Live music can look a lot different these days, as virtual platforms are serving as a safer alternative to concerts. Columbia’s digital house show 'At the Addition' makes for an experience like no other for both performers and audience members.
“It's a space that's decked out with all the technology and equipment we needed for high quality livestreams,” 'At the Addition' executive producer Austin Syms said.
Syms is a part of a local band called Flippants, and when his band’s shows got canceled due to the pandemic, he made use of the equipment he already owned and started livestreaming their performances.
Since then, Syms said 'At the Addition' has invested in more equipment to make the digital house show more official, and from there, they began evolving and inviting other local bands to perform.
“The idea was that bands get to come in and not worry at all about the video or the audio quality,” on-air host Meg Southern said. “All they have to do is show up and have a good time.”
Southern’s role with 'At the Addition' is to introduce the band to the audience and provide commentary between songs by asking questions that she thinks will showcase the band's personality. She said that in an in-person show setting it might be awkward for a host to come out between songs and ask questions like “If your band is a cocktail, which cocktail would it be?” but virtually, it works well.
Peter Lehman, the lead singer of Les Merry Chevaliers, recently performed at 'At the Addition' with his band and said that as the front man, the responsibility typically falls on him to remember to promote new songs and tell the audience where to find their music. He said that Southern helped him out by asking the band questions which allowed them to promote themselves.
Garrick Turner, the drummer for Les Merry Chevaliers, said their performance with them gave them a high-quality professional band video to include in future press kits. He said this is something that would be helpful for any band.
“It's one of those things that we were — after we were done, we were almost expecting an invoice,” Turner said.
Turner said this is because the services that 'At the Addition' provides are services that typically must be paid for.
The goal for this digital house show service is not only to cater to the bands, but also to the audience.
Southern said that 'At the Addition' has the potential to allow audience members to discover local and regional bands that they may not have ever heard of before, without some of the access barriers that comes with going to an in-person show. These access barriers include arranging how to get to the show, planning who to go to the show with and having the money to pay for a ticket.
For those reasons, Syms and Southern said they believe that 'At the Addition' will be a show that will continue on even after the pandemic.
“I think livestream will continue, like Austin said, even beyond the pandemic, not because it replaces like an in-person experience, but because it offers something slightly different with its own set of benefits and opportunities that aren't available to you in person,” Southern said.
Syms said that when it is safe to do so, he would like for 'At the Addition' to collaborate with other local music venues or have an outdoor space available for a small audience.
Livestreams of 'At the Addition' can be watched every other Sunday starting at 7 p.m. Donation links will be available to help support the performing band and the 'At the Addition' crew.