Karnivool and the Gift of a Downgrade

Karnivool and the Gift of a Downgrade

I’m pretty certain that this gig was originally meant to be the expansive and sprawling surroundings of the the ABC. It turned out to be in the much, much smaller ABC2. Presumably that happened because of sales. A packed ABC2 is the same as a half empty ABC. Not hard to see why the atmosphere of one wins out over the other.

Though a downgrade looks like a pretty poor result on paper it turned out to be a blessing. How often do you get to see a band the size of Karnivool play to such an intimate crowd? Even without the intimacy bonus, how often do you get to see a band as good as Karnivool?

Karnivool // photograph by Calum McMillan
Karnivool // photograph by Calum McMillan

Next to never. It’s astonishing how good this band sound and how well they play. Feeding off the energy of an incredibly passionate audience who’re so close to the band just makes everything seem a little special. The sing alongs to the likes of “New Day” and “All I Know” feel the like the sing alongs at the best festival headline sets. With a fraction of the audience and no mud in sight.

And a cheaper bar. Albeit barely.

Personally, I enjoyed that the set relied heavily on cuts from “Sound Awake” and “Themata”. The band’s last album, “Asymmetry” had a pleasingly raw production and compositional approach but lacked the hooks of its predecessors. The band might well take a huge amount of time between records, but if that allows them to so deep under the skin of their tracks that they can throw out gigs as magical as this I’m totally ok with it.

Karnivool // photograph by Calum McMillan
Karnivool // photograph by Calum McMillan

From a photographer’s stand point this was a really frustrating gig. Smaller venue meant no photo pit and a long wait to grab a place in the barrier that I couldn’t move from. Initially it made me a bit sceptical of the kind of shots I’d be able to get but, as I’ve previously mentioned, Karnivool, and their fans, rule. So I needn’t have worried. Ultimately it proved to be a really satisfying challenge and reminded me (though I shouldn’t need reminded) that the performance for fans comes ahead of any industry or media bullshit. And so it always should.

Also, Karnivool have invested in some really sweet lighting. I love bands who do that. Next to no red light to be seen. Thank fuck for that. A note to all bands, red light is the worst. For everything.

Karnivool though, they’re pretty much the best. At everything.

\\click images for full screen slide-show//




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