So as part of trying to make Clermont appeal to the younger generation, Isaac Regional Council, Rio Tinto and a number of other businesses/event organisers put together a music festival to run for a couple of days at the Clermont Showgrounds. They named it Brigalow Beatz. I was initially somewhat excited by the idea, until I saw that tickets were going to be $95 per day, or $180 for a two day pass, which, considering the biggest bands they had were Boy and Bear (who I’ve never heard of) and The Black Sorrows (who I have heard of), I thought the pricing was a little excessive. I still kinda feel that way, especially relative to festivals like Soundwave, which even though it’s only a one day event, is pulling artists like The Offspring and Metallica (2013) and System of a Down and Slipknot (2012) for around the same as a two day pass to Brigalow Beatz. It seemed as if even the lowest artists on Soundwave’s lineup were bigger than the biggest artists on the Brigalow Beatz lineup. I realise that they’re not really even comparable, but keep in mind Soundwave is one of the only festivals I’ve been to, since the lineups were always brilliant, and most of the music there has been my kind of thing.
Anyway, as it happens I didn’t have to pay for a ticket, because my workplace ran an internal competition for four spare VIP passes which I won, thanks to the intervention of Stacey’s mum, who put an entry in on my behalf. After I won my ticket there, Stacey’s brother shouted her one as a birthday present, and we were set to go. To be honest, the only reason I was really going was to practice concert photography. One of the ways that Brigalow Beatz was better than Soundwave – they let you bring cameras in, even professional gear like D-SLR’s with pro lenses and external flashes. Stuff that they wouldn’t even consider letting into Soundwave unless you’d been lucky enough to score a press pass.
And so, Saturday morning found us cleaning lenses, packing our bags, withdrawing what cash we had left in our account, and stocking up on plenty of water and healthy snacks.
After reviewing the program we decided it wasn’t really worth heading in until mid afternoon, most of the earlier acts were bands we’d never heard of, and it was a 37.1°C day according to our local weather station. We ended up walking through the gates at around 2:45pm, and after a bit of a look around we sat down in some shade and listened to a few of the early acts whilst talking about photographing concerts and so on. Neither Stacey nor myself have ever really done concert photography before, so it was new ground for both of us. Of the earlier bands I didn’t mind Chasing the Jeffrey, although I was still getting a feel for the event, and despite the fact they played both days, I didn’t end up taking any photos of them. Oh well, there’s always next year.
BTW, when it comes to the photos, to view the high res versions, scroll to the gallery at the bottom of this post, and click on the thumbnails, which should open into a lightbox style slideshow.
The first band I actually had the courage to photograph was Pigeon. To be honest, I’d never heard of them before, and didn’t have particularly high expectations based on what I’d looked up on YouTube. I thought they might be a little too electronic for my liking. The live performance they put on convinced me otherwise. Yeah, they use a little bit more electronics than I normally like, but it actually works, and they put so much energy into their live performance, even given the relatively tiny crowd they were performing for. And they all seemed to be enjoying every second of being on stage, which is one of the things I love to see in a live show. There’s nothing worse than watching a band that doesn’t enjoy playing anymore. Also, what’s not to love about an electronic rock band that uses a saxophone and trumpet in their music? I was even more impressed when I realised these guys were performing both days of the festival.
After a bit of shuffling around, next on stage was singer/songwriter Gossling. This woman has a remarkable and unique voice, but her music wasn’t really my cup of tea. Stacey really loved it though. She also had the misfortune of performing right as the sun was setting behind the crowd, which I imagine would’ve been a bit of a pain. It gave us some beautiful light for photography, but I imagine it was hard to keep eye contact with the crowd whilst the sun was shining straight into your eyes. If you’re into sorta indie alternative soft rock type stuff with unique vocals I would definitely recommend you give Gossling a listen. I actually would love to see her do a song with Apocalyptica at some stage in the future, but I doubt that’ll happen.
It was around about this point that Stacey and I bailed to the sideshow area for a frozen Raspberry Fanta and a 1L bottle of water each, with some greasy festival food thrown in for good measure. It was also now that I decided to give shooting sunset through the temporary fencing a go. Which turned out better than expected (see in the gallery at the bottom of the post). We also paid a visit to the Merch Tent, but didn’t really see anything we really liked.
And now for my favourite act from the entire festival. Much like Pigeon, I’d never heard of the King Cannons before they were announced for Brigalow Beatz, but I had quite liked what I’d seen on YouTube, so I was hopeful. Much like Pigeon, their live show was amazing, to the extent we went back to the Merch Tent on day two and bought a vinyl copy of their new album The Brightest Light (which came with a code for a digital download as well), and it’s been playing pretty much non-stop on my PC since then. Unfortunately by this stage we were running out of light, I only managed to get good photos of the lead vocalist, the bassist and the lead guitarist. The other band members (drummer, percussionist, and keyboard/piano player) were just too far back from the stage lights to get good sharp images of. Hopefully by the next time we get to seem them we’ll have faster lenses, so we can really get shots of all of the members. I’ll say it again, these guys were awesome.
By the time the King Cannons finished playing both of us were starting to feel a little bit worse for wear, mostly because this was the first weekend we’d actually really done anything for a long time. Being a small festival we were able to pass out at any time, and as long as we didn’t lose our wrist bands we could re-enter at any time, so we decided we’d go home for some R&R. After getting home and checking the program for the rest of the evening, we decided not to go back. It seemed like most of the rest of the evening was techno/hip hop/etc, which really isn’t our kind of music or environment. As it was, we got to spend the whole evening going through our pics from the day. This turned out to be a good thing, because we picked up on some mistakes we were making with our camera settings, that weren’t showing up on the LCD’s.
It was overall a great day, even if I was initially reluctant to go.
Pics from the day:
I think I did reasonably well for my first serious attempt at concert photography, but constructive feedback is always welcome.
King Cannons Official Site: http://www.kingcannons.com/
Pigeon Official Site: http://www.pigeonofficial.com/
Gossling Official Site: http://www.gosslingmusic.com/
Brigalow Beatz Official Site: http://www.brigalowbeatz.com/
Chasing the Jeffrey Official Site: http://chasingthejeffrey.com/ (Hasn’t been updated since January, and the link to buy the album doesn’t work)
All of the above can be found on Facebook, Twitter and other social media as well, links from their respective sites.