As “social distancing” in the time of COVID-19 forces communities to cancel or postpone a variety of social events, local musicians are bringing their shows to a virtual stage in order to provide a slice of normalcy for the First City.
Woody’s Finest Hour took to Facebook last week, after deciding to cancel a show that had been planned for March 20.
The band consists of Tracy Brown, Brandon Hoyt, Anthony Matthews, Lee Freeman and Michael “Lunchbox” Martin.
Brown, the band’s guitarist, told the Daily News during a Friday interview that the show had been planned for March 20, and would have included a performance alongside another group.
Instead of forgoing the performance entirely, the band decided to perform live on the Woody’s Finest Hour Facebook page.
“We had a live show scheduled for that day with another band, K-Funk, and because we had to cancel the show, we just decided to do it online, and it went way better than we thought it was going to go,” Brown said.
The band has previously posted shows on YouTube, but decided to use Facebook for their most recent show because “we recently found just more people use Facebook,” according to Brown.
“We just did one (online show) this last Friday, and it was awesome,” Brown said. “There was like 130-something people (who) showed up on the stream, and by the very next day, there were over 4,000 views on the video.”
Brown noted that the band stuck to their usual set list, playing a variety of 1980’s dance music and “silly, goofy, electronic kind of stuff.”
The style of music that Woody’s Finest Hour is used to performing made the band unsure if Facebook would be a good platform to share their sound.
Brown elaborated that the band is “big on dance,” and worried that the concept of dance music wouldn’t translate well to an online setting.
“We didn’t know if something like this was going to go over really well because usually, that’s all we do (dance music),” Brown explained. “It’s like a real physical response.”
However, Brown said that the show went over well and the band is planning another livestream concert for 8 p.m. on Friday, April 3. The show will be given from the band’s studio and will be performed live on Facebook.
“People need something to do, and a lot of the response we got from people in the (live) chat was that it made them feel normal again; like people felt like they were a normal community watching a show again, but online and everyone sitting on their couch,” Brown said.
Brown also said that the band is considering inviting other groups to join them online during their shows.
“We are thinking about trying to have other bands on the stream once we find out it’s a real consistent audience showing up,” he said.
Taking a cue from Woody’s Finest Hour, local band The Compass Roses took to Facebook at 6 p.m. on Friday night to offer their first virtual concert.
The band is composed of four teenage sisters; Addy, Annika, Katie and Elaine Strait.
Together, the sisters play a range of music from folk to rock.
The band spoke to the Daily News about their first online show prior to the event.
“It just kind of got brought on by the coronavirus and not being able to go out and do live performances anymore,” Annika Strait said of the online show, adding that the group was inspired by Woody’s Finest Hour.
The Compass Roses planned to stick to their usual set list and wanted to focus mostly on “classic rock,” Addy Strait explained before the show.
“I guess it’s another way to connect without leaving your home,” Addy Strait said.
The band agrees that online performances might become common for The Compass Roses in the future.