With the arrival of a global pandemic and the transition into virtual classes, live music might seem like a thing of the past. However, Columbia’s music scene has made efforts so that live music will persevere.
Although major venues such as Carolina Coliseum had no choice but to halt its live performances, local venues such as New Brookland Tavern and other creative outlets are keeping the scene alive.
Third-year journalism student Carson Peaden attended a show at New Brookland Tavern on Jan. 29 to see a mutual friend perform.
Peaden said she felt comfortable the whole time she was at the show because the people around her had their masks on except for when they were drinking. However, Peaden said that, just like everyone else, she misses what shows were like pre-COVID.
“Even though I had a really good time, it was just constantly in the back of my head that like, this is different,” Peaden said.
Fourth-year entrepreneurial management and finance student Louis Rubino (Bear Ley) has been performing at New Brookland Tavern since his first year at USC and was performing the night that Peaden attended the show. He agrees there is a change in the atmosphere.
“It's like the difference between, basically, the vibe of a restaurant with live music and a music venue,” Rubino said.
Rubino said this is because New Brookland Tavern only has seated shows so people aren't packed into the venue. He said the venue did a good job of transitioning into this restaurant-like vibe because of how good their food is.
Both Peaden and Rubino said it is important to support local artists and venues during this time.
“Artists are really struggling right now,” Peaden said. “It's just very hard to do live shows and live performances, so if there's a way I can safely support that, then I will.”
Rubino said venues such as New Brookland Tavern still have to pay the rent and taxes despite working around COVID-19 barriers, so it’s up to the public to support them so they can stick around.
However, even with COVID-19 protocols, some might still be hesitant to face public crowds to support the live music industry. Luckily enough, Columbia’s Digital House Show “At The Addition” has a solution for this issue.
At the Addition is a bi-monthly high-quality live stream run by USC alumni that showcases local and regional bands and artists.
“We get bands to come in, they play a set, in between the set we interview them, talk to them, get to know them as a band and then we wrap, and that's kind of the format of the show,” executive producer Austin Syms said.
Meg Southern, who serves as the on-air host for "At The Addition," said the goal is for bands to come in and not have to worry about the video or audio quality or any other technical issue of the live stream.
Southern said the idea for this digital house show came when bands all over town started having to cancel their shows due to the pandemic, and many bands were struggling with managing their own live stream.
“It felt a little selfish to not do it like, okay, we have the setup and we have the people. We should be offering this help to other people in town,” Southern said.
Southern said even after the pandemic, she thinks live streaming will continue, not because it can replace in-house live music, “but because it offers something slightly different with its own set of benefits and opportunities that aren't available to you in-person.”
Some of these benefits are that with live stream shows, the weather is not an issue, as it would be for many outdoor or in-person shows, and access barriers such as cost and transportation are knocked down with live-streamed shows.
"At The Addition" goes live every other Sunday on Twitch.