As I write this, I have a miserable cold. You know the one. You’ve probably have it, had it or will have it shortly. And to make matters worse, one of my old friends is playing a show at Club Passim tomorrow night, and I really don’t want to spread my germs around, so I’m going to stay home. But am I going to miss the show? Of course not. I’m going to attend virtually.
Many of the shows from Club Passim, and many other venues are being streamed live as they happen, and, for a modest “ticket price,” you can enjoy the event from the comfort of your own computer. In addition to Passim, clubs across the country, from Caffe Lena in Upstate New York to Freight & Salvage in California are offering shows as well. Is it as good as being there? Of course not, but it is cheaper than a flight from Boston to Berkley.
In addition to traditional “concerts,” many artists are offering what are being called “laptop concerts.” Christine Lavin is doing a series from her apartment in NYC. Peter Mulvey, Jenna Lindbo, Jess Klein, the Loomers, and many more have laptop concerts scheduled for the month. Last year Stephen Fearing did a streaming series that he called “Roots on the Wire.” Tom Rush streamed his 2012 Symphony Hall show (but not this year’s) and Winterbloom steamed a series of three house concerts over one weekend.
The best thing is that, just like a live performance, your admission fee goes to the venue (if there is one) and the artist, plus a little for the company supplying the bandwidth. Like anything else, this trend needs to be supported if it is to continue, and grow. Please make a resolution to try a virtual concert this month.
No matter how convenient, and charming, this will never replace being there. A live concert at your local coffeehouse is still one of the best values in entertainment. For the price of a movie ticket (or less) you can see a show in an intimate setting, probably even get to interact with the artist. You can have a slice of carrot cake, for much less than the price popcorn at the movies, and you can buy a CD by the artist for less than it cost to park in the garage next to the Cineplex. After taking the holidays off, most of the member organizations in the Boston Area Coffee House Association (BACHA) are back up and running starting this month, and if you want these all volunteer venues to keep bringing world class artists to your neighborhood you’ve got to get out and support them. So there’s another resolution for you. Get out to your local coffeehouse this month. In fact, what are you doing this weekend?