I know it's not the time to be flippant, but perhaps it's okay to make a joke and say that my Now Playing column could be retitled "Not Playing Now" or something else involving silly, somewhat clever wordplay. But in all seriousness, it's a brand-new world for at least a few weeks, no matter how we work through and deal with the situation of coronavirus in our midst.
First, our heart goes out to anyone who has tested positive with the virus or is close to someone afflicted by this thing. That comes before any of the rest of the story concerning the ones affected by the shutdowns and closures of public places necessary to curb the spreading of the virus. And, especially for the readers of this column, we are concerned with those venues so often mentioned here, and the musicians and audiences who populate the spaces, as they combine forces to make live music happen. As often as I have pleaded, prodded, pushed and provoked people to get out and see live music, you might imagine how profoundly weird it is to do the absolute opposite and recommend staying in and not participating in what I feel is one of the great joys in life, listening to and performing music live. Yessiree, Bob, it's really weird.
So in the absence of personal interaction, here's an alternative of sorts: the streaming of live music online. I've noticed, especially through Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, there are many folks offering online performances where you can donate through web-based sources or just watch for free. Is there an even remote possibility of feeling the same magic and mojo achieved through the actual movement of sound waves created by humans making music and singing songs, live and in person? I don't think so, but as we're forced into this situation, at least it's a version of live music you can watch without leaving the house or even getting up from your choice of comfortable seating arrangements, for that matter. And, if and when local bands and performers do set up live online gigs, maybe you can donate a few bucks to the cause and help out in this time of need. Who knows, you might enjoy area performers in a new light not lit by the neon glare of a barroom sign and without the requisite obnoxious, intoxicated, instant expert offering up obligatory observations. Let's all hang together, take care of each other and wait for the sun to rise again on a world after COVID-19 and all the ramifications thereof.
Next week I will list any online concert links that local musicians send to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and also look up other online platforms that are available in this time of change to our social norms and practices. There are also several online services, including local ones, created just for you to donate to help out other workers in the service industry affected by the situation. And while I'm at it, here's a poke to all you folks who have stayed home glued to electronic devices (I still remember my dad calling it the "boob tube") instead of coming out to live music shows, despite our pleas. Now you can remain in your abode and watch your screen with more options than ever considering the certain increase in live streaming. But as soon as this passes, I will be back on your case to promote action out at the live music venues, supporting our incredible local scene on all levels, as always.
See you next week for more Not Playing Now.