If Adam Weiner is still fully clothed, the Low Cut Connie “Live From South Philly” livestreaming performance must have just begun.
On Saturday night, Weiner and Low Cut Connie guitarist Will Donnelly played their second of three scheduled #TogetherAtHome shows, streamed for free from Weiner’s house on Facebook and Instagram live.
Early on — before ripping up his undershirt, stripping to his skivvies, and throwing on a red robe — Weiner looked deep into the eyes of an iPhone camera and spoke about maintaining human connections during coronavirus self-quarantining.
“We have to be socially distant,” the piano-pounding showman said, after opening with a raucous version of the Rolling Stones’ “Let It Bleed."
“But that doesn’t mean we have to be spiritually distant,” he said, riffing like a rock 'n’ roll preacher. "That doesn’t mean we have to be culturally distant. That doesn’t mean we have to be emotionally distant!”
The music world has been transformed. COVID-19 has meant all concerts, as we previously knew them, have been canceled. And yet, look around on social media. Music is everywhere.
The Low Cut Connie livestreams — there was another one on Monday night — have been wondrously cathartic highlights of a week in which musicians, cut off from fans, began rebuilding that connection with mobile technology.
The new rules have created a new intimacy. Your favorite band isn’t up on stage. They’re in their living rooms, trying to figure out how to cope — and get their music fix — just like you are. Everyone watching has a front-row seat.
On Thursday night, Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion, normally held as a mini-festival adjacent to the likewise canceled South by Southwest fest, was instead presented as a virtual charity benefit with performers playing all over the country.
Ray Benson, the Montgomery County-born Texas cowboy, hosted from Austin. In Hawaii, Paul Simon, wife Edie Brickell, daughter Lulu, and neighbor Woody Harrelson sang the Everly Brothers “All I Have To Do Is Dream.”
Morton, Pa. native Devon Gilfillian wowed with a soulful performance from Nashville. Country singer Margo Price and her husband, Jeremy Ivey, gathered by the piano, checking the baby monitor between songs.
And Philly rocker Kurt Vile performed in Mount Airy, singing about parking problems in “Loading Zones” with one of his similarly long-haired children by his side and a rack of cassette tapes and a Deep Purple album cover on view behind him.
In these early days of social distancing, live stream shows have been plentiful.
Welshman Jon Langford and his punk-country Waco Brothers dressed in hazmat suits and rocked out from Chicago at a Bloodshot Records party on Friday. Philly rocker Tim Showalter — who performs as Strand of Oaks, and now lives in Austin — did a Saturday afternoon hangout. He played electro jams, covered Tom Petty and Big Thief, and his wife, Sue, recommended Karl Ove Knausgaard books.
Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs and Vile joined an Instagram Live show Sunday hosted by Lucius and Courtney Barnett. Former Philadelphia DJ-producer Diplo’s Corona Sabbath set with Canadian singer Rhye on Friday was a gorgeous downtempo affair. And Nashville-based Philly guitarist Ron Gallo is curating a Really Nice Fest series. Check your favorite bands’ social media feeds for details.
All the shows underscore the suddenly urgent need to restore a sense of community among musicians and fans.
Low Cut Connie did it with style on Saturday, digging into the band’s catalog and sampling their upcoming Private Lives album, but also offering a satisfying selection of special treat covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Alex Chilton, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Most fun of all might have been “Islands In The Stream,” a cover of the 1983 hit by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers, the country-pop superstar who died Friday. Weiner began with a “we’re all in this together — though we have to stay apart" pep talk, and then put the message across in the music. “We can ride it together,” he and Donnelly sang, while their fans were surely joining in at home. “We rely on each other.”