I only found out that I was shooting this ‘secret gig’ a few hours before the legendary New York Dolls were to stomp out onto the Cherry Bar stage in Melbourne’s hallowed ACDC Lane. When an opportunity such as this arises, one doesn’t sit back and pontificate if they’re ready… you just say ‘yes’ and get your ass over to the Cherry post-haste!
The New York Dolls are currently in Australia as part of the Buroughs NYC Culture Festival. The Buroughs is a boutique New York City inspired arts and culture festival and no one screams NYC more than the seminal and influential punk rock gods, the New York Dolls.
Arriving at ACDC Lane a little after 9.30, I was escorted to the guest list door where the ritualistic credentials swapping took place. Once inside, I had a mighty task at hand having to navigate through this sardine can. The place was packed. To the fucking rafters! People were hanging from the roof and the ole Cherry Bar was packed with Bohemian Rock Gods, suicidegirls, leather faced punk punters and a veritable feast of Melbourne’s who’s who.
And so the ‘excuse me’ shuffle began in earnest as I tried to make my way to the front of the stage. I’ve had to do this many, many times before but in a venue so small and full to the point of breakage, it proved to be a monumental task. I apologise well in advance if anyone in attendance was left feeling felt up or violated in any way.
I made it to the front and felt blessed to be in a situation such as this, armed with camera and a naive sense of privilege to be able to photograph such an iconic band in such an intimate setting.
And it doesn’t get any more intimate than having David Johansen’s crotch centimetres from your camera lens or when Sylvain Sylvain is torturing his guitar and his aftershave scented sweat is hitting your face like some sort of weird indoor acid rain! Up close and personal? I’ll give you up close and personal right there… in your fucking face!
The band looked amazing and granted, they have lost a member or two throughout the years – this incarnation of the dolls features the blisteringly sublime Earl Slick on guitar, Kenny Aaronson on bass and Jason Sutter on drums. Original Dolls David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain rounded up the line up and everyone looked to be having a killer time on the Cherry Bar stage last night.
Photographically, I wanted to shoot exclusively with the 50mm tonight but being so close to the action it proved to be a little difficult. I went for the 24-105mm for the first half of the set (yeah, got to shoot the entire band’s set tonight!) and then switched it up a bit in the latter half with the 50mm 1.4.
All in all, just an amazing experience tonight and one I’ll be storing in the memory banks for a while. The New York Fuckn Dolls baby! Wow!