of all the photographs posted about concerts, this one has gotten then most appropriations online ( this version on Instagram ). perhaps because it was originally posted on Flickr as a B&W version, which follows from the horrible red (or green or blue) lighting prevalent in small clubs (note the outlining of red him). the original version lead to a nice exchange at another concert, where I brought a print of the photo in exchange for an autograph (and the label noted that they were aware of the photo, and liked it). for that experience— where Bill Callahan wrote “to the setlist thiever”— this photo was worth it. also worth noting that in two consecutive tours, Bill Callahan had two drummers that can be said to go against the calmer side of his music: Jim White and “Thor” (later to be a member of Swans).
this was a special gig, because they had cancelled a gig here due to being recruited by R.E.M. due to the success of the Alligator album. Boxer was just released, and they kept their commitment to this small venue, while the next night they would play The Wiltern in Los Angeles. everything was super casual at before the show, as in mingling with the crowd, and after. going to The Wiltern gig, it was to also realise that I may not see them again— yet, I did manage two more shows. (it seems that I didn’t photograph any gig in between the almost-a-year since the previous post— and I cannot be sure why.) in terms of learning, I upgraded to the Canon 30D, which offered better low-light performance, but this was overtaken by smaller venues with even more poor lighting condition. this was as things would be in the future.
this gig was super-memorable. although they were opening for Clap Your Hands And Say Yeah, they played a full set on this other leg of the Alligator tour. being the nice people they are, and me being a “set list thiever”**, they signed it after the show with the rare attention that is unusually given (“let me find the rest of the band”). the most memorable before-gig day, however, was for the early leg of the album tour, when they played San Francisco’s Cafe Du Nord. as typical, I would get up at 5am to avoid Los Angeles traffic, and drive 5.5 hours to San Francisco… and that night, it was the gig, and I arrived early (it was 3 or 4 bands, as it turned out), and the band went on at 1am— so it must have been a Friday night. no camera, thus perhaps I recorded the gig, and it is a terrible venue for photographing (more so as an amateur with not-so-great equipment for low-light photography).
**this was to be a moniker given to me by one Bill Callahan… as noted in what was to be a simple autograph.