For the Record: An alternative to live concerts

Audrey Morrison and Megan Clinton

record player
In For The Record, Audrey Morrison talks new albums, concerts, and more. (Graphic by Ellen Chadwick)

Concerts have had to adapt along with many other activities that involve large amounts of people gathering. Some bands have opted for a safe alternative to in person concerts with a fun and unique virtual experience.

I attended a concert by a favorite band of mine, The Wallows. The band hosted four virtual concerts in August and September. Each ticket costs about $16 per person. The proceeds went to the band and funded the rental of the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles where they performed. The first concert was by far the best as the Wallows played their album, “Nothing Happens,” in full. 

The virtual concert experience isn’t nearly as intimate and outrageous as an in person concert, but it is a great safe alternative. It is more fun if you can do it outside and watch it on a projector with your friends (socially distanced of course!)

After going to my first live Wallows concert this February, I was blown away. While the visuals were subpar, and the openers were incredibly lackluster, the Wallows performed with astonishing dynamism. This workmanship carried on into their virtual concerts. Regardless of an active audience, the band was energetic and responsive. They took special care to include songs that fans had voted for previous to the concert, creating a way for people to interact with the members and create a fun, down to earth atmosphere.

Each concert starts off with a 30 minute livestream where members of the band: Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters, and Cole Preston answer some of their fan’s dire questions.

concert on a screen outside
The Wallows performed a virtual concert, which fans could watch in their own homes or even project onto screens in backyards. (Photo by Megan Clinton)

The highlights of the night were the songs “Pleaser” and “Are You Bored Yet”. The only parts I might have changed during the set would be to include featuring artists like Clairo in their performance. With social distancing, it’s certainly harder to include people from outside of the band, but maybe instead of streaming at a live venue they could do a Zoom call with other artists. This would be more technologically difficult, but I believe that the fans would appreciate it all the more. As much as we love hearing the same EP and LP, it would be great to hear more covers and new music with different musicians. 

Quarantine has brought a lull into my life, which I’m sure most can relate to, but I found that the virtual concerts were a much needed break from ordinary. It’s so easy to fall into a rut when you’re cooped up at home, but the Wallows (and many other bands) provide a solution. Try one out, you might just love it.