Been a while since I’ve blogged about anything much – been too busy doing things rather than blogging about them. So we’ll go back a few weeks to my week’s holiday in mid-September.
The week started with a gig, Panic Room at their home town in Swansea. On the previous tour I’d managed to get to several of the shows, but other commitments meant that this one was the only one of their short tour I could get to.
The Milkwood Jam is a funny venue, a sort of glass box on the top of the building. The band were as tight as ever, with great performances from all five members, and the sound was as good as can be expected for a smallish club venue.
With their new album Satellite written and recorded, new songs made up the bulk of the set, interspersed with a few favourites from the debut album. When I say new songs, quite a few of them have been in the set for a while, with the likes of “Sandstorms”, “Black Noise”, “Go” and “Yasumi” already becoming live favourites. The band are moving more in the direction of shorter, more direct songs rather than sprawling prog epics, and this material comes over very well live.
I took quite a few photos, but the lighting, with low levels and all the light coming from the side of the stage, meant the results were disappointing.
Monday was trains day, and a chance to use my new Sony 50mm Lens for action photography in full sun. I’d bought it for use in low light, especially for situations like Panic Room’s gig in Swansea. In full sun you don’t need to stop the lens right down to f1.4, and I was amazed by the sharpness of the images I was getting – completely blows away the kit zoom.
Newport doesn’t quite have the volume of freight traffic I remembered from previous visits in the 80s and 90s, but there was still quite a bit of steel traffic. EWS class 66s seem to be ubiquitous nowadays; there weren’t any 60s to be seen. There were, though, a couple of loco-hauled passenger trains; an FGW Cardiff-Taunton top-and-tailed by a pair of 67s, and Arriva Wales Cardiff-Holyhead, complete with first class and a dining car, allegedly subsidised by the expense accounts of members of the Welsh Assembly (me, cynical?)
As with the Panic Room gig, I’ve uploaded some of the photos to my fotopic site.