(Regarding Pop MTL, Part VI)
I did try to take it easy on Day 4. My throat was very sore and I was feeling weak. I think I was even getting the “sniffles.” This festival is relentless, more than other I’ve been to and it was near impossible to keep up with it. Still, I had to bring my “A” game despite 1) not having one; and 2) wanting to pass out .
In the end I wound up at three shows that night; the amazing Gonzales at Olympia, RIch “hot tip” Aucoin at Divan Orange among them. They were all completely different from each other. Towards the end of the night I found myself at the “Cabaret Mile End.” To me it’s still “the Old Club Soda,” a legendary, magical room. I have seen so many amazing shows there growing up and that vibe lingers in the room — even when it was called “Kola Note.” The new “Club Soda” is a very nice room (the Ds have played there many times and it always sounds great) but I wished that they called it something else and not take away my memories of the old one. If that doesn’t sound like an “aging hipster” statement, well, nothing does.
So I waltzed into “the old Club Soda,” realizing that I had missed Andre Williams but the Sadies were still playing, in deep — sweating. They are a band’s band. If you cannot recognize that about them then you are not even listening to music nor do you have any say on the matter. Them niggahz should be rich. I may be a bit biased because they come from around the same era the Ds did. Our bands are stylistically worlds apart (us with our Pop Noir Romantique bullshit and them with their Hillbilly…stuff) but none of that really matters. What matters to me when I see a band is that they can play. And I can recognize that the Sadies can fucking play.
I’ve been trying to “ninj” my way around at these shows. Regardless of my Z-list celebrity status, I still get ‘nized in the streets pretty much anywhere for being “aren’t you the singer of the Dears…?” So at shows, I dress in full black while my camera bruises the shit out of my ribs inside my jacket. I pack very light (one tight lens, one wide, one normal) and try not make a deal of the fact that I’m packing. When I’m take snaps, I generally refrain from getting too close for many reasons.
A note to you real photographers out there: I am not here to encroach on your territory. Just trust me when I plead with thee that I simply need to do this. I’ve been seeing some of the local proper “pros” out there at the shows (one of my mega faves is Richmond Lam) and of course it’s always intimidating. I end up feeling like a tool, to be honest, because I cannot yet articulate like they can with a fucking lens. So when I approached the stage and saw another local great, Susan Moss, I almost froze completely. Actually, I almost walked right back out of the club. Instead, I ballsed up and tapped her on the shoulder to say “hi.” Without a word, the first thing she did was open my jacket, looking for my camera and smiled. If I wasn’t a negroid, I would have been beet red. I just chuckled. She went off on her way and I brought the MX up to my face to take a snap.
Quick nerd talk: One of the lenses that we had around the house was an old Takumar 85/f1.9. Almost every snap I take with it is more than respectable. My friend Andrew, another killer shutterbug, says: “If I had that lens, I would never take it off my camera.” Nuff said, boss, nuff said. That lens is indeed, “sweet tokes.”
Above: Dallas Good; nuff respect. This was the snap I took right after I ran into Susan and I feel alright about it. Maybe some of her moj’ rubbed off a bit.
BONUS SNAP: “Dbl ‘Nized.”
Pentax MX, Tak 85/1.9 w/ Asahi adapter, HP5 @1600, D76 1+1, 18(!) mins