Napalm Death Grind Your Mind in Singapore: A Photographer’s D-Day

Posted: June 30, 2011 in Concerts, Napalm Death
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Let’s cut to the chase, the show was epic & Reconstrux Bookings did a tremendous job in bringing Napalm Death to Singapore. It was a sold-out  absolute brutal grindcore show that stunned everyone inside the *scape lab last June 29, 2011. But what seemed to be a haven for every grindcore fanatic, was a baptism of fire for an aspiring amateur photographer. As I continue to blabber on my experience, please be forewarned that you will not be seeing technically awesome shots nor photographically structured photos. What you will see are remnants of miscalculated images borne by aggressive circumstances.

It was the second time that I got the opportunity to shoot inside the *scape lab, the first was a reflection of the deeper meaning of hardcore. Being exposed to the venue’s lighting & space circulation, I already had the idea of how to handle the situation. I was confident & drafted an imaginary blueprint of my ins & outs on acquiring the “keepers” (and I’ll say it again, “keepers”). My first agenda, enter the venue earlier than the rest & situate myself at the foot of the guitarist or bassist. Why? Because they are the untouchables on stage. Vocalists are the heads of the snake of chaos. Wherever they go, fans follow them, grab their mics, or stage dive from them. Drummer? How I wish I could climb on stage to shoot them, a total no-no for the management.

Yes I was successfull  on my first agenda & was able to situate myself on the territorial grounds of Shane Embury, the  bassist. While waiting for the mayhem to begin, the crowd was getting thicker. I was squeezed between the stage while fans were gesturing for the onslaught to begin. Then the illumination was slowly dying raising my fears of losing my desired exposure. It was going down until it reached half of the illumination of what was before. If I was shooting Cruel Hand  at 1/125, F2.8, & ISO6400, then my current situation was doomed. I could be shooting at 1/30 or 1/40 at max blurring everything.

When the show started, I got my calculations right. My aperture metering maxed my limit of ISO 6400 which led my shutter to drag at 1/30 giving me abstract images of the bassist. My dumb instincts prompted me to switch to shutter priority at 1/125 which gave me pitch dark shots.  It was frustrating, all I got was when Shane stood stiff for a second. The preview was still pitch dark & with a few tweaks in RAW converter, I was able to retrieve some details. Nope, no rockstar pose, just plain ol’ Mr. Big hangin around…

Next in line was Mitch Harris, the guitarist, who was situated at the other end. I was not going home only to get one decent photo so I braved through the dense crowd. When I reached my destination, there was literally no light on the guitarist. I took some test shots & wasted several shots of black screen. As I was about to blurt a loud curse, I noticed that whenever Mitch reached for the mic to squeal, fans raise their iPhones to take a shot of the axeman. The phones projected glimpses of light which gave me an opportunity to take a shot… and i did… one properly exposed shot was all I need.

Next was the vocalist. Just as I mentioned earlier, it was close to impossible to take a decent shot of Mark. This was my best effort… oh well…

Then I took a dive on the stage just to get one decent shot of the drummer.

With all the frustration swirling around my head, I did the inevitable… pop-up flash. Yeah you heard me, I raised my flash out of desperation, set it to rear sync, then took several shots…

Of all the events that I’ve been to, this was the most exhaustive, not physically, but mentally. It was throwing your photographic abilities to survive the beginning of the Normandy invasion. I dug all the tricks I know, applied all the settings, & pushed my cam to its limits. I consumed 8 gigabytes just to acquire seven keepers… oops let me rephrase that… 8 gigabytes just to acquire “seven salvaged shots”. Just as I said, the show was epic, but to photograph it was brutal, a wicked combination.

  1. stpaul73 says:

    Solid set nnman idol bai! \m/

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