one afternoon in camberwell

I associate a lot of things with Camberwell. Penguin Books, where I used to work. Excellent hot chocolates from Cattivo. Four wheel drives. Rich, bratty teenagers loitering around Boost Juice with their fake tans and upturned collars. Money.

Here are some things I definitely do not associate with Camberwell: Crummy share houses. Afternoon house parties. Kids with wild haircuts and tattoos drinking longnecks in the front yard. Live music. International screamo bands.

Yet these are the things that I was confronted with one recent Saturday afternoon in that very white, very middle class suburb.

It was muggy outside, which meant that the temperature and humidity indoors was threatening to rocket off the scale. Dozens of people - mostly male, mostly under 25 - were crammed into the sparsely furnished and badly carpeted loungeroom. And there, in the corner, below the clunky (and presumably decommissioned) air conditioner and in front of some I-just-moved-out-of-home wall posters that included Mr T and Super Mario, was a five-piece Italian screamo band.

And then they started to play.

The air became even thicker with the sweat of passionate screamo fans, who writhed in that small room as though they were in a Soundwave mosh pit. Luckily for me (and my cameras), I had managed to secure a position standing on the couch, which was pushed against one of the walls. There was another photographer - a pretty large bloke - who thankfully provided a barrier between me and the testosterone junkies. It got pretty wild, which is only partially captured in these photos. This clip of the final song (by which stage I had run out of film - rookie mistake!) communicates the chaos a little better.

The band - called Raein - seemed humbled by the enthusiasm in the room on this, their final show of a small Australian tour. I didn't know what screamo was before this day, but I kind of dug the band. The music reminded me of my own teenage years. But perhaps more than that, the immeasurably intense passion coming from the varied but momentarily united audience was both inspiring and infectious. And kind of what live music, regardless of genre, should be (and often is) capable of eliciting. This is the kind of gig that makes you feel privileged just to be a part of. I love shows like that. They are rare and extraordinarily memorable. And something I would never have expected to find in Camberwell.

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