The Drones + Harmony @ The Hi-Fi, Brisbane 26.09.2013

The Drones @ The Hi-Fi, Friday 27 September 2013

Anytime anyone and everyone photographs The Drones, they always come away with the same photos of Gareth Liddiard pressed up against his mic, his face contorted, his mouth open as he sings. Having photographed the band a number of times, once again I find myself in the situation of wanting to photograph differently and developing plans in advance for how I’m going to achieve this. As is always the way, grand plans for how to tackle tonight’s photographing are made redundant as soon as I get to The Hi-Fi and find out that there’s no barrier and everyone is having to shoot from within the crowd.

On top of the lack of pit, the lighting is terrible; all back lighting, nothing from the front, and strobing all over the place. As ever, Fiona Kitschin plays with her back to the front of the stage but this time it’s a positive, as it means she’s the only member of the band with any light on their face. As she’s the only person with light on their face, I make up for lack of previous photos of her by making her the main focus of the first three songs time allowance. However, it’s so bad that even after three songs, I don’t think I’ve actually got anything usable. Photographing for web may have its disadvantages in terms of the volume of usable photos you need to produce (versus the one or two you might need for print) but at least it has the benefit of allowing you to spend the time on other members of a band rather than the predictable focus of the lead singer.

Looking back over previous times I’ve photographed The Drones, the best set of photos was from ATP at Butlins Minehead. I didn’t have a photo pass for that weekend (but having had one for the previous weekend and been around for the Inbetween Days mid-week shows, I think everyone got used to me carrying a big camera around and never challenged me about it) and all those photos were taken from the wrong side of the barrier. Surprisingly, The Drones appear to have become the new Living End/Grinspoon in that they just seem to be playing each and every festival. One of these days I will get it right and come away with the set of photos I want. I think Big Day Out (so long as I get a photo pass for it and it doesn’t get cancelled) is my next chance for redemption.

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