Archive for the 'Amplifier' Category

04
Dec
07

Lots and lots pt2

Yet another photo-spam to bring things up to speed. Been putting work into my brand spankin’ new blog/portfolio/gallery website, so this poor old blog has been getting a little neglected. Will be posting here once the site eventually goes live but won’t be for a little while yet.

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Saturday the 17th was a pretty busy night. First port of call was the Hyde Park Hotel for the RTRFM 30th Anniversary gig, featuring some of Perth’s best ‘old-school’ bands. The Hydey is infamous for it’s revolting lighting, but I managed to get away with a f2.8, though I usually can’t cope without using my f1.8. I was a bit young to know most of the bands on the lineup, but had no intention of missing Autopilot, the very first local band I ever saw, when I was 17. Lots of singing and reminiscing.

 

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Then it was a mad dash up the road to shoot Sons of Rico, the band I did the promo shoot for in the last post. They’d organised their own guy to take care of the lights, so it was practically heaven compared to the Hydey. Really energetic show, and I got lots of stuff I was really happy with.

 

Friday the 23rd was the launch of the ‘Hole in the Heart’ EP for Next Big Thing winners Harlequin League at Amplifier. This was one I’d been really looking forward to, and had to lobby my case a little to be able to cover it for Drum. These guys are very very slick and very very catchy. I’d shot them through all the heats, semis, and eventually the final of NBT, but it wasn’t until this night that I managed to get photos I was happy with. Fourth time lucky? A few more can be seen at my Flickr. The lights were pretty even, Amplifier often tends to err on the side of flashing, constantly changing lights. I seemed to be in a bit of an ‘underexpose’ kind of mood this particular night, I do often tend to overexpose everything and blow the hell out of the highlights usually (call me crazy, I kinda like it). Meant I had to do a little Photoshop work, but also meant I COULD do a little Photoshop work. I might like to overexpose a bit, but I also know it’s a very fine line between ‘overexposing’ and ‘fucking the whole photo up’ and once it’s gone, it’s gone. And no, I don’t shoot RAW. Shush. In the end, the reviewer was sick and didn’t go to the show, so they couldn’t run my photos. Such is life.

 

Thursday the 29th was funtimes a-plenty. The very first FasterLouder Live Perth gig rolled into town, featuring some of our finest indie acts: Sugar Army, Streetlight, Institut Polaire, and the Silents. The lineup was decided on the morning of the gig with a music quiz held live on RTRFM. Streetlight just got pipped at the headlining post, though Pat from Sugar Army must really be applauded for his use of ‘Skyhooks’ to get himself out of a tricky spot. To be quite frank, 80% of the night is a blur, and I only actually watched one band, but I’m pretty sure it was fantastic. Streetlight were on fire, as per usual. I took photos for about half the set, was relatively amused the next morning to find out that the quality of the photos after a few too many pints was pretty similar to my sober work. Bit worrying. The lights were nice and bright, so I took the opportunity to use my Holga camera for the very first time. I’d had some trouble getting the film to stay in the cartridge thingy when I loaded it, so I used a little bit of sticky tape to keep it in there. I’m not sure if the guy at the lab will get cranky when he develops it. Eep. Oh well. I only took about half a roll, so once I get them developed, I’ll put some up. I’m very keen to see how the double exposures worked out.

 

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Local band Calerway won the competition that The Veronicas were running on their Myspace to find a support band for each of their shows. I’ve been shooting these guys practically since I started shooting bands (ie. a while), and I’d considered seeing if they could source a pass for me, but then I didn’t end up bothering. Fast forward to a couple of hours before they’re due to go onstage on Saturday night, I get an email asking if I can come down and take some photos. Course I can. Bit of a rush, but I get greeted with a beer backstage, so really, it’s ok in the end. Not only was it my first time shooting at Burswood Theatre, it was definitely my first time shooting from backstage at a show like this. I was given the option of shooting from the front if I wanted, but it was too much of a novelty to pass up. It was a definite struggle. Stage was big, zoom didn’t have quite enough reach, band were moving around a lot, lights were red and dull for most of the set. Oh, and the set was only four songs long. But I made do, was a good experience if nothing else.

