Quite a while back I decided that I wouldn’t pursue shooting big name bands, for a variety of reasons. Some of which included not wanting to be forcibly restricted to first three songs, and sharing a photo pit with a dozen or so other photographers, and not because I don’t like sharing (although I’m not that keen on crowds) but I couldn’t see the point of getting the same, or similar, shots to everyone else. Instead, I have opted for shooting the London indie/underground scene, the small venues with unknown bands struggling to make enough to pay their travel expenses, or buy a roll of gaffer tape to hold their gear (and shoes) together. Sometimes known as the toilet circuit, because the dressing rooms are the toilets, it is usually venues with terrible lighting and no photo pits. Of course, the isn’t much of a need for a barrier when there is often only 20 or so people in the audience, who are mostly friends of the bands. But under those conditions it is possible to get some really interesting photos that you wouldn’t get a much larger venues with great lighting. And then there is the music. Hearing bands before they start making a name for themselves, getting radio play and playing festivals. By the time a lot of these bands are being declared exciting new discoveries, they have been playing these venues for at least a couple of years, and I have been there with a handful of other photographers capturing these nascent bands for a variety of blogs and zines, as well as the promoters that put on the gigs with little or no chance of financial gain. We’re all in it for the love of the music. Quite of few of these zines and blogs also act as promoters. For example, Raw Meat, which I contribute to occasionally, put on shows, often in conjunction with Roadkill Records. Promoter Lost in the Manor coordinates Blogtober Festival at The Finsbury, where a different blog hosts an evening every night throughout October. The better-known indie print music mags, such as DIY and Dork, regularly host gigs. This particular evening at Nambucca was hosted by relatively new zine called Some Might Say, and they got together an impressive line up of garage and punk bands from London and further afield.
First up was three-piece Dirty Orange, followed by Arcades, with a very animated frontman and something of a sixties sound. South London’s Mummy played one of the best sets I’ve seen them play. Everybody seems to be hailing Shame as THE exciting new band to come from south of the river, but for my money Mummy have more energy and better songs that have something to say, and with a sardonic sense of humour. Everyone’s favourite garage power trio Calva Louise played another storming set. They are one of the hardest working bands around town.
Headliners for the evening were Strange Bones, a familiar name but not a band I’d seen before, and if I had I might have been better prepared for the chaos that ensued. Off the leash pretty much sums it up.