Alessio Michelini Photography

Soundgarden @ The O2

21 September 2013

I have a list, not written, but which is pretty clear in my mind, of band that I HAVE TO see or photograph, at any conditions. There aren't many names in that list, but one of these is Soundgarden. It's one of the symbols of grunge generation, my generation, alongside with bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains. Older generation thinks that they (Soundgarden) were a simple rip off of Black Sabbath, and to be fair it's quite true, but you could say the same of Smashing Pumpkins, and these bands never hide the fact they were inspired by that band, but to say that they are just a rip off it's a bit silly, they took inspiration from the hard rock from the 70s, but they created something new from that base. You can say the same to any bands, as anyone gets their inspiration from the past, if you listen any modern band they sound like a rip off of bands from the 80s, and bands in the 80s were inspired from the music of previous generation, and you can keep going until you reach a guy in Egypt, back in 5000 BC, who played some silly instrument made out of some dead animal skin, and you see how pretty useless is to compare a band to previous generations.

As well for younger generation, they probably don't know any other songs than Black Hole Sun, the same people who complained because they didn't play at their gig in the O2, last monday. But, if you are from my generation, and you had the chance to listen Spoonman, My Wave, and other songs that are way better than Black Hole Sun, you probably were pretty happy, as you don't really give a shit of this song, because we loved that band since Badmotorfinger. And they are not a Karaoke band, who plays only their "hits", but they play whatever they want.
That's a pretty long introduction from this band, way longer than usual, but I hope you get the idea of what this meant for me. I love this band, and their live performance was simply superb for me.

Now, these are all good words for them, but I have to be objective, and while as a live band they are just amazing, and while the teenager in me was pretty happy with it, the old grumpy photographer which is also part of me wasn't that happy.
Let me say two words: photo release. It wasn't the worst I've seen, as they technically don't claim any ownership on my photos, and I can use my photos for my portfolio, or for my blog at least, but apart from the reason I was there, I cannot sell or even give for free my photos to anyone else. I would generally walk away when I see these contracts, but as you can probably imagine, I couldn't just say no to Soundgarden, they might split tomorrow or worst, and I could miss my only chance to see this band.
So for once I closed an eye to my moral principles, and I signed that bloody contract.

Then, lights. They were "meh", not a very dark stage in general, but pretty dark for the O2, and nothing spectacular, or at least not for the first three songs, as we left the pit, the lights exploded on stage, obviously. Thankfully I was able to stay for a while, and I was really tempted to take my camera out of the bag and take some shots from the crowd, but I have a pretty strong ethics, and the three songs rule is really something that I don't want to break, even if nobody will ever notice, I just couldn't do it.
Anyway, the photos turned out OK, nothing amazing, but decent shots.

As usual the full set is available on my flickr accout.