What a stark contrast it was on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at the Empty Bottle. On the one hand, the Australian rock band Royal Headache sounded fantastic as it ripped through one catchy song after another, including many from the fine new album, High, which comes out Friday. On the other hand, the group’s lead singer, who goes by the name Shogun, kept making self-deprecating comments, as if the concert were a disaster. “We used to be good,” he muttered at one point. Maybe it was just an act. Shogun’s vocals are a key part of what makes Royal Headache so good — I detect a bit of Robert Pollard in what he’s doing — and he spent the whole show pacing across the stage with manic energy. (Much as he did when I saw Royal Headache at the Burlington in 2012.)
This presented quite a challenge when it came to photographing Royal Headache on the Empty Bottle’s dimly lit stage, but I did what I could. It felt a bit like trying to capture a blurry, grainy image of a wild animal racing across a dark alley.
Royal Headache’s riveting show came at the end of a night filled with cool garage rock, including fun opening sets by Daylight Robbery, Storm Clouds and Sheer Mag.