PicaPica Live at Rough Trade West

I spent yesterday travelling to London on a shiny new Azuma to see Josienne Clarke, Samantha Whates & Adam Beattie play at Rough Trade West as PicaPica. I took my Canon AE-1 loaded with a roll of Kodak Portra 400 & left my DSLR at home.

It was a close, tense & rainy day. I killed a while, sweating in a pub trying to do something worthwhile with words, watching music industry types fucking about, fawning over massive copies of the new Thom Yorke artwork & downing 5 lunchtime neck oils like it was nothing, then headed to the venue.

The Rough Trade West staff were welcoming as I killed more time trying not to get under anyones feet while the growed ups in the room did their thing. I busied myself metering the room and playing with balancing shutter speeds & aperture settings. What a thrill it is to be using film after so many years. My Grandad would love to see this!

He’d love to experience PicaPica live, too. You know how the alchemy works when Sam & Josienne sing together. On record, it’s one thing & with the full band, it’s another. But just you wait ’til you hear them do it together, no microphones, holding a whole room hostage with just their voices. Nobody does it better. They swoop & soar, draw patterns in the air with their claws. Sad & happy at the same time. I wonder if there’s a word for that? Adam’s such an idiosyncratic guitarist, his gut string acoustic interpretations of the recorded versions of the PicaPica songs are well judged, keeping the important bits & playing with the time, pace & arrangements like a mirror to the way they sing the words. Singing with his playing must be so technically challenging, sometimes, I don’t understand how they know where the one is. PicaPica are an honest joy to behold, that sense of clinging to the edge of the most beautiful canyon in the world with just your fingertips, a deathly drop seconds away, but away nonetheless. It’s exhilarating, refreshing & breathes fresh air straight from theirs into the lungs of the suffocating city. Catch them while you can.

I took some pictures then used instagram to broadcast the show live, which was fun to do and a first for me. Seemed like lots of you enjoyed it, though, so I’ll do that again next time, if I remember.

After a sleepy journey on the last train home, I developed the pictures today & here are a few of my favourites. I hope you enjoy.

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