 

After Calerway it was then off to the Rosemount for the weekend’s proper assignment, Faker. I’d say it was another tough shoot, but two ‘tough shoots’ in the space of a few hours probably means it’s actually ME, right? All red lights, one incredibly bright white static spotlight, and a singer who barely stood still for two seconds. Was a matter of waiting for him to pass through the spotlight, taking a few rapid-fire shots, hoping to hell I nailed some sort of decent pose, and repeating the process for three songs. Add to that the fact he SEEMED to be actively turning his back on the three photographers on my side. I was more than likely just imagining things and being paranoid, but that’s definitely how it seemed on the night. Photographers are your friend, Nathan. Really we are. The photo on the left is probably my favourite, though it really doesn’t represent the Faker vibe. It’s a very ‘me’ photo, but not a very ‘them’ photo. But action shots were nearly impossible. Luck was just not on my side on Saturday.

 

I do apologise in advance if there’s not another post for a few weeks. Once the new site goes live, this blog will be essentially dead, so I’m not overly keen on putting heaps of posts and photos up that are pretty much going to be lost to the interweb.

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14
Oct
07

NCBC, Expatriate & Darren Hayes

Last weekend was the Final of the National Campus Band Comp at the Rosemount. Will Stoker & The Embers were the overall winners, with Good Little Fox in second, and wildcard Black Market Babies in third. Will & co now head over to Melbourne for the National Final.

An over-saturation of shooting band comps has given me a few bad habits. Either only shooting the bands that I think are going to place, or making more effort for the bands who I think are going to place. I’m going to come unstuck one day.

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From top to bottom: Will Stoker, Offbeat Antics, The Bulletholes.

This weekend started on Thursday at Amplifier for the Expatriate/Cops show. Missed most of the Cops, but what I saw was pretty awesome. Would totally go see them again. The guitarist was apparently rather ill, and threatening to vomit at any moment.

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Expats were ok. The lights weren’t as good as they had been for the Cops (bordering on being a bit TOO bright in the Cops’ set), but the singer was happy enough to play up for the camera, so that was ok. He came over and shoved the head of his guitar into my lens as I happily snapped away. Unfortunately none of them really came out cause of the lack of light. You win some, you lose some.

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Saturday night was a trip to Burswood Theatre to see Darren Hayes. The first time in a while I’d actually paid to go to a show, and I wasn’t exactly jumping out of my skin about the prospect. I took my Canon Powershot S3IS along, cause I’d heard it was going to be an excellent visual show, and if I’d decided to leave my camera at home, I would have kicked myself. Support act was Freo local Simon Kelly, which amused me no end. I’d expected some sort of horrible electro act as the support, so Simon was definitely a pleasant surprise. I SMS’d him after his set, and was informed that there was no beer backstage anywhere, only water. I told him to trash the dressing room. Video of him doing a cover of Damien Rice’s ‘Cannonball’ (the S3 has awesome video function).

The Darren Hayes set was……ok. I was a fan of Savage Garden, I tolerated his earlier solo stuff, but thought the new CD was utter rubbish. You may be asking why I bothered to go at all. I told Mum I’d go to the concert with her, and pretty much regretted it from the moment I agreed. Very glad I took my camera, not cause the light show was THAT amazing, but cause it kept me occupied. I got some relatively nice stuff, considering I hadn’t used a point-and-shoot for concert photography for years.

Had planned on going out to catch Dead Letter Circus at Amplifier, but Darren’s show ran longer than I was expecting, so it wouldn’t have been worth it. So I went home and spent the rest of my Saturday night processing photos. It’s exciting times at my place!

I’m not sure what my next assignment will be, between now and next Sunday there’s Motorhead, Good Charlotte, Linkin Park, Taste of Chaos, Ben Kweller, Parkway Drive, Birds of Tokyo, Red Jezebel, Bank Holidays, and Sarah Blasko. So there will be SOMETHING up here from that list next week.

25
Sep
07

Cut Off Your Hands @ Amplifier + more

Saturday the 15th was one of those slightly awkward experiences which you don’t tend to see very often, in which the headlining band is comprehensively outclassed by their support act.

Streetlight are one of Perth’s most visually dynamic bands, even on a bad night. But on this particular night, they were in hyperdrive. Perhaps it was the fact it was their first show for a while, or that it was their first show at Amps since their national tour, but they definitely came out looking like they had something to prove.

 

I’ve always enjoyed photographing them. Was sent to a few of their gigs on assignment earlier in the year before being invited to do a few promo shots for them. These guys are seriously the real deal. And I’m so terrible and jaded that I say that about NO ONE.

