As an aural-preference person, I can from time to time feel a misfit in a visually-focused society (let’s face it, the whole digital sphere is visual-first. Even when you realise reading text can be a semi-aural experience if that’s how your sensory preferences lie, how often do you come across long chunks of running text by itself? Other than my blog posts, you cheeky monkey!). But even for me, there is a sense that any non-classical music comes inherently in a visual package – not that classical music doesn’t too, but for some audiences and some performers that package is best minimised, and I don’t think that’s really true in any other musical context.
I see a lot of photos of myself at gigs (and have had to train myself to not cringe too much looking at them out of context and out of the moment!), but not that many that really capture the sense of what I try to project performing folk, rock, etc. – perhaps because I do that projecting primarily through movement rather than any visual tool or device that’s easily captured in an image. Trying to capture movement in a photo is surely one of the biggest challenges of that particular art.
This photo, I thought, gets about as close to freezing the energy and appearance of me at a rock band as I could hope to find. Shame, given my vehement aversion to playing solo, that the rest of the band are all out of shot, but you can’t have everything:
Massive credit to Chris Davenport for not just capturing but creating this – there is far more to why this works than just pressing the shutter at the right moment!
Rather than write up another Saturday’s gigs (yes, two – but both technically part of the same event and with the same group, a couple of hours apart; Kindred Spirit Duo doing what we do best a little off our usual turf), I thought I’d review some other photos that have seemed to catch something of the spirit of those live performances where so many people ask me afterwards where I get the energy. If nothing else, they should make you smile!
If I ever do a concept album about nineteenth-century séances, this is definitely the cover art … something much more arty and atmospheric from an only slightly earlier Kindred Spirit gig, also by Chris Davenport.
‘This fiddler is fiddling so furiously he appears to be phasing into another dimension!’ was the comment from Yellow Book manager Rob Mitton when he uploaded this photo of one of the earlier times The Filthy Spectacula played his pub. I suspect there would be more motion-blurred photos of me playing with the Filth if people uploaded more and deleted fewer of them …
Credit to Peter Samuels of RP Photography Solutions for capturing this one, at my very first gig with the Kindred Spirit full band. Those tight white jeans were very popular with some members of the audience, but my word are they uncomfortable for jumping around in! Cat Cooper (flute) in the background hadn’t yet had the chance to get used to my live shenanigans and takes far less notice these days!
Very punk (I swear that’s my first finger pointing up, but some people saw otherwise when this was first posted to Facebook) and very early Filthy Spectacula here – those black gloves didn’t last long as stage gear; even fingerless they made my hands sweat enough to seriously endanger my grip on the instrument! Taken (or at least posted) by Mel Cook.
July is a very busy month musically, even if most of it will be more soberly dressed and static, so keep your eyes peeled for news of everything from lunchtime Puccini to rock festivals to Sunday afternoon steampunk to art-rock studio work – just as soon as I find time to write the announcements.