going back to those sub-two minute songs for almost the whole performance. Having spoken to them about the need to always be moving forward, they’ve really put this into practice with the setlist made up of more new songs than you would generally expect to see at a show, as well as a lot of the band’s current Change Becomes Us album. There’s not that much from Wire’s extensive back catalogue, although ‘Drill’ and ‘Map Ref 41°N 93°W’ and ‘Marooned’ get played. Of the new songs played, the highlight is ‘Harpooned’, the last song of the main set that ends with a one chord wall of sound that lasts for about 10 minutes.

Graham Lewis makes a comment about the crowd being subdued but it’s one of those nights where it’s really hot in The Zoo and everyone is wilting even before the band starts. Wire show no sign of jetlag or suffering with the heat and it’s slightly surprising to see him pulling out all the rock star moves; you can tell that he really loves being on stage. Colin Newman is quieter, doesn’t say much between songs and the banter is left to Graham Lewis.

There is one guy in the crowd going nuts for the whole set, obviously annoying the people at the very front but what do they expect? Everyone else in the room just laughs at this guy being so into it. As had been forecast by the band when I spoke to them, it’s a very mixed crowd and a real spread of ages. It’s also the second gig in a row at The Zoo that someone has busted out a joint and filled the venue with a plume of smoke.

It’s awkward to photograph as Graham Lewis has music stand with his lyrics and Colin Newman has his on an IPad that attached to a mic stand. The clutter makes clear views impossible although Graham Lewis ditches the music stand right after the third song and when I’ve moved away from the front. Robert Grey is another one of those drummers who plays with his eyes shut , always annoying from a photographic point of view, while second guitarist Matt Simms plays way out to the side in the dark. Even with all these obstacles, I’m fairly happy with the photos from the night.

The Steady As She Goes + Occults @ Black Bear Lodge, 13.02.2014

The Steady As She Goes @ Black Bear Lodge, Thursday 13 February 2014

I have the (not very good) photos to prove I was at this show but forgot to log it in my all-singing, all-dancing spreadsheet of gigs I have attended/photographed or write any notes about it.  It was only when I was doing some backing up and syncing of my hard drives that I stumbled across the photos and realised that I probably needed to post them up. But some 9 months after the event and with no notes to go on, there’s nothing to really add.

From memory it was a last minute decision as I’d been working late but had the next day off.  Not sure if there was a third act that opened the night, I’m guessing there probably was.  having just done a quick Google check it turns out there were another couple of acts that night; Kate Jacobson/Ola Karlsson and Ben Salter.  I’m guessing I made a snap decision that I probably already had enough photos of them…  Sorry guys.

Blank Realm + Four Door + Lucy Cliche + Sewers + Thigh Master @ The Underdog, 08.02.2014


A last minute gig and the excitement of being asked by The Guardian slightly tempered by the thought of a late show. I know that if I were to go back through the This Is Not A Photo Opportunity archives, the most common themes from the last eight years would be lighting, contracts and late shows. I’ve said it more than once, but I don’t want to be out seeing bands that don’t start until after midnight. The annoyance at late shows is always compounded living in Brisbane with its terrible public transport system but either way, watching a band play in the early hours isn’t usually a very enjoyable experience.

It’s a first visit to the Underdog, the revamped Step Inn, The Shamrock as it was called when I first moved to Brisbane. Nothing stays the same for very long in Brisbane. The old band space was a terrible room for seeing bands, and especially photographing them. The renovations have vastly improved the place although it’s a bit of a shame to see the extended old band room being turned into the restaurant part of the pub, with the area that used to host the pokies now hosting the music. It’s not the biggest space, maybe 150 people could squeeze in, although the sound system and lights look to be a vast improvement on what was here before.

Sewers are entertaining, while Four Door take me straight back to 1990-91. Close your eyes and the last 25 years just disappear. Blank Realm are excellent. The band don’t start until about 12:15am and I only stay for about 40 minutes. I miss the chance to get some photos of Bedroom Suck Records’ boss, Joe Alexander, swinging from the lighting rig, which is a shame.

Although I’ve already received a promo download copy of Blank Realm’s new album, I pick up a copy on vinyl on the way out. Grassed Inn should be one of the albums of the year, although by releasing at the start of the year they run the risk of it being forgotten by December. It’s good to see that it’s made the Australian Music Prize long list; given that there’s never been a Queensland winner, and next to no Queensland acts have even made the shortlist over the last decade, could this be Brisbane’s year? The trouble is that the way the AMP is set up, with the majority of judges based in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia’s stupid state parochialism makes anyone from outside of Victoria or New South Wales rank outsiders when it comes to the crunch. By criminally ignoring Queensland all these years, they also run the risk of being accused of tokenism; we’ve never awarded it to anyone from Queensland, let’s make it their year, normal service can be restored next year.

As seems to always the way when you’re photographing for someone new or to a tight deadline, there are issues. Somehow the act of transferring the files from my notebook to an external hard drive, in order to use my all-powerful desktop to do the photo crunching at speed, results in the files completely vanishing. There’re no longer on the notebook’s desktop, but they didn’t make it across to the hard drive either. The only course of action is to go back to the SD card and use a file recovery program to try and find the missing files. After a number of passes through the process, I find that all I can recover are the JPEGs; the RAW files have completely gone. So the JPEGs it has to be.

Luckily The Guardian only wants a couple of photos to choose from. Blank Realm have a singing drummer so I send them one close up photo of a singing drummer knowing that never in a million years will a publication print a photo of a drummer to accompany a live review. The second photo is wider shot of a keyboard player/singer with a bass guitarist in the background. As predicted they go with the second photo.