We live in strange times, and strange times call for creative solutions. Everybody has been affected but the coronavirus in one way or another, and for us musicians, it has meant an end to touring and all the financial and promotional complications that come with it. For fans, it has meant an end to memorable nights out with our favourite music. All is not lost, however, as we luckily (depending on your perspective) also live in the time of the internet, meaning musicians have sought to fill the gap by playing live shows across social media platforms. It works better for some than others, and while not replacing the dynamism of a live show, it at least offers us something to enjoy while we rot away at home, trying not to kill each other.
Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz is certainly someone who makes good use of this style of delivery, and I am thoroughly enjoying the second week of Happy Hour with Bill. Using the opportunity to replace one of his cancelled live shows with these intimate performances, he is also donating much of the proceeds to help pay the wages of those working in independent music in his area, and to other worthwhile causes. Certainly a nice touch. Bill Janovitz is a natural entertainer, and it’s almost as enjoyable to watch him mix cocktails as it is to watch him play the songs. But of course, it’s the music that makes all this sitting at home among the crisis feel not quite so bad. Whether it’s the beautiful Overtime and All Be Gone (from the most recent album Quiet and Peace), the superb but rarely heard Bottom of the Rain (Three Easy Pieces), or a rousing version of Your Stripes (from Sleepy Eyed), acoustic songs on a live stream from his house is a warmth we could all do with these days.
This is the second week of the Happy Hour, following on from the success of the previous week. The two hour set tonight is full of gems voted for by fans through an online poll, such as Taillights Fade and Larry. His family jumping in to join in for a chorus of Tangerine the previous week and then again for another rendition of it here were highlights, as was him being joined by his daughter for covers of New Order’s Leave Me Alone, Simon and Garfunkel’s Only Living Boy in New York (also on Quiet and Peace), and the Everly Brothers Let it be Me. Moments like this at least offer us something we would never have got otherwise. Every cloud… These live streams we can all tune into will perhaps never replace what we love so much about live music, but they are a small, welcome Porchlight in the dark. And while times are hard for musicians as their careers temporarily stall, supporting them is something we should all be doing now if we’re able, whether they are in a position to donate earnings or whether they are merely trying to keep themselves afloat.
At the end of tonight’s show, Bill announced that he would probably be doing another one this Saturday. I certainly hope so – at least it makes a Saturday evening somehow feel like it really is a Saturday evening.
Find it on the Buffalo Tom Facebook page: Here
Author: Craggy Collyde