Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Crap Band Photography Day 5: Roisin Toast

And so to the final day of our celebration of the uselessness of camera phones. This session is dedicated to some of the more theatrical proponents of this business called show. Either that or its an excuse to show pictures of the divine Roisin Murphy (and her incredible wardrobe) who visited these shores in 2008 and sent my heart a flutter...

1. Ms M takes to the stage hidden by a leather hooded overcoat and Bono-sunglasses

2. overcoat removed but anonymity maintained by a Russian military hat. Note take on Wonder Woman cuffs

3. new jacket on and military hat swapped for Escher-like purple foam/felt millenary number
4. time to quit messing now. enormous red woolen pixie slanket? Roisin gotchu...

5. slanket removed to reveal fringed lacy top and cake-stand fascinator

6. return to simplicity with dashing Irish green fez and tassles...

7. and to remind you this is a music show, here's 'the Debbies' - Harry and Gibson

8. for the penultimate number here's Roisin in a sparkly silver frock vogueing through my favourite Moloko number - Forever More. Note Roy Lichtenstein backdrop and small cake tin attached to Ms Murphy's head...

9. to close let's not forget Super Bee: part pop star, part nectar collector with silk S&M mask...

... and wings. Gorgeous. Roisin, come back to us soon.

Roisin's effortless glamour is hard to beat but a special mention to Beck in the theatricality stakes for his 2007 visit to Australia. The shitty picture above is of his touring marionette show, which performed alongside the real thing throughout his show. This was a good thing because Beck seems to be incapable of the James Brown/Prince inspired dancing that made him so unmissable in the 1990's. Sharp distracting Mr Hansen.

What better way to close our little exhibition than a photo that is simultaneously awful and revealing of the grandeur of theatrical pop stage shows? In case you can't tell (you can't) this is the Pet Shop Boys, sitting atop enormous cardboard cut outs of their own heads. Feel the glamour, breathe the excitement, smell the festival BO and sunscreen. Rock photography at it's nadir.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Crap Band Photography Part 4

Day 4 of the world's worst photography exhibition is a squint-and-you-see-it tribute to some of the icons of indie who have visited these shores in the past couple of years.

First up are Pavement, the Pitchfork generation's equivalent of Pavlov's bell - a band guaranteed to leave the checky shirted hoardes salivating. All I remember from this gig at the Palace in Melbourne was having a sore back and thinking I'd rather be lying down, a point reflected by the artistry employed in this picture.

Part of my really likes this picture but I think it's the part that remembers what I could see with my eyes rather than what the camera was able to capture. For the record this is Stereolab's Laeticia Sadier playing a tambourine in profile at the Billboard in Melbourne (flutter flutter).

An embarrasingly crap photo of one of those gigs: Underground Lovers magnificently reunited at the East Brunswick Club. Review here proves gig was better than picture suggests

The (ahem) Modfather, Paul Weller shows his appreciation with a whistle at the Enmore in Sydney. Note enormous hand in foreground that looks like one of those sponge ones you get at the cricket.

Sweden's Peter, Bjorn and John charm the pants of everybody at the Metro Theatre in Sydney. I promise it is them and not just some mates on a dark school stage.

And to wrap up for today, a rather uninspired picture of the world's most inspiring band - Super Furry Animals. For the record there were many magnificent photo opportunities throughout this gig, not least a space helmetted Gruff Rhys singing Slow Life into a vocoder. Sadly those pictures were so bad they didn't even make it past the bus ride home.

Please come back tomorrow for our final day of bad photography, in which we pay tribute to pop star theatricality and drool a little bit about Roisin Murphy.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Crap Band Photography Part 3 - The Bohemoths

Day 3 of the Mint Custard Crap Rock Photography exhibition and today we celebrate some of the living legends of the business they call show. When marvelling at the photographic techniques I employed to capture these essential moments in live music history, try not to think so much about what I was doing there in the first place. That's between me and the rock dinosaurs.

The glowing blurred blob above is Mr Neil Young, performing one of his indeterminedly long and painful guitar solos at the Melbourne Big Day Out, 2009. The more observant amongst you will note that is a b flat minor chord he's playing. Maybe.

Whilst it's not immediately obvious, this is the mighty Spandau Ballet performing at the Rod Laver Arena earlier this year (you can read my review here). The figure on the big screen (and bottom left on the stage) is former Eastender Martin Kemp, the ballet's bass player. Be grateful this picture was taken before the encore when both Kemp brothers emerged shirtless and wearing leather waistcoats and I did a little sick in my mouth.

Supporting the Ballet that day were Tears for Fears. This scintillating picture captures band members Roland Orzabol and Kurt Smith seemingly being abducted by aliens.

In late 2008 my friend's mum scored some free front row tickets to see Def Leppard at the Rod Laver Arena. Sadly she didn't have anyone to go with. When it comes to bands from Sheffield I may be more Jarvis than Joe Cocker but I do love the first side of Hysteria enough to recognise a gift horse when I see one. Not wanting to waste this unexpected opportunity, I thrust my enormous lense into the sweaty middle-aged rock action.

