That Was The Year That Was 2009

This time last year I blogged that 2008 had been a hectic photographic year, little knowing that 2009 would be even more extreme, and end up looking as follows:

  1. Stars
  2. Black Keys
  3. All Tomorrow’s Parties – Mt Buller
  4. All Tomorrow’s Parties – Brisbane Powerhouse: Fuck Buttons, Dead Meadow & Afrirampo
  5. Bon Iver
  6. Laughing Clowns
  7. Jeff Beck
  8. Gareth Liddiard
  9. Gary Numan
  10. Summer Tones
  11. The Stranglers
  12. Andrew Morris
  13. Duke Spirit
  14. The Kills
  15. Evan Dando
  16. Easy Star All-Stars
  17. Giants of Science
  18. School of Seven Bells
  19. UnderExposed – 25 April
  20. The Drones
  21. UnderExposed – 1 May
  22. UnderExposed – 2 May
  23. 4ZZZ Rumble Rock
  24. Screamfeeder
  25. Violent Soho
  26. Brisbane Sounds
  27. …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of The Dead
  28. Red Riders
  29. DZ
  30. The Middle East
  31. Ladytron
  32. Flipper
  33. Deerhunter
  34. Wolf & Cub
  35. Washington
  36. Incremental Records Launch
  37. + 1 Records Launch Night
  38. Philadelphia Grand Jury
  39. Timothy Carroll
  40. Splendour In The Grass
  41. Cannot Buy My Soul
  42. I Heart Hiroshima
  43. X
  44. Alice Cooper
  45. Monster Magnet
  46. Violent Soho
  47. Big Sound 2009 – Weds
  48. Big Sound 2009 – Thurs
  49. Big Sound – Friday
  50. Frankly Festival
  51. Van Dyke Parks
  52. DZ
  53. Spiral Stairs
  54. Vivian Girls
  55. Tiny Vipers
  56. Butcher Birds
  57. Yves Klein Blue
  58. All Tomorrow’s Parties – Nightmare Before Xmas
  59. All Tomorrow’s Parties – Inbetween Days
  60. All Tomorrow’s Parties – 10 Years of ATP

As last year, I managed to meet my target for the year of 52 gigs (i.e. an average of one a week), although in retrospect I’ve really struggled to keep on top of it this year, as can be seen from all the blogs and photos I’ve yet to sort out. I’ve been out of Brisbane for about 5 months during the year, which meant that I’ve never managed to catch up with the backlog.

Counting up the number of acts I’ve photographed during 2009, the total is a somewhat scary 259, with the end of the year’s ATP adventure resulting in 60 bands being photographed in 10 days (although I didn’t shoot many bands at the 10 Years of ATP weekend as didn’t have a photo pass but security were fine with me taking my camera in and no one seemed bothered by me photographing from the crowd).

In terms of venues, The Zoo has again been my second home during the year, with 17 of the gigs being there, with The Troubadour a distant second with eight gigs.  The plan to try and get some bigger gigs has largely been a FAIL, with only three gigs at The Tivoli (and none since March), two gigs at the  BCC (Jeff Beck and Alice Cooper), one at The Riverstage (Kev Carmody: Cannot Buy My Soul, which was a mixing desk shoot apart from the last song) and NONE at the BEC.  The full breakdown for 2009 is shown in the pie chart below.

On top of the gigs I photographed there’s another 12 gigs I went to as a non-photographing punter, including Big Day Out, ATP in Brisbane, Neil Young, The Who (both at the BEC) and Iron Maiden in Christchurch.

Photographic highlights of the year include:

  • All things All Tomorrow’s Parties – From the Mt Buller weekend, which was one of the best music festivals I’ve ever attended to getting to photograph a UK festival at the Nightmare Before Xmas weekend to seeing and photographing Dirty Three on a tiny stage in front of about 100 people;
  • Getting to show a load of my photos from the last few years at the UnderExposed exhibition;
  • The complete insanity of photographing Flaming Lips at Splendour, wondering if being in a photo pit to photograph a band will ever be as good; and
  • Being given artistic direction by Van Dyke Parks when taking his and Robert Schneider’s photograph at the Big Sound conference.

Overall gig of the year was probably All Tomorrow’s Parties at Mt Buller, which being at the end of the first week in January set the bar ridiculously high for the rest of the year.  Other exceptional performances were of Flaming Lips, The Specials and Gutter Twins at Splendour, The Who at the BEC (which I was really disappointed at not getting to photograph), Van Dyke Parks’ exquisite show upstairs at The Powerhouse, seeing My Bloody Valentine three times in three days at ATP Nightmare Before Xmas and Dirty Three three times in a week, including an impromptu, unrehearsed run through of ‘Horse Stories’ in front of about 100 people at ATP Inbetween Days.  Best local show I saw was DZ’s 1am show at The Troubadour at the end of May.

Musical lows of the year were again so many mediocre-at-best bands at Splendour, with the weekend largely saved by Flaming Lips’ unforgettable show and another fairly poor bill at the Big Day Out, although not as bad as the 2010 festival line-up.

Photographic lows? Any gig with rubbish/no lighting, which was probably most of them…as usual.  And missing out on photographing a lot of the big gigs and festivals I really wanted to photograph.

And finally, personal favourite photos from the year include the following images, although there might be a load more in all the photos I’ve still yet to go through:

Back to Brisbane next week, although don’t have any gigs lined up for January yet.  Will hopefully be getting a bit further through catching up on all the photos and blogs from this year in the meantime.

Happy New Year.

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