Snowblink, Bear Claps and Bruce Peninsula at Cafe Dekcuf

About a week ago I went to a three band show at Cafe Dekcuf. I originally went just to see Snowblink, you might remember them from a post I made a while ago about Luxury Pond. It’s the same pair with their roles reversed. I liked Luxury Pond and Snowblink didn’t disappoint either. I ended up sticking around for the other two bands as well. Bear Claps was enjoyable and Bruce Peninsula was amazing, although with nine band members crammed onto a tiny stage they were a bit difficult to shoot.

I like shooting Cafe Dekcuf, they do a pretty decent job of lighting the stage, although the spots aren’t always aimed appropriately and I’m left waiting for the singer to move into the light. Lighting really makes or breaks the photos… and there’s not a whole lot I can do if the light is bad. Good lighting can make anyone look like a rock star… bad lighting will make Jim Morrison look like a high school drop out playing in his parents garage.

Besides the fact that I like their music, I’ll definitely come out to shoot Snowblink/Luxury Pond next time they’re in town because they do one thing right that any band can and should do. They dress the part. I’ve said this before, but it can’t be said enough… you don’t need to go all Ziggy Stardust or show up in tuxes… but look like you put even 5 minutes of thought into what you wear on stage. And make sure all the band members look at least semi coordinated. Again… it doesn’t matter what you wear… just wear it with purpose. If your band suits ripped jeans and worn t-shirts, no problem, just make sure everyone is in on the plan.

I went to a show once, definitely a ripped jeans affair, the drummer got the note but the rest of the band missed the memo. The lead singer was in gym shorts and a baggy t-shirt, The bassist had on those adidas tearaway type workout pants and a tank top and the guy on keyboards had on slacks and a v-neck sweater. This does not project committed musicians… this projects “I just woke up… Bob just got off shift at Walmart and Joe swung by after hitting the gym”. At this point the audience is already thinking “why the hell did I pay $10 to see these guys” and you have to work doubly hard to impress them, and it does nothing to help them remember you for next time.

It’s even worse when I get asked to shoot a band and that’s what they look like when I show up… I just have to hope to god the lighting is good or I’m going to have to get REALLY creative to make them look good. Fortunately this night I was treated to three good looking bands. You can see the rest of the night on my Flickr.

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Luxury Pond at Raw Sugar

Luxury Pond at Raw Sugar Cafe in Ottawa

Back at Raw Sugar Cafe again… not only does the place make a great back drop for photos, they book the most interesting bands. Sunday night was Luxury Pond, a two piece band from Toronto.

I’m not really sure how to describe their music besides to say it was a kind of ambient-folk-trance sound. Quiet vocals, looped ethereal chanting, harp like guitar rhythms and all manner of bells and pedals; I think I saw a xylophone too… or something similar. Dan Goldman is the front man for the Luxury Pond project, backed by Daniela Gesundheit. But they also perform, roles reversed as Snowblink.

I can’t say it enough; it’s always a pleasure to shoot a band that goes the extra mile to put on a show, instead of just throw some music at you. The definitely had a stage presence… very hypnotic and calming… a kind of folk meditation. You don’t have to jump around to put on a show… you just have to convince the audience that you’re musicians and not just a bunch of guys with instruments here to show you their hobby. Musicians are easy to shoot, you just need decent light… it’s the garage band hobbyists that really make me work.

Dan and Daniela will be coming back to Ottawa at the end of July as Snowblink, definitely worth checking out. You can see the rest of the Luxury Pond set and other bands shot at Raw Sugar on my Flickr.

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