June 16, 2006


Filed under: photography,rock,tacoma — sparkrobot @ 12:04 pm

“Hey man, you can’t bring that in here. This is a signed band and they’re on a record label. Are you with the press?” says bouncer. “Um, no. Just a local guy with a camera. I’m here for the show.” I reply.

If I had a minute to think that through, I probably should have just said, “Yes, I’m with the _____ here to take shots for the upcoming issue.” Better yet, being a graphic designer, I should just make some legitimate cards or a “press pass” for myself and produce them on demand, but hey—this is Maggie O’Tooles, not some exclusive venue. Come on… I’m at a place that has squeezed in a Mudhoney show literally between Ladies Night with cover band x and Bikini Contest Fridays. I asked the guy, “Are you sure I can’t bring this in?” He calls over another guy—presumably management—and double checks. This guy affirms the policy and tells me they have a pro on site, and also they “pay a lot” for photographs, but I can leave a card and they might hire me to do shots in the future. A little pissed, but at least considerate of the rules of the seedy joint, I took my camera back to the car and locked it up.

Once inside, I noticed a girl from the local camera shop walking around with a Canon Digital Rebel in plain view. Out of curiosity, I stopped to ask her if she was being paid for shooting. She said she was working for the bar. Okay. Great. Good for her.

I had wanted to run a roll of B&W through my Nikon N80, and perhaps a roll of expired Ektachrome 1600 for kicks. I’m not a pro. This is not pro gear. I don’t get paid to take photographs. Nor was it my intention to sell shots of the band with ridiculous ass Bud Light banners advertising the bar’s trite promotions as a backdrop for cold hard cash. It wasn’t even friggin’ digital this time. As I said, I shoot photos for kicks. It would have been what I considered… practice. I didn’t imagine Mudhoney to be the kind of band that would be really uptight about their image, and as it turns out, I was right. Instead, all I was able to get in the door was my cell phone camera and take a few awful pictures with it. Oh well. Suck. Suckafried. Sucktastic. Suckatocious.

Mudhoney played a good set with songs from their entire catalog. Stuff from the early days and a smattering of tunes from from the recent Under a Billion Suns. Mudhoney is one of those bands that has always done things their own way, a rarity on the radar these days. The show started out with less than a bang, but picked up steam and closed pretty strong. Mark Arm broke a string on his sparkle top Gretsch on the opening song. Never the best way to start out. It wasn’t the best show I’ve seen Mudhoney play, but considering the venue and frankly, the crowd, it was good times.

The reason for the whole rant on the man preceding my brief review of the actual show is simple: Once the band started playing, not only was the pro shooter up in the front row snapping away, but there were about 15 additional asshats lined up at the stage with small point and shoot digital cameras. They were firing off tons of shots in plain view. Shots with flash that I’m absolutely certain are going to suck. Why I was forced to leave my amateur film SLR in the car is well beyond me. I thought to myself, “Sure… I’m going to leave you a card. Eff that. This is the first and last time I’m coming to your dungheap. Mudhoney or not.”

You can see my crappy photos from the show here.