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AC/DC at Proud Galleries

This exhibition of portraits of the band by Philip Morris unconvincingly declares "Let There Be Rock".

Let's be honest, rock photography isn't art, like advertising copy isn't real writing; it's made-to-order, cliché-ridden stuff that has a blatant agenda. So It seemed appropriate thern that this exhibition of AC/DC photographs was being held in Proud Galleries, which isn't really a gallery but actually a bar/gig venue. But ersatz can be fun, and it seemed that by booking an AC/DC tribute band, Dirty DC (a disappointing name compared with that of my all-time favourite AC/DC covers band, AB/CD), the exhibition's curator couldn't have agreed more.

Unfortunately, this idea was lost on those in attendance, most of whom scowled and rubber-necked as if they were at Sadie Coles HQ, rather than a glorified barn in the heart of Camden.Thankfully, however, there was a pleasing group of die-hard AC/DC fans in attendance (you know the type – early to late-40s and all looking eerily like Saxondale) that gave some joy to the proceedings.

In fact, when the photography is as lumpen and, well, boring as these pictures are, it's hard to know who else but the fans would like this stuff. Seemingly focusing exclusively on the Bon Scott years (there may have been some post-1980 shots featuring Brian Johnson, but I'm pretty sure I didn't see any flat caps), the shots fell into three categories – live, studio and band press shot, the latter photos being only slightly less coma-inducing than first two in that they occasionally featured some “wackiness” (Bon Scott on hands and knees with leg cocked “peeing” like a dog, anyone?). Indeed, in an attempt to make it mildly more interesting my friend and I riffed on the bizarre conversation Angus Young must have had with the band the day he decided that, live, he was ditching the traditional hard rock look, and was going to start dressing like a pre-pubescent schoolboy, uniform, short-shorts, cap and all.

Better, and underlining the dullness of the AC/DC exhibition, were the iconic photographs in an adjacent room featuring such luminaries as Dylan, The Stones, Elton John, Jeff Buckley, Joe Strummer and Nirvana. But these were not enough to save an event that had the unpleasant stench of PR all over it, and which perversely managed extremely well in ringing any sense of edge or rock'n'roll out of a night that was devoted to a band that many, quite rightly, see as the glorious epitome of hard rock.

After a pretend art show at a pretend gallery (and missing a pretend band), I was in desperate need of a real drink. Bon Scott, more than most, would've understood.