Six Photos = Six memories of MINDSNARE
With the release of a long overdue album from MINDSNARE, I figured it was time to open the archives and dust off six of my favourite photos of Mindsnare I've taken over the years. – Ryan Willmott
The Arthouse NYE 1997
w/ Grim Reality, Ultimatum, Arms Reach and Sommerset.
This was my first ever trip to the Arthouse and I honestly don’t think I’ve had a better New Years Eve since. This was one of the first Grim Reality shows when they were still a five piece and was also early era Arms Reach as they still had Ben Hard on dual vocals and this was their first time in Melbourne.
Mindsnare shows at the Arthouse were always wild beyond belief. Melbourne loves Mindsnare and they always bring the most eccentric characters out of the woodwork. Factor in some New Year festivities and you get the picture. This was around the time most of their set featured “Credulity” tracks.
I felt sorry for Sommerset having to go on after Mindsnare, always a tough act to follow. I recall a NYE countdown during their set, but people didn’t really care that the year was ending, Sommerset were playing. Was a really great mellow sing along vibe and in hindsight was a great way to finish the night and calm the fire.
This photo appeared in the Arthouse book but was credited to someone else. When I first saw it, I was puzzled and thought “hang on, I have a photo just like that.” I’m sure the photographer who was credited the shot probably scratched their head about it too.
The Iron Duke Hotel December 1998
w/ Vision of Disorder
This has long been one of my favourite photos of Mindsnare I have ever taken. Around this time I had just started experimenting with long exposures, a kind of ‘stab in the dark’ photography method when you're shooting film.
Sadly Sydney and Mindsnare did not have a very friendly relationship at this point in time. This was after the “White EP” had come out and the majority of Sydney decided Mindsnare were too new school to be considered hardcore anymore. Sounds as ridiculous now, as it did then I know, but this was the way things were in 1998. People who were once up the front at Mindsnare shows, singing their praises now disappeared into the shadows. Mindsnare didn’t really seem too phased with it all, they just stopped coming to Sydney to play. Disappointing for those who wanted to see them, but understandable at the same time too.
Of particular note in this photo, is the clean skins of both Matt and Beltsy. Pretty sure any of the skin you can see in this photo has now been tattooed over.
The Green Square July 2002
Hardcore 2002 with Numb, Irrelevant, Drawback, ShotPointBlank and more..
Once the Iron Duke changed ownership, shows moved to the Green Square Hotel close by. I really loved this era in Sydney, it really was a very fun time to check out bands. The Green Square was a great venue for shows, as you could surround the stage on the side, as well as the front and you could see from virtually every spot in the room.
Mindsnare were touring with Numb from Japan who they also did a split with and both bands played both the all ages and over 18s shows of Hardcore 2002.
I really like the energy of this photo, all three members of Mindsnare are screaming along and I love the chaos of the pile on in this pic and the guy underneath it all in front of Maunder (which I think might be Matt Sourdin from Bad Blood/ Boneless). Pictured climbing on top of the pile on in this photo screaming along is Pete Bursky of Restraint / Last Nerve / No Apologies fame too.
The Arthouse 2003
w/ Embodiment 12:14, Against, Perish the Thought
This was taken at Mindsnare’s ten-year anniversary show that somehow the band I sang in, wound up opening. When we first formed we had but one band goal, and that was to maybe, just maybe one day share a stage with Mindsnare. It only took us four years, but we finally got to play their 10-year celebration on the hallowed stage of the Arthouse, so that made it even more special. Mindsnare shows at the Arty were always chaos. They have a habit of bringing loose people out of the woodwork and the Arty’s ‘anything goes’ policy goes hand in hand with the experience.
Halfway through the set a very drunk, spiked up punk got on stage to attempt some sort of dive and just collapsed onto Gordy’s kit sending his ride cymbal straight into Gordy’s throat mid song. It was comical to watch and to their credit Mindsnare just kept on playing as if nothing happened. This might well have been the debut appearance of the Gasman on stage too, not 100% sure of that, but I have a strong feeling it was.
By photographic nerd standards, this shot is not very sharp at all and borderline out of focus, much like my mental state at the time of taking it.
Manning Bar – Hardcore 2004
w/ Miles Away, Parkway Drive, ShotPointBlank etc..
Out of the six photos featured here, this one is probably my least favourite, but yet is probably the most known. This was taken two months before “The Death” came out, so I’m sure Mindsnare slipped a few songs off it into their set. This was also Miles Away’s first trip east from Perth and they were freaking out, as they had to play after Mindsnare the next day, as Beltsy had to fly back to Melbourne early to play a Blood Duster show.
This photo made it onto the back cover of “The Death” and as a photographer I was so stoked with this honour. To have one of your photos grace your favourite band’s artwork is a pretty big deal, but to have it plastered across the back cover of such an iconic album as “The Death”, is very fucking special. Technically this wasn’t my first Mindsnare photo used in their artwork as I had a couple of little photos make it onto the montage of the insert to “Hanged Choked Wrists Slit”. One of which is Beltsy’s karate kick moves from the Iron Duke. Look it up, I dare you.
On top of the crowd screaming into the mic in this photo, is current Boneless / Barriers bassplayer Matt Sourdin. He was just as stoked as I was to see this pic when “The Death” came out later that year in September.
The Annandale Hotel 2011
Nowadays when Mindsnare come up to Sydney, it’s almost like some sort of hardcore public holiday extravaganza. The anticipation, celebration and build up is seriously intense. The release and explosion of those intro chords to ‘Bulldozed’ is like the sound of a bugle leading troops into war. Matt’s trademark karate kick usually comes first song into the set, I know this, as I’ve seen them countless times, but usually get too caught up in the emotion of ‘Bulldozed’ to remember the kick is coming and to take a photo of it.
One time at a Mindsnare show at Hermanns Bar in Sydney, I was standing front and centre, caught in a mosh, when Matt launched a similar Karate Kid kick into the crowd and his foot squarely caught me in the sternum knocking me on my arse. If I had of seen this happen to someone else, I would have lost my shit, so I really hope it made someone laugh that night. Was nice to catch one of these moments on camera and not in the chest for a change.
Catch Mindsnare at one of the shows below...