COVID-19 has had a huge impact on every aspect of life, and has completely put a halt to all live music shows. Artists have found a way around this though, and numerous singers and musicians have hosted livestreams on their social media accounts of full-length performances. We’ve put together a short list of our favourite recent livestreams as we reminisce the wonderful nature of live shows.
Orla Gartland is an Irish singer songwriter currently holed up in London, with quirky lyrics about ‘Grand Designs’ and dogs, and an awesome indie sound. Oh, and she’s also 100% your next musical girl crush.
Like many artists right now, Orla Gartland has been doing an awesome set of online livestreams: The Indoor Season tour, having just released her edgy and fresh new EP ‘Freckle Season’. I was meant to be seeing her with Cavetown in Munich in a week or so, and since I no longer can go, I have been religiously watching her livestreams.
With breaks for feedback from her hordes of Twitter fans, promotion of her Patreon and requests, these live streams are so awesome and give a real sense of just sitting and listening to a mate jam. Personal favourite tracks from her AM (because it was for Australian time) livestream last week was ‘oh GOD’, her catchy, sassy and incredibly sexy new song. Her style has changed so much since her earlier stuff (that 14 year old me used to listen to religiously), and her sound has morphed into a heady combination of wit, bold chords and finely tuned, rough and ready production.
Keep an eye on her twitter for more livestreams and more excellent twitter content like this:
I saw you across a crowded zoom
— orla gartland ???? (@orlagartland) April 6, 2020
When it comes to live music, in my eyes there is nobody who does it better than Hozier. When I wrote my Live Act In Focus piece many moons ago, I applauded the talent of the seven incredible musicians who usually accompany Andrew Hozier-Byrne on stage, but with social distancing restrictions in place, the three fundraising livestreams he has done so far have been remarkably different. In the first two, he was accompanied by longtime friend and collaborator Alex Ryan, and in the third, he was by himself. The first, which was in aid of the WHO-Global Citizen ‘Together At Home’ project, saw the two of them play some of his biggest hits, such as ‘Take Me To Church’ and ‘Work Song’, stripped back to just a guitar, a piano, and their vocals. A particular highlight was ‘From Eden’, an ethereal rendition to which the birds started singing their evening chorus. However, the most interesting aspect of these streams is his choices of covers. He truly does listen to his fans’ suggestions, and so for his first stream, he sang a traditional Irish ballad and – wait for it – ‘Toxic’ by Britney Spears. It sounds like it shouldn’t work, but it transformed a noughties dancefloor bop into a beautiful chilled-out acoustic track. The following week, he was at it again, this time playing ‘Lovers In A Dangerous Time’ by Bruce Cockburn, ‘Sweet Thing’ by Van Morrison and ‘Cosmic Love’ by Florence & The Machine, and this week in his stream for the Downtown Women’s Centre, he paid tribute to the late Bill Withers with a touching rendition of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’. He puts so much heart and soul into every song he sings, whether his own or not, and it has been a luxury to dedicate half an hour or so of the last three Friday evenings to listen to him. There is a plethora of incredible work going on across the world of entertainment in terms of online content, and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve watched so far, but I have to say Hozier has been my favourite. I very much hope that this new Friday night tradition can continue as a bit of light relief in these difficult times, and I can’t wait to hear what he’s going to sing next.
Mahogany host numerous artist each day on their Instagram, and on Thursday, April 3rd, we were lucky to hear the gorgeous vocals of Alex Vargas. He delivered not only perfect tunes, but also perfect comedy, where the isolation madness really seems to have hit him. Playing around with a light bulb, he joked about how this isolation thing had gone on for far too long now. Later, he struggled to pin a comment on Instagram and it dawned on him that over 400 people were watching his technical inabilites. Besides these humourous moments, Vargas delivered the best hits. Singing ‘Cohere’ from his first album, with hundreds of comments pouring in, Vargas seemed completely in his element. Finally, he had two songs to choose between to play – ‘Shackled Up’ or ‘Solid Ground’. This was the first livestream I had seen where he actually followed the suggestions from comments, playing ‘Shackled Up’ because he saw the name pop up a few times in the comments. It was a beautiful performance, with his incredible vocals shining through. He concluded his livestream awkwardly, as he admitted that he just wanted to read the comments and not leave, and asked for questions instead of concluding. Finally, concluding with a heartfelt comment on the current situation, he admits how difficult he found staying inside and wished us all to keep in contact with one another. A memorable comment was his “stay positive, stay safe, stay the fuck away from my grandparents”. Hopefully we will be graced with another Alex Vargas livestream soon!