WRITTEN BY: Samantha Sullivan
Settling into this new normal of social isolation and staying 6 feet away from each other, “get to the gig” has taken on a vastly different meaning during the coronavirus crisis. While we might be staying apart we can still come together in these strange times with live streamed shows and the power of the internet to curate the concert of your dreams. Though nothing can compare to the sweaty bodies and spilt beer of your favorite venues here’s some videos to get you through until we can all be dancing together again.
“ON MY SIDE”- DEHD (@ CAFE BERLIN, 2019)
The reassurance that the universe is moving with you “On My Side” automatically makes you believe you are exactly where you need to be. Between Eric McGrady’s steady stripped down beats and Jason Balla’s unwavering faith in the world everything around you suddenly seems to click into place. Overcome by absolute ecstasy and sheer hope as Emily Kempf chants “time is on my side/I will be alright” it is impossible not to believe her.
“WHEN THE SUN HITS”-SLOWDIVE (@ PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL, 2014)
Originally released on Souvlaki in 1994 “When The Sun Hits” is still bewitching 20 years later. Building up into a shower of light, sparks seem to rain down as Rachel Goswell and Neil Halstead reach the chorus proclaiming “sweet thing I watch you/burn so fast it scares me.” With layers of feedback waxing and waning the crowd goes wild and the whole world feels so bright you have to squint your eyes.
“AGE OF CONSENT”-NEW ORDER (@ BBC RADIO 1 STUDIOS, 1984)
An absolute frenzy melting into sheer synth bliss this 1984 version of “Age of Consent” seems like a struggle. Keeping a death grip on the mic Bernard Summers accompanied by mechanical drumming and cascading keys is completely vulnerable. Occasionally playing the wrong chords, absolutely attacking the guitar, and shouting lyrics with eyes shut New Order lets you see the effort that goes into everything they do.
“BOBBY”-ALEX G (@ WXPN STUDIOS, 2017)
Hometown hero Alex G breaks your heart with this version of “Bobby” recorded at WXPN. Using his brutal even delivery he twists the knife as he recounts the torn dress and the first time they met over weepy strings. Isolated with no back-up vocals or violins it’s sparse and lonely, a lot of regret and a mess he can’t clean up.
LORELEI-THE COCTEAU TWINS (@ OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST, 1984)
Absolutely ethereal The Cocteau Twins are either angels or aliens in this 1984 performance of “Lorelei.” Otherworldly they seem to levitate over layers of distortion and fuzz. Mystical and mesmerizing Elizabeth Fraser’s switch blade vocals make her out to be the siren she sings about.
“THE COMBINE” “BENNINGTON” “DO YOUR BEST” “COP KILLER” “EDGE OF FOREVER”-JOHN MAUS (@ JUANS BASEMENT, 2018)
Spooky slowcore John Maus is nothing short of unsettling at this performance in Juan’s basement. In the midst of a breakdown Maus shakes and shutters as he groans through “Bennington” and begs on “Do Your Best.” A “synth-pop retro futurist and punk intellectual” his set tip toes the line of becoming a seance. Standing rigid then dissolving into fits of convulsions he plays as if he’s possessed.
“WATER OVER SEX”- LALA LALA (@ HIDDEN PEAKS CLIMBING GYM, 2019)
Lillie West sets out to destory in this version of “Water Over Sex” recorded at an indoor rock climbing wall in Chicago. With tunnel vision she’s devastating, dead set on having you understand the ache she’s experienced. Her level-headedness is almost eerie as she warns “I’m warmed by my own wool/I lie to the others.” Her voice cutting like broken glass, she possesses earth shattering intensity.
“YOU CAN HAVE IT ALL” – YO LA TENGO (@ CONAN, 2000)
Introduced as the pride of Hoboken New Jersey this late night cover of “You Can Have It All” Yo La Tengo is spellbinding. Ira Kaplan’s delicate vocals layered with Georgia Hubley and James McNews’ lingering back-up floods the studio with soft incandescent light. Accompanied by an assortment of string instruments and 2 drummers it’s enough to make everyone in the audience melt.