Van Dyke Parks @ The Powerhouse 12-0-09

Van Dyke Parks

Tonight is one of those shows that you feel very privileged to be at; getting to spend in evening with one of modern music’s greats in intimate surrounding with only 100 other people (somewhat bizarrely including Peaches, who had been DJ-ing downstairs as part of the Frankly Festival).

Having been to The Powerhouse plenty of times before but never to anything at the venue’s Roof Terrace before, it really is an underused space, although I guess the layout of might prove difficult if you were trying to put on a more traditional gig.  The set up for tonight has Van Dyke Parks playing almost in the round, or at least as much ‘in the round’ you can have in a small room, with a double bassist and guitarist accompanying him as he plays on a baby grand piano.  Being a baby grand, there’s obviously issues with sight-lines for photographing so I stake a claim on some space against the wall that gives me a fairly good side on view, only to find that when the double bassist picks up his bass that he almost completely blocks my view.  It then becomes a case of largely having to wait until the breaks between songs to take some photos.  Being such a small venue and a performance where you could hear a pin drop (such a nice change from the annoying levels of chatter you get everywhere else) I’m more than aware of the sound of my camera shutter and so don’t take many photos.

Van Dyke Parks

Van Dyke Parks

Music photography does a lot to destroy your love of live music; when you have a camera you’re concentrating so much on taking photos that the music often completely drifts over you, and when you don’t have a camera you just get fidgety, wishing you had one and mentally noting moments when “that would have made a great shot”.  But tonight is so exquisite and so much more than a normal gig that it’s easy to sit back, not worry about the photos (and lack of) and just really enjoy the music and all of Van Dyke Park’s anecdotes – he is a wonderful story teller and considering everything he’s done in the music world he has plenty of material to draw upon.

Having got in for free to cover the evening I go via the merch table at the end of the night.  Whereas I would normally buy CDs, as he’s got some photo books for sale, with photos inspired by his music, it seems obvious that I should get one of those as a memento of the night (and also of the last few days covering Big Sound where he was one of the keynote speakers) and get it signed by the great man.

A few more photos on Flickr.

Palm Desert

Palm Desert

Palm Desert

2 Responses to “Van Dyke Parks @ The Powerhouse 12-0-09”

  1. […] Although my memory of specific details from the day are more than sketchy, as I didn’t write any notes down the next day when I was downloading the photos, I do remember it being a really enjoyable and relaxing day, although for the me the best was to come, with Van Dyke Parks playing an evening show upstairs at the Powerhouse. […]

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