Toe returned to the country for another performance last night to bigger crowd and a bigger production. I was a paying member of the audience this time, toting no DSLR nor a media pass. Although shooting Toe last year was one of the most satisfying experiences I had in rock photography, I had to admit that I wasn’t able to fully appreciate their performance having a camera and minding shot after shot after shot. As I have written before about the band’s oni of a drummer Kashikura Takashi, Toe has been influential for me musically and has been enlightening in my initiation to postrock along with bands like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky (which eventually led me to the likes of El Ten Eleven, various other Japanese bands, the freakishly exciting movement in Brazil… but moving on…). So it was very fortunate that Chi Brotonel’s Intastella Burst HK brought them back for a second serving, and I’m eating with my hands this time.
Last night has the same set up as last year, true to Toe preferences. I chose to stay in one place, and I don’t really mind which angle or distance I’m going to see them as long as the audio is optimal. My mind set for the night was to close my eyes and listen to them play, only to look at the stage once in a while to check this is real–if the entire this is actually happening for the second time. But a band that clearly loves and lives the music it makes on stage is always a sight to behold.
Kashikura Takashi was at it again, treating the drumset like a dance partner. I have to be forgiven for paying attention to the drummer, being a drummer myself, much more a fan of his, but it has to be said that the rest of the band delivered an impassioned performance. So much that when guitarist Yamazaki Hirokazu had technical problems with his gear at the tailend of one song, he borrowed Mino Takaaki’s guitar to play a few bars of that song even after the band was done with the song. He just had to, methinks. A song is an accomplishment. Performing it is a struggle, physically and mentally. I cast doubt on anyone who considers a performance “effortless”. Even if an artist performs a song countless times over a period of time, he/she still has to contend with his own complacency and make it worthwhile for that one member of the audience who hasn’t heard that song before and that other person who has heard it gazillions of times, recorded or live, and still has the propensity to be won over with one more go–live, importantly.
Yes, Toe wins me over. Every time. One of the reasons is that the crowd last night was as awesome as the band it adores. When a microphone was brought over the stage, everyone immediately anticipated “Goodbye” to come up immediately after a few words from Yamazaki Hirokazu. Once the song’s notes came out of his lips rather than his guitar, everybody understood the term frisson — for some, without even knowing such a word exists.
A band that clearly loves and lives the music it makes on stage is always a sight to behold, and that idea made me miss my Canon 7D slightly. Just slightly.
Is a camera the only thing worth holding in a concert? Is snapping a photo or a video the only means to capture a memory? Hey, whatever makes you happy in a concert and the days after it’s through, right? Above is a photo I took last night with my iPhone 4s, edited with Snapseed (I switched after it became a free app some time ago. Compare that to what I said in this post). This is one of the photos of last year’s performance:
Same artist, different photo. Different camera, different shooting context, different year. Same giddiness, same fandom, same reverence.
An update on Instagramming on iPhoneography:
Like I said, I now use Snapseed for editing–I still avoid filters. My app list now includes Light Meter (which I use to guide my DSLR settings), Diptic, SlowShutter+, Blendcam (which I have yet to experiment on), and Typic.