I tried writing this newsletter about two weeks ago, but I was like, “Alyana, who wants to hear from you about music in the middle of a pandemic?” But then I was like, “Who cares! I’ve always done this newsletter for myself, and while it brings me joy to share it with other people, the idea was that it was always a way for me to further my love for live music.”
That’s an abridged conversation I had with myself. Part of the reason I haven’t written in so long is because I’ve just felt so…unenthused lately. It’s been hard for me to even write, which feels like such a frivolous thing to do right now. So I spent a week being really down and sad and just very detached from the world around me. And, unsurprisingly, that felt horrible! I felt consumed by all of the news around me—venues, bars, and artists that I love being very open about how it will be very hard for them financially for what feels like will be forever.
The idea that I would have to spend months without the thrill that I feel at a show really got me down, as well as the very real possibility that the thriving arts and culture scene here in New York would be decimated after spending months without any income.
I’ve also been having a hard time adjusting to life at home, like a lot of other people. There is so much more for me to worry about now: who is going to hire me at a time when companies are letting go of people? Where will I be in the next few months? How can I stay focused on my studies during a pandemic? Why bother with my own issues when I could be out there helping other people? It was all a lot to confront and it became very easy to let the weight of the world land on my shoulders. I very quickly realized I needed an outlet, and for some reason that has almost always been music and writing.
I’m going to try and keep doing this newsletter, semi-regularly, through all this. It’s going to look a little different, and maybe get a bit more personal, but it’s really the best way I know of to distract myself. It also makes me feel a bit more like I’m not alone? If you’re reading this, I hope you know you aren’t alone.
All I can say right now is that while I miss life before COVID-19 (not to be dramatic), I really don’t want things to go back to the way they were. Clearly that is very unsustainable, and I think we have a lot to learn about how our current system fails so many people. Artists can’t afford to make most of their money off of touring, that definitely needs to change. You know that cultural shift meme? We’re in the middle of one, and probably the only thing getting me through this is the idea that we are at a unique moment where we can decide what our future will look like. There is so much possibility for our future, which is weird because I spent the last week feeling like I just lost mine. I just hope that our imaginations are radical enough for us all.
Enough monologuing, let’s talk about what you can expect from this newsletter going forward. Obviously, upcoming shows is nixed for the foreseeable future. Oh My Rockness has a pretty cool live-stream calendar, and if I had the resources and the self-control to not let my internet usage turn cataloging live streams into a news spiral, I would try to do the same. For now, I’m going to be posting any live-streams I see onto my Stories on Instagram (@shortattheshow). Stay posted there.
No more last minute tickets for now, but just about everything else will stay the same! I’m still writing, and I have a ton of articles that have gone up and will go up in the next few weeks (check out what I’ve done below!). I’m going to keep this very music-centered still, but if you can’t deal with reading this right now please feel free to just delete these as they make it to your inbox. Do what’s right for yourself right now, and please feel free to reach out if you need someone to talk to. It’s always the first step that’s hardest, but I swear you’ll feel better after talking it through.
in my queue 🎶
In the world where COVID-19 never spread this fast and the U.S. had the right infrastructure (and president) to deal with it, I would’ve recommended the following two songs. To be honest though, I’ve been listening to a lot of angry/aggressive music because I’d rather be enraged than distraught. Maybe I’ll share some of those songs next week.
You know what’s fun? Lynks Afrikka has committed to writing and releasing a song and video a day while self-isolating. You can follow along with their SELF ISOLATION TAPES on Instagram.
what i’ve written📝
I wrote/had a lot published this past week. Some of the articles I wrote for the AdHoc zine are now out online! Because I was writing so much I was not reading. I have a huge list of articles I want to check out though, and more time do so! But for now, here’s some reading for you:
You ever emerge from a conversation feeling smarter than you were before? Knowledge bombs were dropped, and some of them made the cut! Really inspired by this interview, and whether intentional or not it made me want to want to be a life-long learner and nurture my curiosity more. Their album is out now!
I got to talk to Tall Juan about Far Rockaways, an area that I admittedly know too little about. But it’s in Queens, so I already knew it was going to be great, and Juan was kind enough to tell me more about the place he calls home. Maybe we should all do a beach trip once self-isolation is over? We also went on a tangent about Alpha Donuts that didn’t make it into the article.
I would say that Model/Actriz is one of those acts that really tests the boundary between performance art and a punk show. Really sad you can’t see them perform in person, but their new track does manage to capture some of that live energy. Also, it’s a very timely track about the apocalypse. While you dig into “Suntan,” also check out the playlist they made for AdHoc.
I interviewed Raveena back in February (remember that?) and we spoke about love, strength, and the future. We are both soft-spoken, but she came off as very self-assured. Loved writing this article and reflecting on growth and self-love—this interview with Raveena is a bright spot during these dark times.
I channeled all my energy into this piece this week. I’m going to be doing a lot more community-focused articles (including a list of various ways you can support artists and venues). For now, I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to uplift the voices of artists whose tours have been impacted by COVID-19 related closures and cancellations. Click through for an overview of how the touring industry has been impacted, what governments are doing to support (or not) the arts, and how artists are responding to these recent developments.
The question this week is:
What music is getting you through self-isolation?
Comment on the thread here. I’ll start, so find my answer there :)
Nothing here right now, but I’m hoping to take this forced time at home to explore music I usually wouldn’t listen to. I’ve got a quickly growing list of albums that I’m going to try and listen to and absorb while self-isolating. Want to follow along? Next week I’m going to listen to Every Bad by Porridge Radio, in full with no stopping, for the first time. I have been putting it off because I wanted to listen to it intentionally rather than casually, and I didn’t have the headspace to do that last week.
I was thinking about doing a listening session where we could all listen to it together and debrief together, but I don’t really think the demand is there? Anyways, my thoughts will go here—mostly free-form and unedited.
I also want to float the idea again of people (you, my lovely subscribers) writing about shows for this section. Want to reminisce about a favorite show or talk about what live music means to you/why you miss it? Feel free to email me by replying to this newsletter.
Seriously hope everyone is doing well and staying safe inside. Please take public health advisories seriously and stay indoors to help protect yourself and others. This thing is extremely viral, and it’s showing us how important it is to be collectively minded. We can’t act selfishly and get through this crisis, we will only get through this as a community. Look out for each other, wash your hands, and stay inside as much as you can.