Julian Casablancas @ The Tivoli 06-05-10

Julian Casablancas

Generally a lot of the blame for restrictive terms and conditions when photographing concerts is laid at the door of management and promoters; an assumption that the artists leave the business side up to the people they pay to look after the business side of the industry and any bad treatment is carried out without their knowledge or approval.  However, there are a number of artists who have a noticeable disdain for photographers – Nick Cave and Mike Patton for example.  And Julian Casablancas has shown from his Australian tour that he can be added to the list of musicians that doesn’t like photographers either.

Photographically, the night doesn’t get off to the best start with no photographing of the support band (The Cairos. That’s ‘The Cairos’ for Mr Casablancas benefit as he manages to get their name wrong numerous times during his set when thanking them for playing).  Luckily I receive the news via Twitter and so am able to make a detour to The Jubilee where the price of drinks is far more agreeable than at The Tivoli and where they also serve cider in pints).  On arriving at the venue, PR inform the assembled photographers that it’s the first two songs but they’re 4 – 5 minute long songs so they’ll be plenty of time to photograph in.  Never believe anything PR tell you.  I had hoped to change lenses but there isn’t enough time to do that and get some close-up shots and no time to really get photos of all the other members of his band as the lighting is so poor that all the time is spent desperately trying to get something usable of him so that I can submit something to accompany the review.  It sounds like it was a similar experience at all the other shows, plus at I read somewhere that at Sydney he insulted the photographers as they were leaving the pit.

Apparently at one point whilst he’s stood right in front of me he starts swinging his microphone around right in front of my face.  Somehow I manage to completely miss this happening and only get told about it afterwards; I think I manage to miss it as it’s so dark that it’s pointless trying to photograph him when he’s standing that close as my camera focus wouldn’t lock on him.  So I was probably ignoring him and using that time to get a few shots of the band whilst waiting for him to move back a bit into what little light there was.  Afterwards, whilst watching the rest of the show, It does make me think about what would have happened if I had have been hit in the head by a swinging microphone or if it had hit my camera.  Other than the fact I might have been in a world of pain/bleeding profusely/possibly unconscious from being hit by a solid lump of metal, would I have just shouted and sworn, thrown my camera at him or just gone the whole hog and jumped up on stage and given him a piece of my mind, no doubt making the news the following morning and being forever immortalised on YouTube via a collection of poor quality phone video clips.

Musically it’s nothing special and he only plays for around an hour, par for the course for someone with only one album of solo material.  He bolsters songs from his Phrazes For The Young album with three Strokes songs (Hard To ExplainThe Modern Age and You Only Live Once), which is a bit of a surprise.  It’s not a surprise that these are the best received songs of the night.  I’m surprised that The Tivoli is fairly full (although not sold out) as it was $75 a ticket.  And I’m also surprised that the crowd is noticeably on the young side given that Is This It is not far short of 10 years old.

With The Stokes being booked as one of the headliners for this year’s Splendour, I wonder if the photographic experience will be any different.  Considering the part image has played in putting him and his band where they are you’d think he’d be a bit more appreciative of photographers.

A few more photos on Flickr.

Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas

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