Saturday, April 04, 2009

The Bronzed Chorus and Pink Flag at Viking Storm

(The Bronzed Chorus)
Let me start off by saying that I'm still not exactly sure why this thing was called Viking Storm, or what it had to do with vikings. Ultimately I don't think it matters much because everyone got into the viking theme (plenty of horned hats everywhere), I got to see one of my favorite bands from last year, and I also got to go to the Pinhook for the first time.

Let's talk about the Pinhook for just a minute. I liked this place quite a bit. It's pretty centrally located (I found it easily from the Durham Freeway), nicely decorated with red walls and well-preserved vintage furniture, and has a well-stocked bar with some high-end items such as MaCallan, which my companions eagerly indulged in (I was driving, so I just observed). And I may be wrong about this, but I think they had Aveda soap in the ladies room.

But the owners of the Pinhook seriously need to do something about the lighting situation above the stage. Basically, other than an old living room lamp that looks like it was dug out of a dumpster behind the Goodwill, and the weak light of the exit sign on the back wall, there is no light above the stage. And that's kind of weird because the rest of the club seems to be fairly well lit. That means if you're watching the band, you don't get to see much, and if you're in the band, you hardly see anything. At one point the guitar player for The Bronzed Chorus had to borrow someone's cell phone to throw enough light on his pedals to see what he was doing.

During Pink Flag, the lighting situation wasn't much of an issue because several folks, including yours truly, were busy snapping flash photos around them. So even though this video of them performing "Haunted" is incredibly dark, you can actually see a little bit of what's going on, just because of all the flashes going off.

Pink Flag - "Haunted" from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Next up were The Bronzed Chorus from Greensboro, who I loved just as much as when I saw them last year at Tir na Nog. More people were watching the band, but fewer taking photos, so this one is almost totally dark. I did pan to a couple of viking-hat-wearing fans in front of the stage who were getting INTO it. But other than that, there really isn't much on this video to see.

The Bronzed Chorus - "Underpass Surprise" from Mann's World on Vimeo.

Caverns and Tooth played afterward, but we headed back to Raleigh. Hammer No More the Fingers is playing Duke Coffeehouse tonight in celebration of their CD-release.


Ross Grady said...

Yes, it is damnably dark. Sometimes another table lamp or a floor lamp will wander back there & it'll be a wee bit lighter for a show or two, but that's as far as it goes. I think they borrowed that aesthetic from Chaz, who used to just have a single floor lamp with blue and green bulbs at his record store for shows, and then when they migrated over to BCHQ the damn floor lamp went along.

Since Pinhook has sort of taken over hosting the shows that BCHQ used to have, I suppose it makes some small amount of sense that they also inherited this weird aversion to stage lighting. It's a major drag, though.

Add in the big red wall on one side of the stage, and all my photos are either *really* dark, or just pretty dark & really red. Or I have to use flash and then they just kinda suck in that flash-photo way.

Local 506 and Duke Coffeehouse are both pretty good photography clubs, but at 506 there's the problem of having to drive there, and the problem of smoke. At least the PA sounds great, even way down front. At the Coffeehouse, it's nonsmoking, but often the PA is iffy, plus their booking and show-promoting strategies are unfathomable.

Karen A. Mann said...

Yeah, but BCHQ is totally DIY with a decor that's basically whatever they found in their homes, and basic services (such as the bathroom) that are rudimentary at best.

Pinhook looks like someone spent a fair bit of time deciding how the place would look, which is why it's so strange that the stage is a visual black hole. I mean, why couldn't they have at least extended the pendant lighting from the rest of the club over the stage? It wouldn't have been great, but it would have been better.

My guess is that they actually are planning to put some club lighting above that area, but just haven't gotten around to it yet.

As for best clubs for photography, I think I've gotten some of my best photos at Tir na Nog.