No Anchor + The Rational Academy + Anonymeye vs Ambrose Chapel @ The Waiting Room, 14.07.2012

It’s a post-Rave world and my first show since the final show I covered for Rave, School Of Seven Bells. It’s also the first show since the only confirmed ray of sunshine left remaining in my social diary and one final hurrah in Rave’s memory, Splendour In The Grass, had been struck-out and my previously assigned photo pass cancelled and assigned to another media outlet.

The post-Rave world begins with a fairly late Saturday afternoon decision to go to The Waiting Room to catch No Anchor’s last show for the year. One of the many losses that comes with the demise of Rave is that their concert calendar doesn’t get printed anymore. Their gig guide was the most comprehensive and user-friendly that was published in Brisbane; one page devoted to what was happening each night that week, a second page accumulating all the shows that had been announced for the next few months. If you wanted to know what was happening in Brisbane and what was coming up, you turned to the inside back cover of Rave. Although I think I had seen tonight’s show mentioned during the week, it was a perfectly timed Saturday afternoon tweet by the band on their twitter feed, while looking for something to do that night, that made it an easy decision. Social media to the fore, one again.

If there’s one place not to start a post-Rave world as a photographer, it’s probably The Waiting Room. There are many things to like about The Waiting Room; the sense of community that’s building up around the venue, the friendly nature of the place, seeing the same faces time and again whenever you go there, the low cost of the gigs they put on and BYO as the only option if you want to have a drink.  The lighting, however, is not one of its plus points. This is a venue where the stage lighting consists of a few strands of fairy lights nailed to the walls. While this blog has largely been 6+ years of complaining about lighting at venues on a regular basis, a venue where the stage is lit by fairy lights is on another level. I can remember photographing The Scare at 610 when the stage lighting consisted on a single desk lamp, but tonight has me pining for the nearly always rubbish lighting at The Hi-Fi, despite the massive lighting rig, and missing the red spot lights and table lamps at The Troubadour.

So it’s a night of high ISOs (3200 for the most part) and very low shutter speeds (mostly between 1/20 and 1/40): even then exposure levels have to be bumped up during editing. When you’re reliant on fairy lights as your key light source, you really start to appreciate just how much additional light is given out by a laptop screen (experienced during Anonymeye vs Ambrose Chapel). It’s not the greatest set of photos I’ve ever produced, to say the very least. But if there’s one positive outcome, it’s realising that in a post-Rave world, it’s that it doesn’t really matter and that photographing a show completely on my own terms means that while the frustration of photographing a poorly lit show won’t go away, the stress of needing to produce photos of a required standard to accompany a review has diminished for the most part. When I started photographing for Rave, needing to produce ‘usuable’ photos was a constant source of stress.   As time went by I got used to it though and realised that if I only came away with a single ‘usable’ photo, that would be sufficient.  It’s extremely rare in the digital world not to be able to achieve that and, ultimately, even if I came away from a gig with nothing to show, it didn’t really matter that much anyway. It’s a lot more stressful doing web galleries as you need to produce a sufficient body of work from one show. At least with photographing a big festival, you have the benefit of daylight (in the majority of cases and for the majority of the day) and a lot of acts to work with to meet your quota from the day.

It’s a good job that sharpness and lack of noise are overrated attributes.  The evening did make me think that maybe I should be dusting off my old film camera, checking to see how out of date the rolls of HP5 in the fridge are and making up a new batch of developer.  I might as well make the most of not having the Monday morning deadlines I used to have. 

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