All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

An Evening With Courtney Love

The annual winter hiatus of not shooting any gigs over the cold Melbourne months, came to an end last night as I photographed the enigmatic Courtney Love at Festival Hall.

Although 95% of my live music photography is of the harder edged acts, who was I to pass up an opportunity to have an evening with Ms Love and her brand spanking new band on her first tour of Australia for quite a while.

It had also been a while since I have shot at Festival Hall. Well over a year, and whilst I do enjoy working this venue, their policy towards photographers is pretty lame.

You’re escorted in, you shoot your three songs, you’re escorted out.

Tonight’s show, which was an ‘intimate’ and limited capacity event would have been absolutely perfect at the Palace Theatre but now that that venue is gone, it looks like more and more mid-sized gigs will be taking place at Festival Hall. Shame.

Opening proceedings were local band The Mercy Kills. I have been meaning to check them out for quite a while so I made sure I got to the venue nice and early to catch their set and to photograph them. A friend of mine has done a lot of photography for them and it was a nice surprise seeing him in the photo pit tonight. Hi Rom!

The band held their own and played to a largely receptive audience for the three songs I got to photograph them.

After the allotted shoot, it was back outside with the rest of the photographers. I had my mind focussed elsewhere as I was keeping tabs on the footy scores as my team was being pummelled to hell and back so I don’t think I proved to be very social whilst we mingled outside Festival Hall.

Just a couple of minutes before Courtney was to take centre stage, we were let back into the venue and made our way to the photo pit. Quite a few photographers in tonight. Most I have shot with before.

I couldn’t tell you what songs Courtney played. As I am not a follower of that genre of music I was oblivious to the tunes being belted out. What I can tell you however is that she looked and sounded amazing. Backed by a fantastic band which also features Ginger Wildheart on guitar, Courtney had the audience in the palm of her hand.

I’ve heard to many horror stories of Courtney live before but clearly there was no evidence of that tonight as she kicked it out of the park.

Photographically she was fun to shoot and as enigmatically gorgeous as she can be. No diva posturing or lacklustre performance here. Not by a long shot.

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