Montana Public Radio

Live Music: Now Playing At A Quarantined Couch Near You

Mar 25, 2020

Bars and music venues across the country have shuttered their doors to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, but many musicians are still finding ways to perform during the pandemic through livestream shows being called "COVID-19 Couch Concerts." With gigs and tours postponed or canceled, performers have turned to impromptu live shows on the internet.

Brendan Dekievit decided to start a facebook page where artists from Montana and beyond could schedule and perform live streaming sets. He wanted one place that could act like a stage, or an internet venue.

COVID-19 Couch Concerts is 'A social media based E-Venue for artists to perform during venue closures caused by Covid-19 Coronavirus'
Credit COVID-19 Couch Concerts

"I just wanted to give performers an outlet still. Everybody’s kind of stir crazy. So despite the fact that they’re not able to go out and make money and perform live, they can still gain fans and stay relevant."

On the Couch Concerts page, musicians jam out from their bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens. Dekievit says making all the shows live helps keep some of the vulnerability and raw feeling of being at a concert.

Lee Calvin in Red Lodge was one of the first to perform on the Facebook page after his band, Calvin and the Coal Cars had to postpone their album release show indefinitely.

"I actually got really nervous before we did it, which I don't tend to get nervous before shows anymore. And then the response was really fun. We didn't know what to expect. But we had, over the course of those two shows, several hundred people tune in and listen to us. And on top of that we had several donations and sold a few albums as well."

A screen capture from a COVID-19 Couch Concert featuring Calvin and the Coal Cars.

Calvin says he’s lost about 50 percent of his income from canceled gigs, and that’s something online donations can’t make up for. But as everyone in the music industry, from venue owners to stage techs to tour bus drivers, takes a financial hit, Calvin is looking on the bright side.

"The silver lining in this whole thing is that we do have all of these weekend nights that are all of a sudden available, and nothing else to do. I think we're gonna see a big spurt of, maybe, unplanned albums coming out over the next few months. And let's utilize that time to do what we're supposed to be doing, and that's creating music."

The audio includes snippets from the live sets by Calvin and the Coal Cars, Hardwood Heart, Tony Horton, and Buddy Duke.