Ever since the start of the pandemic, smaller to mid size music venues across the country have been facing the danger of closing down. (Just this week Port City Music Hall, in Portland, Maine, announced their permanent closing). In the meantime, many venues are doing what they can to stay afloat, such as hosting much smaller attended, distanced music performances as well as hosting livestreamed shows over the internet.
Recently, downtown New Haven music venue Pacific Standard Tavern has been hosting virtual concerts in their intimate performance space and streaming them live on their Facebook page. The artists involved have been taking tips and donations sent in full to the venue, as a means to help cover the small club’s costs while it is unable to host music fans in its usual manner.
Last night, the venue hosted a livestream supergroup show featuring bassist Luke Bemand of Lespecial, guitarist Ryan Liatsis of Shiwzz, and drummer Jeff Mann of Consider The Source. The trio performed a single set of all improvised music that ran just under two hours and was livestreamed on FaceBook, and hundreds tuned in to watch. “Independent music venues need our help more than ever,” Bemand wrote on his Facebook page just before the show. “It’s heartbreaking to see these champions of live, original music close their doors. But not without a fight. Let’s go ham and lift each other up.”
The trio’s improvised set was a special, one-of-a-kind live offering, hitting a variety of musical styles and showcasing each of the three member’s skills. Bemand, bringing into the set some of the hip hop influence that has helped diversify the Lespecial sound of late, held the set’s kick off, and other moments of the show, at bop-friendly, uptempo grooves. Liatsis, who just recently put out a new studio album with his musical project Shwizz called Big Things (check out our album review here), combed the depths of the sonic ocean with some truly hefty, cosmic guitar sounds. Mann powered the whole deal on his drum kit with the impressive force and precision he puts behind the lethal, psychedelic prog jams of Consider The Source.
“Thanks, that was “Smoove” by Santana,” joked the band half way into the their set. While the show was completely improvised end to end, the trio’s live experimentation did find its way into one particular rework of a classic hit, with a gracefully handled jam on Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” coming in towards the end of the evening.
Stream the entire show from Pacific Standard Tavern here below via the video hosted last night on their official FaceBook (the show starts at 8:30 minutes in). For more information, head to their page here.