Like all performers at this time in history, my gigs for the past month (and foreseeable future) have been cancelled or postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Therefore, I was thrilled to have an opportunity to play a livestream set last weekend at a three-day online streaming festival featuring Minnesota musicians called the Land of 10K Streams.
The festival only required a short 30-minute set of original music from each performer but it was definitely a challenge (albeit a fun one) to take songs that were written and arranged for four and five-piece bands and rearrange them as solo pieces.
I started my musical career as a drummer and had some old drum gear and percussion instruments tucked away in the closet so decided to add a little foot-percussion to the songs. This way I could play with the rhythm between verses, bridges, choruses etc. to add more interest to the arrangements.
I rigged up my old floor tom with a kick drum pedal for some low end on the down beats and then tucked my other foot into a tambourine to add some off-beat rhythmic “sparkle.”
To be honest, it was my first go at this and thought it was a bit clumsy at times. I definitely didn’t spend enough time practicing the foot percussion aspects of the arrangements (too busy figuring out the sound, video, lighting etc.).
That being said, I really enjoyed what the percussion brought to the songs and it’s potential for helping me put together a rocking solo set, so, I am definitely looking forward to continuing to explore its potential.
Given the short set time, I decided to just focus on songs with singing and chose to alternate between the clawhammer banjo and guitar. I played around with some instrumental arrangements on the 3-finger banjo but, as solo pieces, they weren’t quite ready for prime time. 🙂
You have to start (streaming) somewhere
Another cool thing about this festival was that it provided a great excuse to figure out the technology needed to perform live during this age of social distancing. It was just the kick in the pants that I needed to move things forward online.
I have a feeling this fest pushed many of the 60 bands involved pretty hard to figure this live-streaming stuff out in a hurry, which I think is a cool and good for everybody!
Livestreaming isn’t close to the same as performing in front of an audience but, being so isolated for the last month, just seeing the comments scroll across the screen in real-time felt like a connection and made the whole endeavor feel worthwhile!
Here is the full show, enjoy!
1. Missing Ghosts
3. That Train Has Left the Station
4. Red Lights on the Radio Tower
5. Great Northern Railroad
6. Never Mention Your Name
7. Rewriting My Memories
By the way, the festival featured a really great lineup including Charlie Parr, Chastity Brown, Chris Koza, Dakota Dave Hull, Mark Mallman and many others, you can check out all the great music on the festival’s website.