It’s been two years since I traveled to Holyoke, Mass for this Thursday night experimental music series. This was the 25th in the series hosted my dear friend of nearly as many years Bonnie Kane, an established musician,  artist and entrepreneur in her own right.

January is not my busiest month for wedding photography in the Catskills. They aren’t coming to Hunter for Mountaintop Weddings, or Tannersville to have me photograph proposals and they’re not in Windham, NY for family reunion photography Admittedly in this neck of the woods, many folks are thinking more about keeping the pipes from freezing than hosting parties or saying “I Do” so the opportunity to flex some photographic muscles on a musical subject that wouldn’t involved ghastly-large crowds was most welcome. When I’m on my own time, I like to keep it mellow.

So it was off to Holyoke, MA. to check in at Gateway City Arts.

Perhaps it was the bitter cold, basically zero, or simply the nature of the beast, but a third of the scheduled featured performers failed to play their featured set. The remainder,   id m theft able, and Del Xhrist more than made up for it.

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Each had their table of tricks set up ahead of their sets.

Id m theft able began with what I perhaps erroneously always think of an ancient aboriginal clicking language. I believe there was also some prerecorded didgeridoo, though. Necessary as vocalizations were layered on top of it. Add elements of a marimba and electronically accented uke. You get the picture. For an encore, spoken word. There was a sad subtext to this “I Pissed Myself” piece, but perhaps I’m just in a sensitive place right now.

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Del Xhrist has a beautiful voice and whatever she was up to, it still came through – the sort I honestly cold listen to for hours. Wonder if she’s had formal vocal training.

JonathanMent20190131_212146_wmWhen pressed for her encore, by the illustrious promoter (perhaps to fill the gap created by the absent performer) she also opted for an acapella piece, roaming around the room and prattling on in a foreign language. Ukrainian? Russian?

I didn’t necessarily enjoy it, but she at least had me curious as to what it was about.

It’s always a balance when shooting live performance / concert photography between letting enough light into the camera and capturing the aesthetic of the often low light of the theatrical settings. At least It’s often a balance for me. While it’s tempting to drop a bounce flash on the situation, the resulting flat lighting – though thorough, is not appealing.

In the case of these images, I was trying to enjoy the show as much as if not more than capturing it in stills, so I must confess – room for improvement.

JonathanMent20190131_202008-1_wmI did not stick around for the organized jam session – nor did I play ‘Drag Queen Bingo,” or partake in any of the other offerings at Gateway City Arts (like the woodcarving class) but I do suspect I’ll try to return for another Thursday Experiment in less than 23 months.

Thanks for taking a look. You can also find, follow & like Jonathan Ment Photography on Facebook & at and check out the broad-topic’d “Observational Ramblings” of the Ment Media Group’s “Business Blog.”

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