Lest we be allowed to forget (for it was enshrined in popular song) the drummer from Def Leppard only has one arm. That doesn't stop Rick Allen (for 'tis he) from bringing the noise, and with this many drums around him you can see why.

Rock lesson # 1. Rock likes black t-shirts.

Rock lesson # 2. No black tshirt = no shirt at all.

Join us again tomorrow for more works unlikely to be hung up in any gallery or museum soon.

Crap Band Photography Part 2

Welcome back to Day 2 of the Mint Custard Crap Rock Photography exhibition. And before you ask, no, it's just the photography that's crap... All these pictures were taken pushing my Sony Ericsson's enormous 2.0 megapixels to the max so that you, and your descendants, could sample the atmosphere for yourself. Let us dwell no more and get stuck in...

Pop intellectual turned folk troubadour Lloyd Cole strums for the Thornbury Theatre audience in Melbourne. Please be assured that I wasn't actually a kilometre away from the stage - it just seems that way.

And whilst we're at the Thornbury Theatre, let us remember Candle Records heroes the Lucksmiths, captured here for posterity at their last but one ever gig. I attended this concert in my slippers. Which was nice.

A crowd of backpackers chant for an English band at some theatre or other in Sydney. Said band were not as good as said crowd drunkenly believed.

The unmistakably slight silhouette of Mr Jarvis Branson Cocker, erstwhile of Pulp, seen here at the Metro Theatre in Sydney for his first solo tour. Mrs Custard took this, hence the slightly higher than average picture quality.

Mr Cocker again, flanked by Mr Steven Mackey (erstwhile of Pulp) and Mr Martin (M) Craft. Note other person taking photo of same scene. I assume theirs came out better than this.

And last for today, my most favourite picture that I took on my old phone. If you don't know that's Mr Robert Forster, with bassist Adele Pickvance in the background. This was taken in the Studio Theatre, Sydney Opera House during Forster's first post Go-Betweens solo tour. The show was so good this was the only picture I got around to taking.

More from my mixed bag of photographic nuts tomorrow...

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Rest Easy Cummins

So I have a new phone. This is a good thing because this one actually works and isn't several years out of technological date. Still, it's also cause for sadness because I'd become rather attached to the antiquated brick and it's slightly useless ways.

A case in point is the camera. Weighing in at a hefty 2.0 megapixels and with a shutter button that had to be pressed so hard that any picture not taken in bright sunshine adopted a distinctive blur you'd think I wouldn't ever have bothered using it. Yet many was the time I found myself caught up in post-sunset events thinking 'I must capture this moment forever. Unleash the trusty box brownie phone and let us make photographic magic.'

By way of a tribute to my ex-phone I'll like to share some of our finest concert moments together. Over the next few days I intend to blow your mind with scenes that will actually make you feel you are there - providing by there you mean in the very back row of a 100,000-seater stadium and high on ketamine. I'd like to dedicate this exhibition to the great Kevin Cummins, former NME photographic stalwart and whose works adorned my teenage bedroom walls (and beyond). Kevin, if you need me you know where I am...

French electronic pop supremos Air at the Sydney Opera House, 2008.
They really were that fuzzy.

King Monkey himself, Ian Brown, taken from the very front of the stage at the Metro in Sydney. That's about a metre away. And it's still blurred.

The Charlatans' Tim Burgess peaks around the corner at Sydney's Forum.
No really, I promise it is him.

Rick Nielson of rock monsters Cheap Trick - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne.
Don't let the relative clarity of this shot fool you to believe the
pictures improved over time - every single light in the venue was on when I took it.

The incomparable Cougar Flashy at the Factory in Sydney,
replete with Mexican day of the dead person. He was aces.

One of Daft Punk rocks robots and humans alike at the Sydney showgrounds, 2007.
Before you ask, yes, it is a photograph of a giant TV screen.

If you want to taste the sweat dripping from some of your other favourite rock stars, why not come back tomorrow for a bit more of the same?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Do You Remember the First Time?

Is there nicer news to wake up to than the fact that Pulp have decided to reform and play some live shows in 2011? Probably, but right now I'm too excited to think about what that might be. Details are only sketchy so far but seem to involve Pulp's line up at their 1995 pomp (i.e. Russell Senior is back) and rumours of gigs in London and Spain.

You can find out more by registering at which is flashing up phrases like 'Is this a hoax?' and 'Is this really necessary?' and 'Is this nostalgia?' - the answers to which are hopefully not, yes and yes, but who gives a monkeys. Many people won't care (Pulp quietly returned to the obscurity from whence they came after 2001's We Love Life and their 2002 Hits compilation both stalled in the charts) but it's the kind of news that's already making us change our holiday plans for next year. Candida, Nick, Jarvis, Steve, Mark, Russell - ta, you've made my day.