Regurgitator + Wampire @ The Hi-Fi, 11.10.2013

Regurgitator @ The Hi-Fi, Friday 11 October 2013

Rock ‘n’ Roll is full of lame excuses but probably the most lame of all is missing a couple of bands because I was trying to buy a tie for a wedding I was going to on the following day. It’s a long story but somehow thanks to erroneous gift card swiping, via accusations that I’d already used the card and that I was essentially trying to steal from them, and having to wait while they did all these checks and double checks, it took almost 40 minutes between arriving at the sales till and leaving with my wares. The overall strength of the line-up had been a big drawcard for tonight but I miss all of Jhonny Russell and half of Seja (too much to be able to get into the photo pit to take any photos.

Having heard a couple of Wampire songs I had been looking forward to seeing them but they just weren’t very good. They were really happy to be there and they’re from the USA, and happily told the audience this in between what felt like every song.

Regurgitator are always such a fantastic live band and always put on a great show but tonight it seems like they’ve really brought out the worst crowd. Maybe it’s because I’m sober that my tolerance is so low, maybe I’m just grumpy from earlier in the evening and missing the first two acts or maybe it’s just a West End thing.

There’s one guy outside the venue slurring into his phone to a mate that the bouncers aren’t letting him in, and another guy stood next to us during Wampire’s who can barely stand up and who keeps doing that ‘neck breaker’ thing, where his head would slowly bow down to almost horizontal to the ground before his momentum wakes him up and he snaps his head back to its normal standing position. Although we’re stood well away from the front in as much space as we can find, during Regurgitator there’s a different guy who either just doesn’t get the idea of personal space or how can’t control his dancing to prevent himself from jumping into us every few seconds.

Even though the sound at the Hi-Fi is a whole lot better than it used to (or at least it seems like it is), it’s still an awful venue to watch a band in. With no windows and no obvious paths through the venue, it’s just too claustrophobic a room to spend an enjoyable evening. Given how busy it feels downstairs, it’s surprising they don’t open upstairs.

One thing that hasn’t changed over the years I’ve been seeing Regurgitator is my ability to do a really bad job of photographing. I should have learnt my lesson by now but every time I make exactly the same mistake by doing my usual drill for a “first three, no flash” opportunity, using a wider 24-70mm lens for the first two and then changing to 70-200mm to get some close-ups, especially of drummers, in the third song. Once again I get caught out by the band as their setlist seems to be always setup for Quan to ditch his guitar in the third song and jump around all over the stage. The 70-200mm decision makes it impossible to get any action shots and the cause isn’t helped by the lighting on drummer Peter Kostic being terrible in the third song. One of these days I will remember to reverse my normal three song strategy and hopefully come away from a Regurgitator show happy with the photos I’ve taken. However, with the band going on hiatus, it may be some time.

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