Mitski @ 930 Club, 7/8/2017

I have seen Mitski multiple times. This past Saturday was different. My heart was broken earlier that day. I felt lifeless and considered skipping the show. I am glad I did not.

This was her best performance to date. She literally didn’t miss a beat. It helps that the sound at the 930 Club is as crisp as it is loud and it’s very loud. Sound alone doesn’t convey the power of Mitski even if her bass rumbles like rolling thunder. Her presence on stage captivates me every time by freeing me to simply feel. And as I wrote previously, she achieves this with seemingly little effort by simply being. In fact, this is the least she has ever spoke. And just like each time, the words she utters the most are “thank” and “you”. Her gratitude to her fans remains as endearing and strong as ever.

It’s something unlikely to change even as she becomes more popular and plays larger venues. For this tour, she brought along stage props for the first time. Three rows of boards covered in seemingly aluminum foil serve to reflect off light. All of which confirms my fear that she will soon be priced out of my budget. It’s bittersweet given I will definitely be sad not to see her again but happy that her success continues to grow.

After just over an hour, she retired only to return very shortly after for a one song encore. It was and will likely remain the most impactful encore of my life. She began by expressing her severe disappointment in not having wrote the song. It’s penned by Personal Best which she urged everyone to check out on bandcamp after the show. The song is brilliant and the chorus goes like

I wanna kiss you in the street
Where everyone can see
‘Cos this is what we look like

The refrain repeats several times and listening to Mitski voice those words exacerbated the pain in my chest. I stood alone, squished on all sides in the sold out space, longing for a connection, wondering what it would look like. By the end of the song however, I felt less turmoil. The pain lingered but there was a tranquility that emerged. Like time, Mitski heals.


Playing With ISO

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/400 • ISO 3200

As promised, finally got around to test out various ISO settings. This isn’t as easy as turning a dial on the T6 to change shutter speed because the ISO button is on the back of the camera body. That said, it’s still very accessible and fast once you get used to the motions. Take photo, bring camera down, press ISO button, arrow key to desired ISO, press ok and ready to shoot again.

The lighting at Black Cat was pretty good for this show which somewhat skews this experiment. This is especially true for Katie since she was under a spotlight. I say this because usually in No Flash Mode which chooses ISO automatically, it defaults to 3200. Whereas ISO 3200 in this case is over exposed. All of which makes perfect sense. After all, 3200 is meant for low light conditions. The higher the ISO, the more noise (pixelation) is introduced into the photograph so the point is to choose the lowest ISO optimal for the lighting on hand. The T6 assists in this effort by displaying a horizontal meter at the bottom of the viewfinder when the camera is in focus. The mid point indicates optimal.

Even with plenty of light, ISO 100 is still best reserved for outdoor shots as demonstrated below. That said, thanks to the “disappearance” of the mic stand and cord in this case, the photo offers a rather artful if eerie atmosphere of sorts. It isn’t until ISO 1600 that objects in the background are getting picked up by the camera. On the other spectrum at ISO 6400, well, you can see for yourself.

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/100 • ISO 100

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/100 • ISO 200

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/100 • ISO 400

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/100 • ISO 800

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/100 • ISO 1600

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/100 • ISO 3200

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/100 • ISO 6400


T-Rextasy @ Black Cat, 7/5/17

“I am not a piece of food!”

Annie led the crowd in chanting the above. Unfamiliar with the song, I felt a bit awkward despite the boisterous enthusiasm surrounding me. And I am in good company given Ahmad is next to me and the drummers of Psychic Subcreatures and Homosuperior are in attendance. Then the drums kicked in and I quickly realized that T-Rextasy is the band I have always wanted.

The Dashing Dino Dames speak to me on multiple levels. As someone who’s highly sarcastic, I really appreciate their devastatingly witty sense of humor. The five piece from New York are endearingly energetic. At one point, they took turns sharing stories involving everything from Kombucha to some guy who wants the world to know about Radiohead. Their fun personalities carry over into their songs. Whether it’s about zits or coming out to the people in your life, each song shares the same upbeat vibe that induced everyone in the room to nod along. They don’t just make music. They make merry.

It’s a refreshing and amazing approach to sing about feminism. It’s also more accessible for those like myself whose palettes prefer a sound less abrasive than punk. Their set clocked in just over a half hour and left me wanting after a long day following an extended holiday weekend.

Manual the Sequel

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/200 • ISO 3200

Decided to experiment further with manual mode while shooting Chastity Belt. As mentioned previously, the lighting at Songbyrd is really poor. Taking the photo above took multiple tries. The lens couldn’t focus so I had to keep dialing the shutter speed faster until 1/200. The result is a rather dark photo but it does capture the movement so I think that’s a net gain.

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/160 • ISO 3200

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/200 • ISO 3200

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/250 • ISO 3200

ƒ/1.8 • 50.0 mm • 1/320 • ISO 3200

Took four photos within a minute at varying shutter speeds. Love how the Rebel T6 makes it so easy to do this via a scroll wheel next to the shutter button. Even the slowest of the four still turned out dark and 1/160 isn’t fast by any stretch of the imagination so it just further confirms the atrocious lighting at this venue. By 1/320, the photo is noticeably much darker. That said, I must give credit to the ƒ/1.8 aperture. While dark, all images are sharp and the bokeh of the background lights is lovely. Another note to consider is that I am right next to the stage so that definitely helps.

Post processing could potentially counter the lighting issue but my aim is to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of lenses and cameras.