So what is my Squarepusher story? Well back in the pre Blu-ray days, when buying DVD's at JB Hi-Fi was all of the rage, I stumbled upon a series of initially three DIRECTOR SERIES DVD's, featuring the music videos by Chris Cunningham, Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry. I was totally obsessed by those DVD's, especially the Chris Cunningham one which featured the truly frightening Aphex Twin's "Come To Daddy", "Windowlicker", the robot sex visuals of Björk's "All Is Full Of Love" and Squarepusher's escaping the mad house asylum story of "Come On My Selector". These music videos were so groundbreaking at the time. They completely flipped my lid and I had them constantly on repeat in my DVD player.
From my love of those innovative music videos, I branched out and purchases Aphex Twin and Squarepusher recordings. I have seen Aphex Twin live at the Big Day Out, so with bated breath I was pretty excited to finally get to see Tom Jenkinson aka Squarepusher live in concert.
To be honest, I didn't know what to expect tonight. I was handed my photo pass at the front counter and entered the venue. Now there is two things everybody takes for granted at a concert. Numero uno, is get up front at the barrier to get the best view of the concert. The second one, is that the encore is most likely going to be the most famous song by the artist, as you want to leave the gig at a high point.
Tonight only one of these thing will happen!
When I arrived up front to enter the photographer's pit, I was told that there will be no pit access and I had to shoot from the crowd. Looking at the stage, I could see why. There was a barrier of ten tall neon lights rising up to an elevated stage. Up there was a tall table, where I assume the artist was going to be and looking around the room, there were heaps of strobe lights. CLICK! This all makes sense now. There is no photographs to be captured in the pit tonight, unless I bring a 15 foot monopod and remotely trigger my camera, as I held it up high, precariously in the air. The concert is about to commence and for one fleeting second, I see Tom setting up his IBM ThinkPad. This strikes me as so unusual, as I have photographed 100's of DJ sets and it is always an Apple MacBook on stage. Being a total nerd, I convince myself, that it must be a HACKINTOSH!
Squarepusher performed a genre-defying, fearless and brutal set where he pushed the boundaries, with those vibrant banks of flashing neons and strobe lights. Tom is hot off his heels of his Sydney Opera House concert for VIVID SYDNEY 2023. Tonight it was a total rave up with loud techno, jungle and acid house sounds. The crowded room became like a sauna with sweaty bodies, as the concert goes on with the intense heat of the throbbing light show. I must admit, the first series of songs, were tunes I was not familar with. As Tom got near the end of the show, he delivered the knock out punch of "Oberlove" and "Nervelevers". Then as an encore, it was time for Squarepusher's signature song "Come On My Selector".
So there you have it! The encore promise is fulfilled but if you are coming next time, get a back row seat with a good view of the stage. So please take my advice and don't bother rushing for the barrier like a n00b.
The drenched fans leave the 170 Russell to another very cold Winter night in Melbourne in June, having just witnessed a fine performance of one of the world's greatest electronic artists. Thank you Mr Tom Jenkinson!
Words and Photography by CarbieWarbie