Schedule for Thursday, Friday, & Saturday SXSW

  • Thursday: VICE Music showcase @ Club DeVille (Davila 666, OFF!, Black Lips, “Special Guest”)
  • Friday: Japan Nite @ Elysium (Zukuna Sisters, White White Sisters, Oh Sunshine, Hystoic Vein, Lolita No. 18, Mo’some Tonebender). This one should be interesting; I’m guessing it will have tons of attention due to the recent events in Japan.
  • Saturday: World Music Showcase @ Copa (Bituaya, RoCola Bacalao)

So the music portion of SXSW has begun. Last night I photographed the Creative Scotland showcase at Maggie Mae’s. The bands were Withered Hand, Kid Canaveral, Errors, Admiral Fallow, Twin Atlantic, and the Twilight Sad. My personal two favorites were Twin Atlantic and Kid Canaveral, although Errors was pretty good also, and Admiral Fallow and Twilight Hand really had the crowd moving. I think the hardest part was standing up for six hours. Luckily the crowd thinned out in between sets, so I could walk around and stretch my legs, and when the headliners came on (Twilight Sad), I somehow found a chair right in front of the stage to rest my weary bones. And biking home wasn’t that bad.

As is the case with most music venues, the stage lighting sucked. In general at music venues you don’t want to use flash because it distracts the performers as well as the audience. (In fact this goes for any event, really.) I decided to tough it out and see how well my 60D handles low light by shooting at ISO 800 and 1600 all night (anything higher than that I consider unusable). Most of the other photographers had full frame cameras, which have larger image sensors and thus can take in more light without looking grainy, meaning I bet most of them were using ISO 3200 or 6400. Lucky bastards. I can see now that if I want to do event photography more often I’m going to need a full frame camera, no questions. Unfortunately Canon’s 5D MKII starts at like $2500 and I’d need to supplement that purchase with the 24-70 L lens, another $1300 or so, since my awesome 17-55 does not work on full frame cameras. Ugh!

Speaking of other photographers, I spent most of the night dodging them. It sometimes seemed there were more photographers than audience members!! I met quite a few of them, talking camera stuff and sharing small war stories, stuff like that. I don’t have a ton of friends who are into photography so it’s always fun and liberating when I can find someone to bullshit on camera stuff with. Plus most of them have interesting stories about the publications they’re shooting for, how they got the assignment, where they’re from, etc. The other fun thing was that BBC2 had several cameras floating around because they’re filming a documentary about the Scottish bands at SXSW. I’m going to look for that when it comes out and hope that, because I spent all night at the front of the stage, I’m in it.

The best part was definitely hearing Scottish and English accents all night 🙂 I’m so easy to please. I ended up with over 700 pictures, which I think is a new one-event record for me.

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