As social distancing rapidly becomes standard practice in response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, musicians and their fans have been reeling from the unprecedented wave of event cancellations that have swept the world. Last weekend marked the beginning of an undefined period when music lovers will be holed up at home and itching for their much-needed fix of communal live energy from their favorite artists. And in the absence of venues to descend upon or dance floors to tear up, the internet has become the cultural watering hole of the moment as bands and DJs migrate their concert experiences online to stream performances in real time.
Acts such as Maceo Plex and Pigeons Playing Ping Pong were quick to recognize the need to take their shows to the interwebs and spent the previous weekend livestreaming sets and setting a precedent for how artists will continue engaging fans in the midst of these isolating times. As the instances of complete shutdowns like the one seen in San Francisco and Italy increase, the cyber-couch-tour era is poised to evolve into unique format permutations; it can be seen already with future-funk act GRiZ's promise of five-minute guided meditations every Sunday at 5 p.m. ET on his Instagram or house producer Kyle Watson’s forthcoming Club Duvet, during which he’ll stream live from his bedroom.
Here are New Times' picks for the best music livestreams coming in the days ahead:
Afrobeta's Quarantine JamThursday, March 19
Miami's avant-dance duo has been a staple at Ultra Music Festival for years and was slated to showcase its soulful, disco-house magic at the annual extravaganza this weekend. Instead, Afrobeta's Cuci Amador and Tony Smurphio will livestream their Quarantine Jam concert from the North Beach Bandshell, an open-air amphitheater in the heart of Miami Beach's North Beach neighborhood. The livestream will be available on YouTube and the Rhythm Foundation's Facebook page.
Dead Center Creatives Presents On the LivestreamThursday, March 19
The Miami-based collective Dead Center Creatives (DCC) is known around the city for its Saturday-night livestreams beamed from its HQ nestled between Edgewater and Wynwood. The crew had planned the in-person URL 2 IRL Miami Music Week event at Shots Miami but has reverted back to its usual broadcast format for the show. The 24-plus-hour livestream will happen tonight and include DJ sets from Miami’s emerging underground talents as DCC attempts to stretch the occasion out for as long as possible. Tune in to the livestream on the Dead Center Creative website, the newly launched On the Livestream hub, or Facebook.
House of EFunkFriday, March 20
Boutique-record-store-meets-intimate-nightclub ATV Records had been gearing up for its first Miami Music Week since opening last November. The downtown Miami venue was planning to celebrate its inaugural MMW with Friday-night festivities organized in collaboration with their longtime friends in the DJ/production duo Soul Clap, who had hosted the House of EFunk party concept at Electric Pickle annually. This Friday, House of EFunk will take place at the venue as planned, streaming live sets from Soul Clap, ATV Records founder Will Renuart, and other special guests. Soul Clap got its start in Boston and began hosting House of EFunk as an afterparty for Movement Detroit in 2014. They've since spread their funky gospel across the nation with outposts in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Denver, and Washington, D.C. The stream will be available on Soul Clap's Facebook page.
Lee Foss' Lockdown LivestreamFriday, March 20
To make up for his canceled Repopulate Mars Miami Music Week show that was slated to happen this Friday, March 20, at the Kimpton Epic Hotel, Lee Foss will throw a poolside livestream from his Los Angeles home. The house-music heavyweight will be joined by special guests for the 11-hour affair, which is scheduled during the same hours the Miami show would've happened and appropriately dubbed the Lockdown Livestream. The stream will be available on Facebook, Instagram Live, and YouTube.
Friday Happy Hour Live StreamFriday, March 20
Coconut Groove is an ongoing party series thrown by local DJs with the goal of revitalizing nightlife in Miami's Coconut Grove neighborhood. The purveyors of underground music have been organizing near-monthly romps at Tavern in the Grove or Barracuda Taphouse & Grill, showcasing Miami artists who specialize in house and techno music. This Friday, Coconut Groove will host Happy Hour Live Stream, featuring sets from DJs who have helped bolster the local community. The four-hour stream will be available on Facebook and YouTube.
Sutrofm's Local Support 12-Hour FundraiserSaturday, March 21
The San Francisco-based online pirate radio platform Sutrofm is committed to showcasing underground strains of music, and this Saturday will see it host a 12-hour fundraiser to benefit the artists whose financial livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Local DJs will air their exclusive mixes while industry players take live calls from listeners. Patrons can contribute donations via PayPal or Venmo (@sutrofm), and proceeds will be split equally among the artists providing the mixes. The broadcast will be streamable on Sutrofm, Facebook Live, and Twitch.
Sofi Tukker's DJ Set/Workout SessionsDaily
Dance-pop duo Sofi Tukker is livestreaming its daily hybrid DJ-set-meets-workout-session, welcoming fans straight into the pair's Palm Beach living room for an afternoon dance party. The duo's Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern called the opportunity to exercise — which is naturally being soundtracked by their dreamy, synth-laden tunes — "a really good way to be 'together' with people all around the world." They add, “It's become something we look forward to every day, that gives us a lot of energy and joy, and we hope it gives others a similar feeling." The stream began on IGTV, is now being syndicated on Facebook, and will soon stream on YouTube too.
Jauz's Twitch StreamsDaily
Bass maestro Jauz has unveiled an impressive schedule of daily musical offerings on the world's leading livestreaming platform, Twitch. He'll be kicking off each week with a Monday session of the program Demo Roulette, followed by music/production streams on Wednesdays and a live in-studio session from his Bite This record label on Fridays. The remaining days of the week will see the artist supply fans with surprises in real time. Streaming on Twitch will allow Jauz to interact directly with fans by answering their questions, fielding requests, and creating a two-way exchange of ideas. Tune in to Jauz's Twitch livestream here.
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Lido's Instagram SessionsNightly
Norwegian singer-songwriter and producer Lido’s nightly livestream sessions are a safe space for fans to escape the world’s stressful state of affairs. The genre-bending noise architect can be found on Instagram Live jamming out, covering songs, making beats, rolling joints, and discussing philosophy, life, and humanity — anything but COVID-19. The casual stream takes place nightly at 8:08, a nod to the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer drum machine. Tune in to Lido's Instagram livestream here.
Cuarentena Fest is a DIY, horizontally organized festival that spawned from the Spanish independent music scene and has spotlighted more than 50 bands' livestreaming shows from their respective homes. The ongoing festival kicked off this past Monday and will run through Friday, March 27. The virtual gathering invites viewers into each artist’s most intimate creative space while increasing visibility about the plight of independent musicians in the face of mass concert cancellations. Artists and record labels across Spain have “joined forces to make the civil confinement established by the Spanish government more bearable,” and each act will broadcast live via its own YouTube channel in addition to embedding its performances on the Cuarentena Fest Tumblr page.