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SLO area musicians face wave of cancellations amid coronavirus, take concerts online

Posted at 8:01 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 11:02:05-04

Music can punctuate the good and bad times in our lives but for Central Coast musicians who are now seeing blank spaces on their once full calendars, this time of isolation is especially difficult.

Playing live music for an audience is what makes Che Miller, a Shell Beach musician, feel good.

"The best feeling, " Miller, the lead vocalist of The Mother Corn Shuckers, said. "Seeing happy, smiling, dancing faces."

The Mother Corn Shuckers perform up and down California, including San Luis Obispo's concerts in the plaza.

But since the outbreak of coronavirus and resulting closures of bars and community events, Miller's once busy schedule has fallen flat.

"I just lost another one this morning," Miller said.

Luckily for Miller, music is a second source of income. But members of the band B and the Hive play for a paycheck.

"We're giggin', you know, three, four, five, sometimes every day of the week," B and the Hive bassist Josh Barrett said. "And tours, everything, all that got canceled."

With this sudden unexpected booking blackout, these bands are taking their show to the web.

SLO based Bear Market Riot, which has seen about 20 of its shows postponed or canceled due to the virus, said they're trying to figure out how to perform more live stream concerts while being mindful of the social distancing guidelines.

B and the Hive and The Mother Corn Shuckers are performing live stream shows with only a fraction of their usual band members but so far, the virtual performances have been successful.

"We've had a lot of people tuning in," Barrett said. "All the comments brought a huge smile to our faces to be able to reconnect with some of our fans."

"It's relaxed, play a few songs, play like a half hour," Miller said. "Everyone's feedback is great, they're looking forward to it every Sunday."

Though an eerie silence now fills our local watering holes, music makers know song can keep us in sync.

"How much people come together as a community and connect thru music is still alive," B and the Hive lead vocalist Brianna Lee said. "The spirit of that is still alive whether we can be in the same room or not."

Bear Market Riot is hosting a live stream show on Wednesday with all donations benefiting RISE, a San Luis Obispo County nonprofit that helps survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence.

A website called Big, Big SLO is a great place to find live streams for all your favorite local bands. The site even hosts virtual house parties.