Saturday, July 02, 2005
Blue Sundaze: The End
Blue Sundaze has played its final public show, as far as anyone can tell. With little more than a month before a key member of the group heads off to grad school, the band put on a pull - out - all - the - stops performance at O'Brein's in Avoca, PA last Friday, June 24.
It was a slightly odd show: their drummer was out of town - out of the country, even - so for the first time a fill-in drummer sat with the band. (He did a very conventional "Mr. Customs Man", which clashed with the screaming guitars of the more energetic Blue Sundaze version, but he got into the swing of things as the night went on.) Several friends of the band joined them onstage to sing and play guitar. Add to that the fact that the three regular members of the band were all variously sick and/or exhausted, and it was a remarkable show indeed.
It was also the first show I was at where I was armed both with my digital camera and the presence of mind to use it properly. (The last time they played I had it with me, but I was too wrapped up with my dying dog's condition to bother to do much with it.) This setting presented a challenge: there were no stage lights, just two bar signs in the windows behind the band, and dim house lights. Any flash photos had a flat appearance with sharp, dark shadows, and tended to blind everyone in the room with the nuclear-blast brightness of the flash. Long-exposure flashless photos tended to get washed out by the very dim house lights. Sometime after midnight the bar's owner showed up, apparently drunk, and turned down the house lights to almost nothing. Now I had something to work with.
I set my camera to the "Night Landscape" preset, pulled over a chair to use as a stable base, set the ten second timer, and tried to hold very, very still. I must have made an odd sight: a Very Large man propping something roughly the size of a cigarette pack on the back of a chair, pressing some Very Tiny buttons, then freezing in place for ten seconds until...nothing happened. No flash, no nothing, I would simply pull up the photo and (more often than not) hiss "Yessss!" at another oddly beautiful shot: blurred, indistinct silhouettes backlit by red and green neon signs, reflections from the floor and drop ceiling making the setting look more like a cathedral than a tiny bar in Avoca, PA.
There may be more shows - it's not impossible. If any do come about, I'll let you know. But for now, it looks like this was The End.