Pop music is awesome. I was going to write it always has been…but that isn’t true recently. Because pop is now a genre when once it just meant music that was popular. Music that was in some way accessible to a lot of people.
I’d love to say I miss the days when chart music was simply a measurement of what artists sold the most records that week and not of who had the largest team at the major label, but I don’t. I’m told by people with even more grey in their beards than I have that it was the case once upon a time.
Thrice came back this year. Which if you’re a blubing Thrice fan-boy, or lady, like myself is among the best of the best news. I love that band. I love the odd born again Christian undertones of the latter-day material a lot less, but the tunes are bangin’ right? So I can just pretend they’re deep and personal esoteric metaphors instead.
But Thrice went onto hiatus in the first place because they felt creatively spent and full-time touring is exhausting, debilitating and expensive. Now they’re back and obviously getting offered lovely wads of cash for exclusive festival appearances, like Hevy, and short tours. Does that dilute their legacy of being a fiercely creative band with punk rock roots?
Probably. But I can’t say I care.
I’m not a massive fan of the word “scene” when it comes to music. It’s not obvious what it really means in the context of underground music in 2015. Is your scene your city? The bands you sound like? Your country? The world? Your Facebook group? The people who actually come to your shows? The ones who buy records? The ones who click like?
Who knows? Who even cares. It’s simply a semantic argument about what support matters most. In fact, all that matters is support. Which is why the likes of “launch shows” are so important.
I’ve no idea why I didn’t post this set earlier…probably something lame to do with real life working or being too ginger or something.
Regardless, here’s a set of Eva Plays Dead bringing the “rock” and other minerals to Broadcast a wee while back. I’m forced to confess, I didn’t think much of the band on record from what I heard before the show. It wasn’t bad…but it didn’t have the eclecticism or edge that musical snobbery demands of contemporary UK rock bands. The taste for revitalising the obtuse and disgusting “rock ‘n’ roll” excesses and style of yesterday does nothing for me. Because I’m a grown up. (allegedly.)
This is the really rewarding aspect of what I do.
Don’t misunderstand me, I love taking photographs of shows. It’s a privilege and so much fun. But getting invited in to help document the creative process and getting an insight that process…that’s the kind of photography that I find really compelling.
Swallows were kind enough to invite me along to the studio for a couple of days while they worked on the six tracks for their new EP: “Haunted”. Here’s a lot of photos and some thoughts about the time I spent with the band.
You know you’re properly punk rock when you make climbing a step ladder seem edgy.
A gig should be an event. Every show should be something to write home about. Or tweet about. Whatever it is the kids do these days. I don’t know…
Anyway, a every gig should be something else. That’s pretty a romantic approach to music, but I maintain it. Largely because I’m an idealist idiot. That and because there are bands like Arcane Roots.
Hands up: I’m a musical elitist.
I don’t mean it in a malicious way, I just have pretty specific standards for music. Those being: it has to be well performed, posses some sort of significant form regarding its genre constraints and it has to ignite something emotionally. Whether that’s eviscerating emotional experience or a nice wee dance is irrelevant.
This year I was lucky enough to get accredited to take photographs at Hevy fest. My first official time being a photographer at a music festival. Sure, by the standards of your Reading and Downloads it isn’t big, but by my cooler than thou punk rock standards getting to shoot at the same festival that some of my favorite bands of all time are playing at is pretty big. I was going to get to shoot some of those bands.
The big dog had arrived.
If by big dog you mean slightly unsure, socially awkward and pretty unprepared small ginger puppy.
Recently I saw a pretty interesting BBC4 documentary called “Whatever Happened to Rock ‘n’ Roll?” hosted by Lauren Laverene. She quizzed a few musicians on whether they thought rock music was dead. Unsurprisingly, the old out of touch men ( in this case Dr John Cooper Clarke and Eric Burdon) said that it was. Because it wasn’t how they remembered it.
The sole female member of the panel, Jehnny Beth, of the wonderful Savages, pointed out that it isn’t. It’s just that music is different, the social landscape is different, the technological experience is totally different. It’s just different.
Death may well be a change, but to change is not to die.