It’s taken me two days to recuperate from my excitement-filled 18-hour day out on Tuesday: I’d spent the day lounging in the sun at the beach, followed by one of the best gigs of this year –Animal Collective playing at the Powerstation (scroll down for gig details).
My Tuesday kicked off bright and early with a wake-up txt message from my friend making sure that I had indeed gotten out of bed by 7.40am – which I personally thought was a little over-the-top, but considering for the entire year I’d rolled out of bed at 7.55am for school on the days which I didn’t have training nor rehearsal… it seemed understandable that they wanted to make sure the driver was awake.
Nine of us decided to head up north to the Shakespear Regional Park, and set up site for the day on Te Haruhi Bay. Ironically the best part about the whole trip for me (asides from how early they’d made the departure time) was the drive up north. Good friends, decent music, great views through the sunnies and an effortless swift drive for just over an hour was definitely my cup of tea. The biggest obstacle of the day was when the people in my car disagreed with those in the other car as to where we wanted to set our towels down for the day. I’d personally vouched for the sand and didn’t understand why we’d drive all the way to a nice beach with decent, soft sand (Auckland is full of overly shelly beaches that don’t really have decent sand) only to spend the day sitting on the grass; but eventually we compromised, moved around a bit and got the best of both worlds when we threw a frisbee around on the sand and I even attempted to use a soft bat on a foam ball. It either went too far or in whacky directions or both – the foam ball didn’t stand a chance against the wind!
At some point in the afternoon after several hours of swimming, lying in the sun with music and pigging out on buns and a roast chicken that we’d bought from Countdown, we decided that we’d bury Euan in the sand. Well, actually he’d volunteered himself, and made sure that we made the sand wet and compact enough that he couldn’t escape. And soon, what do you know, one of the boys suggested (how typical) to make the buried-Euan into a giant penis. I felt somewhat guilty for having encouraged the use of dried seaweeds as pubs around his head, followed by Michael’s cam-whoring antics as the owner of the giant penis once he saw me whip my camera out!
The real fun began when I got to surpass having my bag checked at the door of the Powerstation simply because I was being given a media photography pass and got to dart through the door. My obligatory drink of a Monteith’s Original led to my vow of never ever drinking beer out of a plastic cup again, regardless of how good and cold the beer was. It just tasted vile… with a slight tinge of that smell of plastic which mixes in with your taste buds at the back of your throat. Nasty. $8 for plastic beer? No thank you. The bartender looked at me with great distaste when I asked if he could just give me the bottle – I imagined in my head that he was thinking something along the lines of “Didn’t you get the memo? No glass bottles in this venue!”, good lord. Not surprisingly the rest of the evening only went uphill from there – Bachelorette’s set (or what I caught of it) was enjoyable albeit the couple of technical difficulties which caused her to even restart a song. Boy was I wrong when I’d expected to see a duo on stage – obviously my friend had misled my beliefs to this “opening band” idea, and apparently I’d also missed her best song. Nonetheless, thanks to the mellow tone of Bachelorette and the use of my camera, I easily settled myself in a comfortable, just off-centre spot in the front row. I’m pretty sure I was allowed, if not supposed to be in the pit in front of the railing, but I simply didn’t want to have to leave the front after 3 songs – which turned out to be a priceless decision.
In a strange way, I’m grateful for the photography for 3-songs-only rule, as it meant I was forced to set my camera aside and fully throw myself into enjoying the show. Otherwise, I know I would’ve been far too torn between thrashing around during the set or staying affixed behind my camera. I applaud them for their set list, especially with slotting in tracks from their latest album evenly throughout the set – opening with In the Flowers, ending the encore with My Girls, with an extended “just a sec more in my… beeeeeed” from Panda Bear nicely placed in the middle. Pure magic. For quite a few of my shots I’d purposely used a slower shutter speed and aperture to capture the atmosphere and buzzy movement of it all.
Here’s my favourite, followed by some highlights (click here for full set):