by Justin Edwards
Another Thursday night gig, another Thursday night at Woodland, and another gig where I only know the headline act by reputation and recommendation rather than a real familiarity with the songs.
The times have been put up on Facebook, but based on previous form I’m not too worried to be running more than 20 minutes late for opening act Martyr Privates. However, for once the right times had been advertised and I arrive just in time to for the last 20 seconds of their set. I have time to get my camera out of my bag, take the lens cap off, turn it on, and line up my first shot, but not enough time to take a single photo before they finish and start putting their instruments down.
But then Woodland resumes normal service and there’s a massive gap before Tiny Migrants. From memory, it was going on for an hour between bands. Time goes really slowly in Woodland when there’s nothing to do, nothing to look at and when the DJ is playing tunes at the usual deafening volume. It’s the first time I’ve seen Tiny Migrants, having managed to miss them a few weeks before when they played with Undead Apes at X&Y. They’re another Velociraptor side-project, with three of the band plus Jacinta from Butcher Birds/Keep On Dancin’s on guitar and vocals. Although there’s no keyboards it really reminds me of the early B-52s; I think it might be the way the male and female vocals are used and interact with each other.
After another long wait, eventually Ty Segall starts. It’s a false start though as there are, despite the lengthy set up and soundcheck, instant problems with the bass, rectified by a change of lead.
Although this is being written up only a few weeks later, the details of the night and of Ty Segall’s set are lost on me. As I tweeted someone the next day who asked how it was, it was OK. (From memory the whole tweet went along the lines of “It was OK. The crowd was annoying. The drummer was hot.”) It was a bit grungey, a bit punk. It might have reminded me a bit of Dinosaur Jr, the guitar soloing perhaps (or that might just be a false memory in trying to recall something from the night). It probably did also remind me of Nirvana (but maybe that was the lumberjack shirt and blonde hair … ).
[Here's a video from five nights earlier someone posted on YouTube]
Even with the night fresh in my memory, it hadn’t made much of an impression on me. Although I think this was a lot to do with trying to photograph it and get some photos that I could submit the next day for potential publication. Sometimes when it’s tough photographing, as it almost always is at Woodland, your efforts are so focused on photographing that the music just washes over you and even straight after the set you find it hard to recall much about the music, the songs or anything that happened that you didn’t see through the viewfinder. It is the real downside of photographing gigs as it goes a long way to destroying live music in your life. When you have a camera, it’s easy to miss the music. This is especially true when it’s a venue with poor lighting and no restrictions. And it’s why the three-song-rule can be a good thing, as it forces you to put the camera down. On the other side, when you go to see gigs without a camera, you get very fidgety, find it hard to relax and concentrate solely on the music, and are always looking at the performance in terms of the visuals and what would have made a good photo. Despite all that, everyone still wants to be a music photographer.