Hopefully, you’re all doing the right thing and staying at home during this coronavirus crisis. For those of us who love live music, it’s a tedious ordeal, but it’s far preferable to getting infected and then infecting everyone that we come into contact with. Still, we’re human, we crave entertainment, and sometimes Netflix just won’t do.
Meanwhile, musicians everywhere are having to deal with the fact that gigs and entire tours have been wiped from the schedule, and their livelihoods placed in jeopardy. A solution — or at least a band-aid — that many are attempting is to stream events from their homes.
Some are performing in their living rooms — giving us a glimpse into their private lives. Others are dropping new videos. Either way, they’re offering new material when we need it most. Here a few local examples:
Oakland blues rocker Fantastic Negrito had a clever idea — ask fans to submit a video of themselves social distancing and keeping themselves busy, which he then chopped and arranged into a video for the song “Chocolate Samurai.” The man behind the project, Xavier Dphrepaulezz, said in a statement, “Have you lost your mind yet? I asked people around the world to send me footage of how they are coping with the coronavirus…this is what came back. A moment of light. We may be isolated behind closed doors, but we are in this together.” That’s a superb sentiment, and the video is better. Check out the video here.
Known to millions for her appearance on season five of The Voice, San Francisco resident Kat Robichaud has been performing with her dark carnival, the Misfit Cabaret, for a couple of years now. “We have a rotating cast of musicians, drag queens, burlesque performers, aerialists, vaudevillians, puppets — we have a puppet troupe that we work with called Shadow Circus Creative Theatre,” Robichaud told us in October 2019. “I love when our audience dresses up to come to our show, like it’s an event.”
On April 7, Robichaud poste the second installment of her “Piano and Wine” series. “I will dress to the nines, drink wines, and play an entirely new set of originals and Patreon-requested covers for you on piano, keys, and ukulele,” she says. Tune in here.
The San Francisco singer and songwriter releases her latest album, Mondegreens, a collaboration with producer Julie Wolf, on April 2. She says the record “plays like a love letter to today’s uncertain times, each song evoking a blend of heartache and hope, social reflection and self-discovery.” She’ll be celebrating the release with a livestream concert on Thursday, viewable at rachelgarlin.com starting at 7 p.m.
The main man in local band Heartwatch is going solo. Eric Silverman’s new EP, Rookie, finds him looking for “a return to deeper songwriting and a chance to write music that really speaks to people at this troubling time in our world.” On Thursday at 5 p.m., he’ll be performing songs from Rookie and you can watch him through his Facebook page.
For the past week or so, Alex Eliopoulos — of experimental rock collective Impuritan — has been live streaming with his solo project, Occult Stereo, from his studio space. Eliopoulos says that he “embraces aural freedom in a multitude of forms. OS combines experimental, psychedelic, and art rock influences in fresh and spontaneous ways.” Sound like your cup of tea? Tune in to the latest livestream this week. Details here on the Occult Stereo Facebook page.
Secret Emchy Society
Cindy Emch was all geared up to perform at SXSW this year and head out on tour with Jack Garton and the Demon Squadron. Then all hell broke loose. The self-proclaimed queer country singer says that once everything had sunk in, she was sad and disappointed about it all. “About the cancellations for April, then May — my album release show especially, then the National Queer Arts Festival in June — over a year of planning was just disappearing over emails as the pandemic numbers kept climbing,” she says. She’ll be performing a lunch hour set as part of the Sweetheart PR showcases at 11 a.m. on Thursday at facebook.com/sweetheartpub or facebook.com/babyrobotmedia, while her new album, The Chaser, is set for a May 15 release. Preview the forthcoming record on Secret Emchy Society’s Bandcamp page.
The artist born Cecilia Cassandra Peña-Govea is known for her seamless blend of Latin rhythms and hip-hop, showcased beautifully on her new EP, Algo Nuevo, or “Something New.” She describes her sound as “femmeton,” or feminist reggaeton, as she promotes positive messages for the Latinx community and women. She’s a vital, vibrant and inspiring artist, and she’s live streaming this week. Keep an eye on Facebook for more details.
After a 10-year hiatus, Petaluma punks Tsunami Bomb, reformed in 2015 with singer Kate Jacobi. The band has re-recorded an old favorite, “Irish Boys Stink,” downloadable for just $1. “All proceeds go to benefit our fellow musicians who are struggling in the wake of the Coronavirus cancellations,” they wrote on their Facebook. Grab the track on their Bandcamp.
Oakland indie band the Foxtails Brigade recently dropped the 100th episode of their podcast, Totally Tell Me, and there are more to come. That’s comforting, because we’ve become accustomed to their familiar, mildly snarky tones as they review movies, TV, music, etc. “As it goes on, it gets a little tighter, but without losing the magic of the natural flow between us,” Laura Weinbach told us back in 2017. “We’re moderately aware that the tape’s running, but after about the first five minutes, I think we both forget and we just go all out.” They celebrated the 100th installment by making a video episode, which can be viewed at facebook.com/totallytellme. The podcasts can be heard in the usual podcast places.
The Mr. T Experience
We’re not quite sure why Bay Area man Dr. Frank of Berkeley punks the Mr. T Experience just recorded an episode of the Jersey Beat podcast, billed as a show about new music from New Jersey and beyond (we guess he must be the “beyond”) but he did. No matter, the good doctor is in fine form and it’s worth checking out at jerseybeatpodcast.blogspot.com.