Okay, so it's done - 4 nights of shows, 20 bands, about 1600 photographs and 3 hours of sleep later, I've survived the nonstop music parade that is the CMJ Marathon. I've learned a shitload about the subway system (who knew that getting to the J from Canal St. & Broadway involves no less that 6 sets of stairs?) and how to get around Lower Manhattan. In addition, I've now been to scads more music venues that I'd never been to before. I've learned to wield my camera as a tool of access - it's incredibly easy to bluff your way in somewhere if you state your purpose clearly and hold up some heavy-looking gear. I've also vaguely overdosed on feeling like a distanced observer to something I would like to feel like a participant in. It's fun to see lots of shows, and I do like having something to do - I often get a little bored at shows (much as I love the music - it's my mess of a brain), so it's nice to have a sense of purpose. But it's quite obvious to everybody around that you don't have as much invested in attending the show as they do, and it can feel a little lonely. Add to that that I'm not the best at talking to strangers and you end up with a series of four nights spent very much in my own company and inside my own head. Nothing wrong with that, inherently, but I like music shows as social experiences as well, and I missed out on that, eventually.
But in the overall, I have to say it was awesome, and that I would do it again in a heartbeat. I love taking pictures of musicians and shows - they're always doing something interesting, and when you can catch that moment of unguarded abandon, where you see the honest love of music involved, that's what I was looking to capture. And, with varying degrees of success, I think I got that with a bunch of artists, and ended up with some(by my judgment) good photos. I guess I'll let you judge for yourself. But I had a good time, and I learned a lot. Like the fact that the Knitting Factory refuses to light their shows barely at all. And that my camera's priority modes are totally for crap. I was much happier once I went totally manual. But enough! It's time for photos!