Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jen Cloher and the End.. MERRI CREEK PICKERS

I have photographed Jen Cloher before, 89 posts ago to be exact. She was the third band I ever photographed! I have since become a fan of her music and was super happy to be asked to photograph her at the Northcote Social Club (superer happier to find out it was a matinee performance).

First up was a wonderful duo called Sweet Jean, the guy sounded like Willy Nelson (I don't know enough about girl singers but she sounded sweet too) and both of them together sounded like honey for your earballs....



Jen Cloher is playing a few gigs with the Merri Creek Pickers. The Endless Sea had a Country tinge to it, but the Merri Creek Pickers WERE country. It was great to hear some songs I am very familiar with played differently, proving that a good song is a good song and it doesn't matter how it's played.


Jen Cloher and the Merri Creek Pickers © Michael Christian 2012

Jen Cloher and the Merri Creek Pickers © Michael Christian 2012

Jen Cloher and the Merri Creek Pickers © Michael Christian 2012

Jen Cloher and the Merri Creek Pickers © Michael Christian 2012
Sweet Jean © Michael Christian 2012

New music from Jen

Some great older stuff:

Sweet Jean Shiver and Shake

Merri Creek Pickers The Farm

Monday, March 19, 2012

Charles Motherfucking Bradley


These were the first words I heard from Charles Bradley when I followed a link from a friends' blog (see below for the video). It's not very often that I hear something and love it straight away, but this was one of those times. Five words sung with an honesty that you don't really hear anymore, no surprises that this is his (proper) debut album and reading a little bit of his story there are also no surprises that he has struggled for a very long time. No one could sing those words like that unless it was true.

Anyway, enough gushing about my new man-crush. I arrived at the Corner pumped up on a V and a short black, ready for a fight, or to photograph.

The support band, The Cactus Channel, was awesome. Ten 19 year olds playing funk/soul - it was quite the sight. Dunno why I didn't get any photos - maybe they were so young and I didn't have a Working With Children certificate?

Charles Bradleys Extraordinaries came on to the stage first and played a couple of instrumental numbers to warm everyone up, it was probably good but we just had 50 minutes of it from the support band. Then the man himself appeared - the Eagle of Soul, or Soul Eagle - whatever it was it was fucking awesome. We were treated to just over a hour and a half of real music, with feeling (and not just skinny jeans) by a real performer.

Photos were easy-peasy, it was the editing and culling that was hard.

Shot for the AU review

See 'em on flickr

Now, a feast for your eyeballs:

Charles Bradley © Michael Christian 2012
Charles Bradley © Michael Christian 2012
Charles Bradley © Michael Christian 2012
Charles Bradley © Michael Christian 2012

And now a feast for your earballs:


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Bearded Stiffy Metal night out

It's not very often that you almost fill up a 32Gb card at one gig, when I say not very often, I mean never. It would seem that the exception to the rule is when you have three bands playing and one act dresses up as sailors and sings songs about stiffys, one act plays that old skool metal and dresses up as barbarians and the third act whose songs are all about having a beard.

The Stiffys are a band from Melbourne and as mentioned before, they dress as sailors and sing songs about stiffys. Just a bass and drums for most of it, and it was awesome - they gave great photo.

I had shot Barbarion before and as part two of my awesome night they were still fucking amazeballs to shoot. Not much else to say really, if you haven't seen these guys - you really need to.

The Beards is one of those bands that I thought I would get sick of seeing live. I know I shouldn't say that because my beard will probably turn on me and stab me to death in the night, but I have seen them 4 times so far and I would see them again tonight. It's the clever mix of great musicians, great subject and great execution.  BEARDS!

Thanks also to The Beards' management for allowing me a AAA pass :)

Shot for the AU review

See the whole lot here (sorry for the massive set, but it was hard enough culling it down to this!)

The Stiffys © Michael Christian 2012

The Stiffys © Michael Christian 2012

Barbarion © Michael Christian 2012

Barbarion © Michael Christian 2012

The Beards © Michael Christian 2012

The Beards © Michael Christian 2012

The Beards © Michael Christian 2012

The Beards © Michael Christian 2012

The Beards © Michael Christian 2012

 Now for some entertainment!

Taken from the new album You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man by The Beards:

Now the awesome video for Barbarians' My Rock

The sweet sound of a Stiffy:


Friday, March 9, 2012

Bonnie Palace Oldham

I remember seeing Bonnie Price Billy in New Zealand almost ten years ago. My lasting memory from that gig was a man walking out during his set and yelling "play some real fucking music" (I assume he meant a blues jam). It was one of a few moments I was having around that time that led me to moving to Australia where I was hoping that they would be used to different kinds of music and therefore not act like a 12 year old punching back at something they don't understand.

Not so.

I was a little bit surprised (and scared because I was taking photos) at how minimal the stage at The National Theatre was when we arrived. It was a LARGE stage, with a drum kit, two amps, some leads and mics right in the middle, everything else was black... but this allowed the lighting man to do his thing - such a great venue to listen and watch music in.

There are (a lot of) people who can play music, but few I would actually call musicians. Bonnie Price Billy, or Will Oldham (Palace, Palace Brothers, Palace Music) is a musician. He used the natural sound of the theater so well, singing away from the mic - and also unplugging his guitar totally for the last couple of songs with all three singers standing at the front of the stage not singing through the mic.

The intimate setting that Will and band provided allowed people to converse with him between songs - one man from Complainland, I mean England piped up and asked him why he had to sing so many songs with God as a subject. He liked his old stuff so much, but why did he have to sing songs that he (the man in the audience) didn't like at this show. No one really needed to answer that - it was obvious that this guy was a total tool who for some reason thought that he should have some influence over someones artistic output. Maybe he sings songs with God as a subject because... he... shit, I dunno... wants to? it's one thing to have this opinion but it's another thing to voice this opinion at a show bringing the tone down of what was a great performance. Obviously this guy could not comprehend music of this nature so his reaction was to hit out. Congratulations.


Like me!

Shot for the AU review

See the whole set here.

Some video?