Tour is a strong word for 4 days away I grant you, but if I don’t use strong words to try and look cool then I’m out the game. Not a chance my natural good looks, wit and charm are going to cast that particular illusion.
Anyway, self-deprecation and procrastination aside, I went on what we’ll call a tour for the first time in November with who I feel I can legitimately call my bros in Swallows. The fine gentleman in the band were kind enough to invite me along to take photos and video of the tour. I guess they were just used to playing with my lens in their faces by this point and it’d throw them off if that wasn’t the case. So naturally I took up the offer with a tremendously enthusiastic, “Sure, why not?”
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this set. Rolo Tomassi are amazing, this gig was amazing, getting to photograph it was amazing.
It was hard to shoot, the privileged safety of a photo pit wasn’t an option and the crowd were exactly the way you’re always told the best rock crowds should be. I’ll happily take the bruises and aches to be at shows like this.
I’m forever writing nonsense like “music and art should challenge you” like some sort of desperately earnest teenager. And I do believe it should, but I wasn’t prepared for just how challenging “For The Consideration of Amateur Jockeys” would be.
Civil Elegies music is….probably best described as a reaction. Nothing here feels composed or structured. It feels like a the rawest of nerves being slammed repeatedly against each other with only the briefest rest bites which are positively pregnant with menace. You know when people describe Seal as easy listening? This is the opposite of that.
Who even needs a stage? Stages are for losers man. You know who aren’t losers? Heck. Know how I figured that out? Because they don’t really use a stage.
That’s the benefit of an expensive education. You can spot subtleties like that.
This is how punk rock is supposed to sound: ferocious and unforgiving and with raw intensity. That sort of approach seems to have been lost amongst a sea of stylish hair cuts for a lot of bands. Thankfully, bands like Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes provide a much needed violent head shave to that kind of music.
When I want to photograph the release show for the excellent Mountains Under Oceans I also caught Lifelines supporting them.
They were loud, aggressive and they had a couple of cool boxes to stand on. No scrims thankfully because those are the worst. So by and large, thumbs up from me.
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.
You know you’re properly punk rock when you make climbing a step ladder seem edgy.
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.