I’ve written before of my love for Darren Middleton’s songwriting. He is a multi-talented musician and television presenter, best known for his epic (does anyone still say epic?) guitar solos with award winning Aussie band Powderfinger. He is a remarkable songwriter, lending his skills to poignant ballads and storytelling; about himself, interesting newspaper articles, and relationships in general. Tales like “Finally found you” about old friends separated by the horrors of war, are punctuated by Kelly Lane’s haunting violin.
Darren has shared splinters of these stories before, touring with Australian legend, Guy Pearce and their band throughout 2015. I was lucky enough to see them at the WA Art Gallery late last year and thoroughly enjoyed the show despite my baby’s internal acrobatics. I got to meet Guy who I’ve admired/crushed on for decades and it was so awesome, (insert girly handshaking here). I behaved myself and didn’t misquote any Priscilla or Dating the Enemy and actually managed to have a coherent conversation. Wahey!
Darren returned to Perth this August with Kelly Lane in tow. I really do enjoy watching them together as they are both so cheeky, warm and encouraging towards each other, and quite clearly have poured a great deal of time and emotion into their music. It’s a polished performance, but it’s still new and exciting. Their shows aren’t concerts as much as gigs… intimate and friendly, presented in bars and pubs. This has positives in that you can get up close and personal, having a chat and a drink with your storytellers. The negative side is that it’s full of people drinking, talking loudly, and being out simply to be seen to be out. Which (in WA at least) seems to take priority over pretty much everything.
The Norfolk in Fremantle was the venue for Darren and Kelly’s second Perth show. This was my first time inside the walls of this building, built in 1897. The Oddfellow is their basement bar and takes its name from the original name of the pub. This little bar was quite spectacular, packed to the roof with interesting bottles of stuff I don’t drink, but probably should. My boyfriend, Mitchell, had his heart set on an old fashioned and I don’t know who was more excited about it: him, or the lady behind the bar concocting it from High West double rye whiskey and two kinds of bitters. It certainly smelt out of this world.
Mitchell and I arrived around 8pm and found a cozy spot near the stage. Darren greeted us early on and we had a chat about his tour and our early days of parenthood (he speaks very warmly of his family). We spoke a bit about photography and I learnt that he’s been taking pictures his entire career, so I was encouraging him to get started on his autobiography. It would be very interesting not only to see his own photos and mementos but to hear the stories behind the songs. Why they were written, who the stories were for or about, what was the mood like, how shit was the coffee at 30000 ft? Not just the narrative of Powderfinger songs but the ones he’s written himself. The perspective of family members, friends. Some has been shared before, who cares? That was part of a larger narrative. This would be personal. Weaving together the very extraordinary life of somebody with such a long way to go (see what I did there?).
The Oddfellow was a good spot to test out the high ISO capabilities of my Nikon 7200 dSLR. Being so dark, it really pushed the limits, having me shoot at a crazy 12500 ISO. Back in my film days I favoured the golf ball grain of Ilford Delta 3200 ISO and the moody black and white images it produced. 12500 is just nuts. It works okay for me in small pictures such as these 600px wide shots, but on screen it just looks chunky at larger sizes. I’m suitably impressed at being able to hand hold a camera in the dark shooting at 1/100 though and still getting something I can use.
Anyway, enough waffling, being a photo blog I assume you’re here for the photos. So here they are. Just a note though, these “Splinters” photos aren’t for sale and are not for re-publication/distribution without permission from me and the artists pictured.
P.S. Not as many photos of Kelly this time as she was feeling pretty rotten, and the last thing you want is a camera in your face when you’re unwell.