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The Frown - The Woods

Turning Upside Down

by Roger Young, images by Sweatface McGee / 01.02.2011

The Frown present an enigma of access; the layers of the performance, the stage props and the funny masks. The perceived pretentiousness often turns people off before they give the music a chance. At The Woods on Friday night there is an extra layer or three for them to hide behind; the sound quality isn’t fantastic, they’re performing without the energy of Max on drums and inconsiderate photographers stalk the stage. While The Frown are having an amazing gig, down front the audience is not quite getting it.

The Frown - The Woods

Behind all the papiermaché trees and quirk The Frown are actually a deeply affecting and beautiful band; the thumping and daydreamysqueltches, the beat dragging like distant machine gun fire cutting through televised loins, the changing rhythms, they all combine into some kind of teen sandpaper love making; sore and beautiful. But above all it’s Eve Rakow’s voice (and not just the sound of it but the way cuts through all the fuzz and grind of the music) that provides the counterpoint that takes The Frown beyond. It’s an affected and fragile performance made more beautiful by the obvious insecurity that spurs Rakow’s need for a stage persona.

The Frown - The Woods

But, like I said, there was a lack of connection with the crowd at The Woods; the music wants to pull me in but doesn’t manage to tip me over. It’s not a great gig sonically. I want it to destroy me and I feel it’s pull but slowly piercing this experience is a giant photographer in a white T-shirt with a huge camera and flash. He feels the need to get right in the performers faces and shoot; his large white back blocking the audience from seeing the band at all. His presence seems to give the other photographers permission to get in on the act and soon him and a young female photographer are forming a wall making it impossible to see the gig from down front.

The Frown - The Woods

As The Frown finish their set they are joined by MTKIDU for a track but the photographer douche has so ruined the experience to the point that I can’t stand the thought of watching and listening anymore. So I wander off into the other room. I mean I totally get that The Frown are an exciting new band and that they provide a lot of visual fodder but audience should be more important than one guy’s flickr account.When I come back to stage side Twelv& Thesis have started up but, and maybe it’s just my sour mood, they just come across as crowd hyping bullshit, so I wander off into the darkness to annoy pretty things.

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

The Frown - The Woods

*All images © Justin “Sweatface” McGee.

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RESPONSES (25)
  1. a n udder says:

    ” the beat dragging like distant machine gun fire cutting through televised loins”…huh??!!

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  2. naai says:

    does everything need an explanation in your world a n udder?

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  3. naai says:

    by the way, love your work Roger, sober sweatface makes nice pictures too!!

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  4. fobias tunke says:

    @ a n udder

    In other words, it’s like watching war drama on television.

    Very well written article, Roger.

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  5. No haters here says:

    Why so negative?!! Just chill and stand in the back next time! or stay at home!

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  6. Thishiwe says:

    Dude, you pay good money to get into a gig and then you can’t see the gig? That’s not being negative that’s common sense. Also the writer is not being negative about the band at all.

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  7. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liam Lynch, Roger Young. Roger Young said: @LiamLynchPhoto There is something in this one for you – http://bit.ly/fg49W5 […]

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  8. Anonymous says:

    with regards to aforementioned comment :yes photographers who do performance art are annoying, but surely liam lynch is not exempt from this …

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  9. LATFH says:

    look at those fucking hipsters

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  10. bored says:

    Grow a pair Young. I’m sure apeface mcgee was monkeying about up there too. Take a chill pill and justy enjoy the experience. Or is that beyond you?

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  11. Roger Young says:

    @bored Next time you’re being fucked by your girlfriend I’ll come sit on your chest and photograph her.

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  12. COCK says:

    what an insightful comeback there young, bored has a point, you’re nancing out over inconsequent bullshit… who wants to read about your inability to cope with white t shirts?

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  13. Roger Young says:

    No, COCK neither you nor bored have a point. it’s not inconsequential, it’s disrespectful to the artist and it’s disrespectful to the audience and without those there would be no moment for the photographer to capture. Jumping in front for a second and grabbing a picture is one thing but standing on stage, wearing white and scrolling through your pictures while blocking the audience is another thing entirely. In a professional music industry there are rules and etiquette. Photographers wear black and shoot as much as possible from the side or behind, they also maintain a respectful distance from the artist so as not to get in the way of the performance. How can we take our musicians seriously if we are okay with them being disrespected like that?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    yeah what kind of gorilla mentality does it take for a photographer to ruin someone elses here and now in the face of his stale little ether jar of amateur sterilized memories?
    Bah.

    That would piss me off.
    Does anyone know who the photographer was?
    should just call him out on it by name.

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  15. anonymous2 says:

    I don’t know, but there are some pretty in your face pics here too… Looks like the mahala photographer at least had a good time while getting pretty close, even though his writer didn’t.

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  16. bored says:

    @young

    I’d like that. Care to make a date?

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  17. Roger Young says:

    @anonymous2 It’s called a zoom lens.

    @bored find me on facebook.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    to be fair: those 3 or 4 live photos above are terrible.
    I mean, i hate that someone idiot was getting on stage and person to get pics, but after the damage was already done, you probably should have asked him for some pics.

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  19. Roger Young says:

    Really, you think they’re terrible? Takes all kinds, I guess.

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  20. healthy says:

    wow, people are getting really nasty here.

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  21. Sean says:

    Roger makes a very very good point here an anyone who disagrees with him getting pissed off with some fool who thinks it’s ok to hinder the audiences experience in any way is completely justified. Just because you splashed out on a Speedlight and a Gary Fong diffuser doesn’t give you the right to jump up in the artists faces. People are trying to watch the show, not you topping up your Facebook albums. And wearing white on top of it? Jesus. I think Liam should do workshops for (most of) the aspiring gig photographers out there. Like Roger says – wear black like a ninja (not that Ninja), stay in the shadows like a ninja and, God forbid, try to use a little creativity in creating shots with the angles you’re given instead of just jamming your rig in the singers face. You’re not on the bill, stay off the fucking stage. That being said the musos should’ve just told him to fuck off. I saw The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster in London once and the lead guy told all the photographers to kindly fuck off out of his audience’s way. Then he kicked one who didn’t listen. That’s how it should be. The standard practice around the world in big venues is that you’re allowed into the pit for the first three songs, which means you have to learnt to work quickly and hence probably won’t spend all your time scrolling through your images like a clown, and then security sweep you out so the cats who stood waiting for 4 hours against the barrier don’t have a bunch of camera geeks (like me) between them and the band they came to enjoy. In small venues it’s just standard practice to display a little respect for the band and their fans and work around them, not in front. If you want to be on stage learn to play the guitar. Keep telling ’em Roger, it might sink in.

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  22. notso says:

    so much said about the photographers, so little about the actual performance… was it really as bad as it sounds? the “dressed in white guy” (as disrespectful as he was) seems to give much more to talk about than the actual performance (with all the masks and other paraphernalia). During and after the event.
    Boring…. i guess that after all The Frown is just as vulgar and cheap as it looks ? and just an ugly reap off from Lark ??

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  23. haha says:

    A ‘reap’ off. I like that.

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  24. Nicci says:

    Joburg hipsters look like they have more fun.

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  25. Anonymous says:

    You guys talk about Liam like he’s God. lol

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