It’s not every day that you see performers toss children off of a stage and into the crowd. It’s also not every day that you get to capture that moment forever. Aaron Michael did just that at the Aquabats show a few months ago. “I realized that the kid was going to be tossed into the crowd, held up my camera, and by some perfect timing got the shot,” he said. While that was one of the most memorable moments for him, Aaron is no stranger to photographing shows and concerts.
Aaron Michael is the kind of guy you can catch at any show. When This Is Boise put out a call for interesting people a few months ago, Aaron of Music Mondays 208 was by far the most recommended person to contact. I recently got the chance to sit down and chat with him and his fiancé, Amanda, about the work that they do for Boise’s local music scene.
Aaron has been taking professional-grade photos of shows, recreationally, for several years. It wasn’t until Amanda convinced him to create an Instagram account that he discovered there could be more ways to utilize his talents to help the community. Currently, Music Mondays 208 is a social media account with an attached blog to spotlight artists through professional photography and articles. Together, along with a team of talented volunteers, they run the Music Monday 208.
The team, pictured below, is comprised of Lisa Felty, Kenyon McWilliams, Adam Kirk, Brent Hardt (not pictured), Aaron Michael, and Amanda Donaldson. Each person brings their unique style to the table. When asked what he likes about the team he said, “It’s nice to get all the different styles. We have people from so many backgrounds and we are all growing our skills.”
It is important to the team that each person has different interests. He believes this trait gives the team an advantageous dynamic. “You photograph the show better when you are connected with the music,” he says.
The photos captured by the team are nothing short of incredible concert shots. When Music Mondays 208 began, the couple thought there would be a few shows a month. That quickly turned into multiple shows a week, even up to multiple shows a night. The result? A badass gallery highlighting both national and local artists. Some of our top favorites are shown here.
Music Mondays 208 quickly became more than social media and blog coverage of bands. The team is passionate about advocating and promoting local artists. Music Mondays 208 aims to share the stories and people behind local talent in a meaningful way. He and Amanda chimed in about how special it is to be so intertwined in the Boise’s music scene.
“Usually when you think local bands you think you’re getting invited to listen to your best friend’s boyfriend’s garage band somewhere in a neighborhood and it just sucks. But that’s not the case,” Amanda said.
“I’ve seen local bands with as much, or even more, talent than big name, famous bands play the smallest shows where it’s just their friends and family in a coffeeshop,” Aaron added, “It’s so meaningful to be able to give them some sort of validation that isn’t just from friends or family. They work so hard and we recognize that and see their talent.”
Serving the community and building an environment where artists can thrive is important to Aaron. He is known to rally for local artists to open shows with big headliners, provides free photos to bands for promotional use, and has created a space where the artists can share their stories.
Amanda continues, “It’s so fun to see bands grow with the community. Boise has a lot of talented artists. We see a band play passionately for three people in an intimate setting then play with the same enthusiasm years later for a crowd of a hundred or more.”
Aaron says that the main priority of Music Mondays 208 is to give local bands the exposure they deserve. Building a community that truly rallies for the artists, they provide free coverage, venue booking, photo services, and more. For the current success, all of the hard work and fun, and the future of Music Mondays 208, Aaron would like to thank his fiance, the bands, and the MM208 team for their dedication and support.
The team has a lot of ideas to keep pace with the community as they grow. The soonest idea to debut is a new podcast! You can keep up with all of the Music Monday 208 happenings by visiting their website, Facebook, or Instagram.