3OH!3 + Tonight Alive @ The Old Museum, 12-08-10


They say a change is as good as a rest, which is part of the reason I find myself at 3OH!3’s all-ages show at the Old Museum tonight, something a lot more ‘pop’ than I would normally go and see. The other part of the reason is that I’ve known their Tour Manager through the internet for years, although up to tonight we’d never actually met (we might have been in the same room at one point at a group music photography exhibition at the Pete Doherty’s favourite haunt, The Boogaloo in London back in 2002 or 2003).

We ‘met’ in the early 2000s through a fantastic website called Grassroots, which was a UK forum for music photographers long before flickr came onto the scene. It was a much more exclusive forum than the various music groups on flickr, but always increasing in numbers as the move from film to digital changed photography. Whilst there was a huge amount of tongue-in-cheek trolling and winding-up, pages and pages of Canon vs Nikon debates, film vs digital, giving away photos for free vs getting paid threads, whilst people were always falling out with each other, it felt like a proper community, unlike the Flickr groups, which are too large and impersonal, full of people who are unable to use the ‘search’ function to find out the most basic information and too much brown-nosing of certain music photographers with truly awful, dishonest blogs, where every single band totally rocks out and is amazing.

The Grassroots website started up at just the right time, when I was beginning to think about doing music photography a bit more properly, rather than just taking my camera along to friends’ gigs and my once a year trip to Glastonbury, shooting from the crowd with a really terrible quality 100 – 300 f3.5 – f5.6 lens with a 2x converter which meant I lost another 2 stops (and had to focus manually) using film rated at 3200 ISO most of the time, and then developing the films in the university darkroom when I got back. I learnt an awful lot from the Grassroots forum and I wouldn’t be doing what I do now without it.

Being an all-ages show it starts so early, with the first band starting at 7:05pm, that I manage to completely miss then and am lucky enough to get just get there for the start of the main support band, Tonight Alive. Being an all-ages show it makes me feel really old as I’m easily one of the oldest people in the room, anyone else old-looking seems to be there chaperoning their kids… I’m intrigued by 3OH!3 as I’m struggling to think of a band who has ever got so many uniformly really bad reviews. Having said that, Rave’s Alasdair Duncan gave them a five-star review, although making the comment “3OH!3 are so thrillingly terrible that, in scraping the bottom of the barrel, they touch the stars“.    It’s not my thing, by any stretch of the imagination, but the band look like they’re really enjoying it (a nice change from indie bands who stare at their shoes and mumble into the microphone) and the crowd are really into it (a nice change from indie hipsters who sit cross-armed on the floor or talk to their mates during shows). It’s harmless, it’s fun. Everyone is having a good time and that doesn’t seem to happen enough at shows I go to these days.

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