This is The Jimmy Cake playing in Whelans a few months back. I’ve seen The Jimmy Cake numerous times over the last decade but I’ve never been a huge fan. In fact, within my own band, the term jimmycakery has long been used to refer to any kind of musical over-elaboration, or unnecessary additional instrumentation. However, I’ve caught them three times over the last year or so and found myself really enjoying their new stripped down incarnation. They still do insanely long songs but now they are built on noisy repetitive Krautrock-style riffs and grooves and it really works.
This Whelans gig in particular was a bit of a stormer and their set consisted of just three songs played over the course of an hour or so. As usual, for each exposure I was opening the shutter at the start of the song and closing it at the end. The last one went on for so long that at one point I realised my on-street parking was going to run out before it finished. I was able to go downstairs, go to the toilet, go outside and feed the parking meter, get back inside and upstairs in time to close the shutter on the camera. I’ve never done all that while taking a photograph before – I could easily have fitted in a chicken fillet burger in Eddie Rockets across the street too if I had been feeling hungry.
I tried to compensate for the extra long exposures by doing some of the shots at smaller apertures than normal. I shot one at f32 (which is what I usually do in Whelans) but shot the others at f45 and f64. Surprisingly, in spite of the fact that it was a 17 minutes exposure, the f32 one still came out best – that’s the one shown above – it’s the second song that they played. I suspect the reason for this is reciprocity failure. At normal exposure lengths, double the exposure time and you add an extra stop i.e. you double the brightness of the result. However, when working with really long exposure times, this reciprocal relationship breaks down, and doubling the exposure time adds much less brightness. This is a real problem for most film photographers working with long exposures, but for me it just means that I can leave the shutter open for longer and it probably won’t overexpose the film. I think the photo looks pretty good and has got me thinking that it may well be possible to do a photo of an entire gig, leaving the shutter open at f64 for an hour or so.
Anyway, if you are interested in checking out The Jimmy Cake you could do worse than head along to Crawdaddy next Thursday (12th August) where they will be acting as backing band to ex-Can singer and all round Krautrock legend, Damo Suzuki. I reckon this could be something really special.