And things havenâ€™t improved much in June, with Barry Adamson, who I was really looking forward to seeing, cancelling his show at The Zoo due to â€œunavoidable promotional commitmentsâ€, my emailed requests for the first week of the month â€“ The Thrills at The Zoo and I Killed The Prom Queen – being missed when the gigs were assigned, and no one wanting to review Angus and Julia Stone. However, no one requested to photograph Powderfinger at The Tivoli and so having been offered it and having never seen Powderfinger before thought â€œwhat the hell, why not?â€
So, I get to The Tivoli and find out that Iâ€™m only down to photograph support act Whitleyâ€¦ So I photograph Whitley for my allotted three songs (one of which lasts about a minute) and he plays solo, sat on a stool, singing with his eyes shutâ€¦
The lovely Tivoli desk staff try to find someone to ok it for me to photograph Powderfinger, and about 2 minutes before they come up I get a call from the PR to say that as long as I signed the contract then Iâ€™m good to photograph. So yay for that.
The downside of photographing tonight is that theyâ€™re filming it for live broadcast to Big Pond mobile phones, with the full gig also being available for download the following day (for the bargain price of $2.95 I believeâ€¦.). As such, the photo pit and the stairs are off limits to allow camera men to move around and so we get to photograph from a tiny bit of space at the bottom of the stairs, right against the stage. Although itâ€™s a very side-on view, and means that thereâ€™s not the variety in angles that you would normally get from photographing from a photo pit, the worst thing is that the view of singer Bernard Fanning is largely blocked by guitarist Darren Middletonâ€™s mic standâ€¦ The gig has been split up into an â€œacousticâ€ and an â€œelectricâ€ section (note to Powderfinger: acoustic generally doesnâ€™t mean electric bass and electric guitarsâ€¦), with an interlude in the middle. Our three songs to photograph in were from the â€œacousticâ€ part of the set, meaning three songs of â€œstool rockâ€ (amazingly there isnâ€™t a wikipedia entry for Stool Rockâ€¦).
Much is made of Powderfinger in Australia; arguably theyâ€™ve been one of its biggest bands for much of the last 10 years. Being fairly new here, Iâ€™m not quite sure why. Theyâ€™ve got that earnest, down to earth thing going on, theyâ€™re pretty competent musicians and seem like nice guys, but in trying to compare them to something from the UK I keep coming back to Del Amitriâ€¦ or a less edgy Travisâ€¦ whatever that isâ€¦
The recent Drowned In Sound review for Coldplayâ€™s â€˜Viva La Vida Or Death and All His Friendsâ€™ makes the comment that â€œâ€¦Coldplay remain resolutely no-brow, a rock band version of Jack Vettriano; art for people who don’t like art; crowd-pleasers for people who don’t like crowds; music for people who don’t like musicâ€.
If thatâ€™s the case Iâ€™m not sure where it leaves bands like Powderfingerâ€¦.
And on a related note, you can enjoy DiSâ€™s review of Bernard Fanningâ€™s â€˜Wish You Wellâ€™, the Number 1 song in last yearâ€™s Triple Jâ€™s Hottest 100 (as voted by the Australian people as their favourite song of the yearâ€¦), here.
Some more photos on flickr.