SLO Brew is hosting the virtual concert “Together, SLO” in partnership with Big Big SLO, The Community Roots Project and Ernie Ball for Small Business Appreciation Day on Sunday, May 31, from 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Each band chose a local business affected by the COVID-19 shutdown to donate their profits to.
The all-day event will feature Resination sponsoring Boo Boo Records, Bear Market Riot sponsoring Lightning Joe’s Guitar Heaven, Wordsauce sponsoring Headstrong Fit, Shawn Clark Band sponsoring Central Coast Music and Chris and Harmony Beland sponsoring Eclair Bakery.
Nick Motil from Bear Market Riot said the band chose to support Lightning Joe’s Guitar Heaven because it is the local, family-owned shop that they go to with all of their needs.
“They can’t open and sell tacos to go so they’ve been selling guitar strings to go. To keep my small business going I need essentials like picks and strings and they’ve been there,” Motil said. “I sent them a message when they were closed and they said, ‘we’ll meet you there at 3 with everything that you need.’”
Entertainment Director for SLO Brew, Ryan Orr, has been watching live streams for a long time and his first thought after COVID hit was to turn SLO Brew Rock concerts into live streams. Orr along with Big Big SLO started doing donation based live streams about six weeks ago and started SLO House Party as a platform for live streams.
“We were itching to do something as soon as possible,” Orr said.
Along with SLO Brew, Big Big SLO started perfecting the art of live streaming. Owner and Marketing Director Paul Irving is working to help bring back the atmosphere of live music.
“It’s super awkward playing to nobody,” Irving said. “So that’s been the missing piece that we’ve been trying to bridge the gap on to return some kind of connectivity between the audience and the artists.”
Motil experiences this disconnect when playing to an audience virtually.
“I think the hardest part has been keeping the performance energy. Which is 90 percent driven by the live audience you are performing for; if you are playing in a room of 300 people and nobody is paying attention to you, that zaps your energy really quickly and that’s kind of how these live streams feel,” Motil said. “There might be a couple hundred people in the “room” but there’s just no one giving you that energy.”
For this concert, they are going to have the first 500 audience members on a Zoom call and the audience will be projected in front of the bands so they can see the people they are playing for in hopes of restoring some of the normalcy of concerts.
For Orr, it’s about creating the same concert experience for the audience and allowing them to enjoy the music.
“It’s been interesting to try and keep that energy level high and my approach has been to produce a live stream the same way that we produce a concert,” Orr said. “We have the six people in the room trying to move our bodies and clap after every song and just keep the energy level as high as possible.”
Motil explained that with the virtual nature of these live streams, the band has been able to connect with their audience on a more personal level and also see some of their favorite musicians more often.
“I think when someone gives us a donation and attached to that donation is a message that says how important it is for them and their family that they can tap in a on Wednesday and watch us be silly idiots playing music, that’s why we do this in the first place,” Orr said.
Orr has been working in music for 15 years and concerts are a huge part of his life. This virtual concert is a way for him to create that concert feel in a time where people can’t physically get together.
“There’s nothing that feels better than a room full of people that are releasing this creative energy and the band is receiving it and giving it back,” Orr said. “It’s just something that is a huge part of my life and obviously so many other people that are being somewhat robbed of it right now. I count the days until we can safely get back together and just blow the roof off.”
To register and donate for Together, SLO along with other local live streams visit slohouseparty.com.