Flavours Of Scuzz @ Woodland, 09.07.2011

The Bands: A+

On paper it was an unbelievably good looking line-up but if there’s one thing that always elevates gigs and festivals it’s coming away having seen/heard/experienced some bands that you’ve never seen before but which you really want to see again and hope that they come back to Brisbane soon. There might have only been a few people there at the death for the last band of the night, Gooch Palms, who got the 2:30 – 3am time slot on the Main Stage, but they really did save the best until last. Originally, as I had no idea who they were, I was going to head off after Keep On Dancin’s, but then a couple of people told me that I had to hang around and see them as “the singer sticks his microphone up his arse”. What more did I need to know? In the end it was a bit of a hyperbole as he didn’t. I mean he rubbed it up and down his arse crack, but there was no insertion, so to speak of. Even without the antics – also including sixfthick-style microphone self-bludgeoning – it’s still a great set of songs and I’m looking forward until the next time they play in Brisbane. Brat Farrar were another new band for me that really impressed. Fronted by Digger & The Pussycats’s Sam Agostino, they are a no-nonsense three-chord punk band but again with a bunch of great songs.

From the Brisbane bands I already knew before the day, Hits outshine everyone; they’re the standout band of the whole day. As I’ve written before they can be hit and miss live but tonight catches them at their very best. Having still not got around to it, I want to buy their album but the merch stand only has it on vinyl and not having a turntable these days I decide to hang on and get the CD next week. As the penultimate band of the day, the Keep On Dancin’s play the Function Room at 2am to a small audience but sound fantastic.

Again I wanted to get their album but they didn’t have it at the merch stand. With Rocking Horse Records now due to close in a couple of weeks [at the time I started drafting this post], JB Hi-Fi really needs to step up and provide the local independent bands with some space to sell their albums; whether they do remains to be seen although I think it’s unlikely though given how they maximise their shelf space and it probably wouldn’t be in their financial interests to promote bands on the local scene that don’t conform to triple j’s requirements.

Notable mentions to Blank Realm and Velociraptor ,who are both always great to see.

The Crowd: D

Woodland just brings out the worst in people. After having experienced an annoying young crowd at Ty Segall a couple of days later, the Flavours Of Scuzz crowd maybe older on the whole but, as someone who’s completely sober, they’re just as bad, if not worse. At times it’s a really nasty crowd, as seen by the boy v girl fight during Velociraptor’s set, the girl who throws a drink straight in Pastel Blazes’s lead singers face from point blank range and thinks it’s hilariously funny and whoever follows this up by throwing a glass at the same singer a few seconds later. Maybe it’s the lack of tolerance for drunks that comes from being sober, maybe it’s plain old paranoia, but sometimes when you’re a photographer and carrying around a camera it feels like you make yourself a target. Even when you decide that the middle of the mosh probably isn’t the best place to try and take photos from, and that the very edge of the stage is a much safer place, you always end up with a couple of guys that decide to stand next to you and then suddenly start slamming into you. If I was in the middle of the mosh I could understand it, but when it’s well away from the action it’s just really infuriating.

The Lighting: F

Three stages, all of them competing to be the worst lighting I’ve endured in a long, long time. The main stage at Woodland is bad at the best of times but tonight it excels by having really low blue lighting for most of the night and a fluorescent tube light on the floor providing the whitest and strongest light, even though, by being set up on the stage, it’s not doing anything useful. The Floor Stage is a small area to the right of the main stage. There is a light pointed in the general direction of this area but it’s either really red or a strong magenta throughout most of the the night and doesn’t cast any light on anyone playing there unless they’re stood right at the front, centre. Best of all is the Function Room Stage, which is mainly lit by a UV pool table lamp that’s been raised up a bit higher to allow people to stand under it. Whilst there are other lights placed on the floor, a series of LEDs around the stage, they’re being used for background lighting and none of them are pointed at anyone who might be playing at the stage.

Terrible, terrible lighting and so terrible, terrible photos. It was a good thing I brought my flash (as it’s something I always forget to pick up) and a good thing that the batteries were charged up. I tried to do some slow sync shutter shots but didn’t really bet anything very good. It’s something I’m still trying to master but not very successfully, although it’s something I only try and do maybe once a year so I probably need to put in some more practice.

The Effort: A+

Huge credit and kudos should be given to Ben Salter and all the others involved in putting the day on. Originally it was planned to happen at The Jubilee, which would have been a great place to have it, but the Jubilee decided to stop doing live music and become yet another an RnB place apparently. Despite the terrible lighting and terrible crowd, I had a great time seeing so many new (to me) bands that wouldn’t normally venture up this way to play shows. Hope it happens again next year but in the meantime someone bring Gooch Palms and Brat Farrar back to Brisbane.

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