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September 18, 2006

angels and devils

so much light and so much dark, all at once...

gersey brought their sweet, chiming goodness to the east this weekend. i've been a fan since first album 'hope springs' and was pretty blown away at their last gig at the nsc. somehow, though, they lost me on friday night, despite being their usual tight, engaging, crescendo-driven indie rock selves. it was good, but the danger was all sucked out. perhaps fittingly, the limited lighting at the east showed up these lads in their best, well, light - perfectly controlled, poised.


limp gersey.jpg

gersey singer.jpg

a bonus! it can be tough to get good drummer pics, but somehow with this one everything just fell into place

gersey drummer.jpg

of course, this week the drones were also in town and musically they are an entirely different beast. i'm not even going to post the pics of charmingly haggard frontman gareth liddiard looking like he's in dire need of an exorcism - the music itself is a perfect evocation of demons being expelled. the drones are pretty much at the very top of their live game right now, a delicate balance of thunderous squalls and burbling sighs contained by a skein of truthfulness that's just like a spider's web - gleamingly thin and fragile-seeming, but with a tacit tensility you never doubt for as long as liddiard and co are wrenching such sounds from their strings and skins. they're not particularly commercial. no one knows how long they can last. they're 'critics' darlings', though it's becoming embarrassing to use that particular back-handed compliment (usually implying crap sales and limited appeal) and seems even harsher when you look at another 'moody' australian act getting euro big-ups on the strength of their live shows: i like the howling bells also, but their much more 'polished' and rehearsed musical take on the darker aspects of human emotion and behaviour play as positively sanitised next to the drones' diseased, spitting fury.

gareth drone A.jpg

maybe it's a sydney slick versus melbourne grit thing, or maybe it's nowhere near as simplistic as that. after all, the drones did kick off in my sleepy hometown (perth), a hometown as isolated as there is in this outpost land, and still somewhat characterised by a simmering undercurrent of unspoken threat, redolent of our convict past. a city that's home to serial killers and misanthropes, where restlessness has few real outlets outside the socially sanctioned binge drinking and contact sports. what if you care for neither? where are your people in a paranoid town that thinks it's a city?

it's utterly captivating watching the drones vacillate between doubt and knowing on a stage in front of you. it might have been my last chance for a long, long time. fiona was feeling under the weather, rui was chilled, mike bantered ruefully with the crowd about a brutal hangover. but could you tell? the unique manic edginess of the day after an xxl night seems ubiquitous in the drones...

gareth drone B.jpg

in other news, i shot my first wedding in 13 years last saturday. the happy couple have not yet seen the fruits of me labour, but i was bricking it a little, i have to admit. and i didn't even find out until i got to the ceremony that the groom's pa was an AWARDED PHOTOJOURNALIST OF SOME 40 YEARS EXPERIENCE!!!!

gee, intimidated much?

but i'm well happy with the results, and 99 percent sure the bride and groom will be, too. i knew it was a good sign when they walked down the aisle in the mid-afternoon sun in the garden courtyard of a fitzroy bar to teenage fanclub's 'about you' - one of my favourite ever rock songs about being slapped silly by love - and their first dance as hubby and wife was to oasis' 'slide away'. meh, i hate those mancs, it's the indie-tastic impulse and the desire to grow old disgracefully that i salute. paunchy thirty (and approaching-forty) somethings got seriously down to the stone roses, much air guitar, nostalgia and mayhem ensued. i can't post any pics until i get approval, but it was a beautiful day, made more beautiful toward stumps by the bride entreating me (after a good eight hours on my feet and snapping away like a mad bastard with two cameras) to 'put the bloody camera away and come and have a dance!'.

and dance i did.

Posted by reuben at September 18, 2006 9:37 PM


to quote a new and beautiful (inside and out) friend:

good god, man, I LOVE IT WHEN YOU POST.

Your humility, rubes... you did not say that the (Walkley) award winning photo-journalist took a dekko at some of your shots and admired your work.

And goddamn my father for having a birthday on the ONE night that the drones played the B'East... most probably for the last time.

Posted by: elaine at September 19, 2006 8:50 AM

humble? wow, i've never been called that before...

and i'm not sure if he's won Walkley's; his older brother was saying he was 'one of the best photographers in the world' and that he'd 'won everything'. older brothers (in their 80s) on a few red wines at a wedding will say things like this.

either way it was flattering to get some approval from someone with longer in the game than i've been alive. never considered myself a wedding photog, as you know, but there's such romance attached to being a news photog. groom's dad did mostly sport towards the end, IIRC, before becoming pix ed at the Hun.

oh, and I hope you arrrr having a fine day fer talkin' like a scurvy sea dog, matey. i'll wager i'll be seein' ye later for chats and laughs over a bottle of (red) rum!

Posted by: reuben at September 19, 2006 11:35 AM

ooh, could i feel any nicer inside right now? apart from e's gorgeous compliment, that post made me feel like you're smiling, ruby. i certainly am. i wish your words were more places than here. and i'd like to register an official complaint to the powers that be about giving someone the skills with the pictures as well as the prose. UNEQUAL DISTRIBUTION OF [CONCEPTUAL] WEALTH - and you know how i feel about that...

see you tonight, sweet man x.

Posted by: mskp at September 19, 2006 4:13 PM

heeey, roooobs ... is that ... you? like *the* reubenesque writer from days bygone? it's the little hirsute fellow and erstwhile colleague lynch here. aka wookie.

man, what a treat to hear the dulcet tapping of your keystrokes again after all these years. last time i chanced upon you was outside elizabeth's in freo, just weeks before you were jetting off for europa to begin new life as travel scribe. and now melbourne hey? man, life works in whacky semi-concentric circles dunnit, moving onwards and downwards like the wire on a slinky. the weirdest thing of all: read your post about the drones and ... i went to primary school with that liddiard kid. what a mindwarp. the last time i saw *him* he was eschewing the use of nutmeg as a cheap teen hallucinogen and playing in a whacky soundscape outfit in perth. glad to hear it's all come good. the sounds that can emanate from a family duplex in sorrento (perth's sorrento) hey.

just wanted to write to say thanks for the article on (buch)arest etc ... stumbled upon it a few months back when i was trying to plan a trip to central europe. golden prose brother. i chose czech republik based purely on your recommendation. fled the absinthe and decadence of prague, after spending nights walking the cobbled old town streets with kafka's ghost, and nabbed a few days RnR in cesky krumlov. after a few days in cesky sharing jazz cigarettes and the joys of mead with locals in the 'laibon' vegetarian restaurant, found myself fleeing in vain for sane refuge in the capital. ah, bohemia ...

well, if that's the roobs i thinks it is (and i really thinks it is!) drop me a line fella.

hooroo, guru

Posted by: walt maloney at September 21, 2006 1:19 PM

Noice pictures. And I agree, it's near impossible to photograph drummers in such a way that they don't look like they're having a furtive pull.

Also, good work re; wedding, impressing photographers much.

Posted by: rach at October 7, 2006 8:09 PM

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