Some of us have missed the live music culture. Going to live shows fed our energy and allowed us to get out and release some aggression in many cases. Seeing our friends up on stage and cheering them on was a staple in some of our lives. Packing into small grungy bars and buying overpriced tall boys was something that many of us looked forward to every weekend. We gathered in massive groups shoulder to shoulder, shouting the words to our favorite songs in unison with the band. The swag that you could only get at those specific shows and the intimate settings often meets and hangs out with the performers. Most of the small local bands relied on the sales of that swag and the cover charge we would pay to make it to the next month of paying practice space rent and the cost of making those t-shirts that we love to buy.
Not having these types of events has taken its toll on the local venues also. The people that paid the money for tallboys and strong whiskey and cokes all night vanished when this virus brought our lives to a screeching halt. Many places could not survive the shutdowns. On the other hand, the ones that have poured everything they had into paying rent for a building they couldn’t allow people inside safely. This feeling is something near and dear to the folks of us left at AFK. This reopening is what they have been waiting for for a long time. Now they are setting up to have us back and screaming the lyrics once again.
Going into Phase 3, some of these local venues are already booking shows to get us back in the doors. Still, following safety protocols is a high priority. This means fewer people in places, everyone wearing your mask, and staying 6 feet apart for now. Just because we’re almost turning a corner doesn’t mean we should stop being safe. As we get closer to the summer season, people are going to start getting more restless. The resurgence of local music will be a very welcome return to a bit of normalcy. I know that these bands are itching to get back on stage and entertain us again. Sharing their love for what they create is what drives most of them, and not having that outlet this past year has hit them hard as it has all of us that would fill places to see them.
This week I’ve gone into some of the local places planning having live music again and to learn how they plan to implement the safety protocols and what shows they might have lined up.
The first place that I found was Tony V’s Garage. This venue is located at 1716 Hewitt Ave Everett, WA 98201. They opened for live music in mid-February. The process for keeping the capacity down to 25% is online sales with a limited number of tickets available for purchase. Masks are absolutely mandatory when not seated at your table, and keeping the social distance to 6 feet is strictly enforced. The patrons here have been respectful of the rules, and the shows have been at or close to capacity. These events have been shortened a bit by the mandatory 11 p.m. closing, but they usually run from 7 or 8 until 10:30 p.m.
The second stop for me was the Anchor Pub located at 1001 Hewitt Ave Everett WA 98201. This location is hosting trivia on Tuesdays and an open mic night on Thursdays. Group activities are slowly but surely coming back. They have live music from DJ Fallen and The Jazz Conspiracy scheduled for this month also. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday open at 4 p.m. Sunday they open at 2 p.m. All of the safety practices are closely followed, including masks, distancing, and sanitizing.
As of right now, these are the places that I have found rolling this out.
Phase 3, our capacity caps are at 50% of normal, and many people are just getting back into the swing of things. Our fellow servers and bartenders have adjusted to lower volume crowds while the shutdowns were happening. Be respectful and heed the safety practices to continue to move forward and get back to some semblance of normal. Remember to keep those masks on even when you’re talking to your server/bartender if you’re going out. You might not know it, but we all wish you would. These people are here to ensure that we all have a great time while staying safe. Be gentle to them; You will both appreciate it.