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Mitski / Jay Som @ Mr. Smalls Theatre (March 29, 2019)

I love music. I love going to shows, seeing my favorite artists play, belting out songs so loudly that I don’t have a voice the next morning. Over the past year, I’ve especially grown to love capturing the energy of a live performance on camera. That much is obvious to anyone who has even a passing familiarity with me.

What’s probably less obvious is that, on some level, I also kind of hate going to shows. This has become even more frustrating since I started photographing them.

It comes with the territory of being an introvert. There are sometimes-grumpy crowds to contend with, security guards who might turn your camera away at the door, drunk dudes who threaten to spill beer on your stupidly expensive gear. I’m not always in the mood to put up with the various moving parts, and often don’t know until the day of a show if I’m really going to go at all. More times than I’d like to admit, I have to drag myself out of the house so as not to waste the money I spent on tickets… and sometimes I get in such a funky headspace I can’t even manage that.

Often, though, that anxiety dissipates by the time the artist walks on stage. That was the case on Friday, when Mitski and Jay Som played to a sold-out crowd at Mr. Smalls Theatre in Millvale, Pennsylvania.

I’ve seen Mitski three times in three years, and I swear the size of the venues she’s been in has more than doubled each time. It’s pretty damn cool to watch an artist go from playing a basement hookah bar to selling out an 800-capacity venue within 24 hours of putting tickets on sale. The choreography she’s introduced in her live shows have taken things to a whole other level, to the point where it almost felt like I was seeing her for the first time.

Jay Som, too, was a delight to watch. Their previous album Everybody Works was one of my favorite releases of 2017, and I’m excited to hear what their recently recorded follow-up has in store.

I imagine I’ll be sharing a lot more from the shows I attend now that I have this blog. The next one on the docket is Lady Lamb on April 13th. No chance of me staying home for that one, either—Lady Lamb is one of the rare artists I’d follow to the ends of the damn Earth.

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