After all that excitement, Cut Off Your Hands took the stage….and could probably take out the award for shortest set ever. They were certainly dynamic, I will give them that, but musically they weren’t much to write home about. And if I’d paid $20 to see them play for about half an hour (if that) I would’ve been pretty pissed off. Normally stage antics are highly applauded, in the opinion of photographers, but COYH’s frontman seemed very forced in comparision to the casual power of  Streetlight’s Le Craft.

But that said, if you’re in a band, and you feel like hanging from the rafters while I’m taking photos, go right ahead. Big ticks from me.

The next day it was off to the Newport in Fremantle to take photos of Kisschasy on their ‘Hymns For the Non-Believer’ tour. It was their last WA show, everyone was very amped. The place was packed, I got there early get a spot right up the front. The light show was perhaps a little extravagant for a venue as small as the Newport. Certainly threw me off, the Newport lighting setup is usually very static, so I’d prepared myself for a nice easy shoot, only having to battle the radio fans in the front row. But then out came the strobes. I shot for about 5 songs or so, until everything started to go a bit….wonky. Really good reason to drink some damn water before you go into a packed crowd. I had to get out fast. Watched the rest of the show from the corridor. I wasn’t really happy with any of the photos. This was the one that ran:

My main goal when taking/submitting/whatevering photos is to try and make the person in it look as attractive as they can possibly look. Darren Cordeux wasn’t exactly hit with the ugly stick when he was born, but in this shot he looks like he’s just had his wisdom teeth out. Having someone look like a chipmunk is an immediate fail in my books. But the lighting was ‘interesting’, and it has enough contrast in it to look ok in print, so it wins in that respect.

Saturday the 22nd was spent doing a super quick photoshoot for the National Campus Band Competition finalists at the Rosemount. I didn’t know how many people I’d have turning up, I ended up having six. I still struggle with my compositions at times, so I like to err on the side of ‘less people’. Don’t always get what you want though. Finalists were from bands The Bullet Holes, Good Little Fox, Offbeat Antics, Second Rule, The Wilderness, and Will Stoker & The Embers.

I’d bought all these alphabet blocks off ebay, and I was dying to use them for something. It’s kinda at 70% of what I wanted. A couple less people and it might’ve been more of a winner. More practice required!

I tend to enjoy more formal portraits anyway. Keep It Simple Stupid. When you’re working with a band, it’s easy to tell them to stand closer together, cause they’re generally pretty comfortable with each other. Telling six guys who don’t know each other that well that they need to stand REALLY close together is a bit more of a struggle. But they got off lightly. When I did the Next Big Thing finalist shoot, I made them play Twister for the photos. Fast-track male bonding. The above photo is a good example of how I never really think anything through before I do it. The light source is the light coming it through the window. The black background is a couple of metres of black fabric that I had forgotten to take out of my car after the last time I was planning on using it, so it was luckily on hand. It was a bit short, so Owen (far left) is holding it behind his own head. It’s hoisted on a couple of sponsors banners which were kinda MEANT to be in the photo…but hey. Having news.com.au as a backdrop is far less interesting.

 One day I’ll actually take the time out to learn how to do stuff properly!

That night it was off to Burswood to shoot Snow Patrol. Was actually far more enjoyable than I’d been expecting, though of course I only got to enjoy three songs. Second song was ‘Chocolate’ which is a personal favourite, and I may have been forced to have a bit of a sing and dance in the pit. Then it was the good old boot out of the venue after the third song. No photos here cause I had to do the whole contract thing, but I was generally pretty happy with how they turned out (considering I was jigging around for most of song 2).

Coming soon to a street press newspaper near you. As long as you live in Perth.

12
Sep
07

The ‘maybes’

So, obviously, not every shot can be a winner. While you actively try to minimise the shit shots, you’ll still end up with a whole stack of ‘maybe’ shots along the journey to find those killer shots. They’re not good enough for editorial use, not punchy enough for folio inclusion, and not ‘cool’ enough for the band to want to use them. So they’re inevitably relegated to the hard drive for all eternity, despite the fact that they’re really not that bad. They just don’t fit into a pigeonhole.

I’ve been going through the photos I took during the Next Big Thing band competition, and thought I’d put up a few ‘maybes’ that caught my eye. They all have their faults, but there’s just a little something about each of them (well, I think so anyway!).

Top to bottom: The Howlin’ Novocaines @ Rosemount, Will Stoker & The Embers @ Rosemount, Celladore @ Rosemount, Generals & Majors @ Rosemount, The Chemist @ Amplifier, The Bullet Holes @ Amplifier