Laneway 2014 @ RNA Showgrounds, 31.01.2014: Part 2


Originally I had no intention of being anywhere near the Alexandria Road stage for Vance Joy but in the end decide that as there’s not much else on, I might as well fill in some time.  He starts off with some song that talks about someone wearing the same old socks to bed and you realise pretty quickly that if you saw him busking on the side of the road, you would just walk on by.  It regularly feels like the aim of most modern musicians is to get a sync deal for an advert, surf video or for FIFA on Playstation /Xbox.  I guess Medibank Private is the real winner in the case of Vance Joy.  Knowing that his debut EP was called God Loves You When You’re Dancing should have set everyone’s alarm bells ringing.

Youth Lagoon are another band I photograph to split up the walk between the Alexandria St and Carpark stages as the timing is right but don’t spend enough time to form much of an opinion.

I actually end up listening to most of Daughter’s set but from the seats in the mini-grandstand located in the VIP section.  It’s always good to have somewhere you can sit down, have a breather and also download some photos at a festival and most of them have really improved in regard to this in the last couple of years.  Earlier on in the day the security on the gate to the VIP section weren’t letting any of the photographers in.  Although we all had the correct wristband, we also had a photographer’s pass stuck on us which was crossed out on the list of approved passes to be able to get entry to the area.  It then became a very convoluted exercise in having to remove the sticky photographer pass and put away any sign of camera gear before security would let us in.  Security knew we were all photographers but so long as we didn’t have a visible photo pass or any obvious camera gear about our bodies, we were free to enter.  Festival jobsworths at the very top of their game.  Daughter are nothing special, one of those pseudo folk bands that have cluttered up the music scene in the last few years.

Collapse Board were offered an interview with Chvrches before Christmas that I had to cancel as the writer who requested it wasn’t sure if they could do the time slot we were given.  I really regretted cancelling it and if I’d had a bit more notice I would have done it myself.  I just didn’t think I had enough time to do enough research and prepare some considered questions to do a good job and make it worthwhile for the band.  In retrospect I really wish I had done it, even if it meant struggling through it the best that I could as it was a good opportunity and I hate turning those down.

Laneway is pretty good for not having many clashes but there’s a period in the late afternoon when there’s only fifteen minutes between bands playing on the three main stages and unfortunately Chvrches are time-tabled in this period, so there’s barely enough time to photograph them for the three songs before it’s time to move off. I would have liked to have seen more but I’ll have to wait until next time and hope that they’re not playing a festival where they’re scheduled against other bands I want to see.

Kirin J Callinan might still owe me a copy of his album on vinyl [at least he did at Laneway and at the time of writing, he’s since sorted out for me] that I pre-ordered and paid for the last time I saw him in Brisbane, but I still want to go and see him play, if only for a few songs.

I’ve seen Kurt Vile a couple of times before.  The first time was a packed and infuriating show at Woodland that I was photographing where he played in the dark and I ended up being on the wrong of him, so all I got was a view of his hair.  The second time was a show in London at the Kentish Town Forum about 15 months ago that was nothing special, partly thanks to the sound in the venue and partly because he’s just not that engaging a live performer.  One really enjoyable thing about the Forum show, and the Mark Lanegan gig at the same venue in the same week, was that both of them cost less than the equivalent of $30 a ticket; last time Lanegan played in Brisbane I think it was more than $75 all-in.  The latest Kurt Vile album was a bit of a grower, it took some time to get over the change in sound from simpler, largely acoustic base of Smoke Ring For My Halo to the fuller sound and saxophones of Wakin on a Pretty Daze.  As he’s playing a standard festival mid-afternoon 45 minute timeslot, it’s a surprise, albeit a very pleasant one, when he includes the two longest songs from Wakin on a Pretty Daze in his set, the 9:31 minute ‘Wakin on a Pretty Day’ and the 10:26 minutes of ‘Goldtone’.  It’s almost half the set gone in two songs, with the majority of the rest of his time also being cuts from his most recent album.  I stay to watch as much of his set as I can before I need to move to go and photograph Haim.

Everyone loves Haim and I just can’t understand how a band that sounds like a cross between Shania Twain and Gloria Estefan & Miami Sound Machine has managed to become so critically acclaimed.

I’ve also never been able to fathom the Fleetwood Mac comparisons, although the band through in a cover of ‘Oh Well’ as their second song, a much earlier song from the Peter Green-era of the band rather than the slick 80s version that all the comparisons highlight.  I’d say it’s another case in this copy/paste age of one writer including the comparison and others following suite.  Eventually if enough people state something, it becomes a fact, a bit like that recent story about how Iggy Azalea has matched the Beatles record in having their first two releases go to Number 1 and Number 2 in the US singles chart.

Photographing the band is another case of not knowing quite where to look given that two of the band are wearing short shorts, the other a short dress, and being in the photo pit means a very uncomfortable view.  I also get to experience the whole ‘Bass Face’ thing, which is all a bit ridiculous as it’s not like this hasn’t been a thing in rock/metal for at least the last 40 or so years.  It’s as if people are amazed that not only can a woman play a bass guitar but she can multi-task to the extent of making stupid faces at the same time.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.