God Bows To Math + Tiny Spiders + Undead Apes + Roku Music @ The Waiting Room, 27-04-2013

God Bows To Math @ The Waiting Room, Saturday 27 April 2013

Go to any photography forum or ask any music photographer and the advice they’ll just about all give you is to make the first lens you buy a 50mm f1.7.  The famous and seemingly well regarded ‘Nifty Fifty’.

However, despite this being the general consensus among photographers, I’ve always hated my 50mm f1.7 lens and can easily count on two hands how many times I’ve used it in the (maybe) nine years I’ve owned it.  It was a cheap buy via eBay for the equivalent of about $100 (at the time) but I’ve always found it way too soft until you get to about f2.2 and have always preferred to take my chances with a f2.8 and slower shutter speeds.  Going down to 1/20 and even lower isn’t unheard of in my photography life.  Another reason I don’t like it is that in terms of filling the frame with subject matter, I have to do the hard work and move, rather than use a zoom lens to change the focal length and alter what’s in the frame.  It would be less of an issue in a larger venue with a photo pit, but it constantly means you’re having to try to squeeze into impossibly small spaces and constantly having to move right in front of people at smaller gigs without a barrier.  It’s ironic that the venues that would benefit from a faster prime lens to cope with the low light situations are also the ones where it’s the hardest to actually use them.

Given the tiny size and the layout of The Waiting Room, it really isn’t the most suitable lens to use for tonight’s gig but I’m forcing myself to use it over my preferred lenses, purely for the reason of getting some use out of it and to give it another go at trying to win me over.

Roku Music are the first band of the night and sound like a softer version of My Bloody Valentine, with gorgeous guitar tones throughout.  The last couple of songs the band play are the best.  The final song they play has a really strong breakdown in the middle and a wonderful sounding outro section and they really should take these as starting points and drop the shouty vocal sections from the song as they just don’t fit.  The ‘nifty fifty’ isn’t giving me much joy so I end up sticking the camera on manual focus and playing around with taking a few photos of everything out of focus.  There’s always a fine line between art and arse but a few come out reasonably interesting.

You always know what you’re going to get with Undead Apes.  Short fast loud songs and entertaining between stage banter. After them, Tiny Spiders play what feels like really, really short set that’s over far to quickly.  The bands are playing behind the advertised times and the venue has a strict curfew to keep to.

Headliners God Bows To Math also play a fairly short set, one that barely makes it past 20 minutes. Somewhat unusually given how these things are meant to work, I think Roku Music, the first band of the night, play the longest set of the night.

I really like them, although it’s not until the last song when I take my ear plugs out that I realise just how loud it is.  Even with ear plugs in for most of the evening, my ears are ringing by the time I get back home to a quiet house. Once again, although it pains me to do it, I leave slightly before the end, in last song this time, to make sure I get the train as I’ve got an early flight to Busselton the next morning to look forward to.

A night of forcing myself to use my 50mm and it still doesn’t convince me of its worth or that it’s a lens that I really want to be using on a regular basis.  I might give it another shot (or two) to see if it makes any further inroads, but can’t ever see it being the lens of choice, even for small, dark venues.

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