Online Concerts Bring Comfort, Even if Only Virtually

Usually, the days and weeks surrounding St. Patrick’s Day are cause for great celebration and jubilation, all in the spirit of being Irish—even if you aren’t a drop of Irish. This time of year is also like Christmas for many local Irish pubs and musicians alike. Now, of course, it’s different. Countless watering holes are feeling the effects of closings and cancellations, as are many local musicians and bands who are losing income hand over fist due to canceled gigs.

Some acts, like John Byrne, Jamison, The Shantys and Oakwyn, offered live streaming concerts during St. Patrick’s Week, perhaps to maintain their own sanity and to help bolster the spirits of their fellow humans. Other Philly Irish musicians and bands followed suit, such as Ray Coleman, Neil Mac Thiarnan, Shelly Beard Santore, Brian Patrick McGuire, Shaun Durnin of Galway Guild, Bob Hurst of the Bogside Rogues, Joshua Mateleski of The Natterjacks, Mike LeCompt, Mike and Callie, Megan Glanz of The Natterjacks, Bill Donohue, Jr., Kevin Sullivan, Joe Mullin, and many others, who offered concerts on their various social media pages, with more shows scheduled as the week and quarantine continues.

The Dropkick Murphys, who we have covered extensively over the years, put on a free live streaming concert straight from their hometown of Boston. The two-hour event, filmed from what seemed to be a small club and offered via their website and social media accounts, boasted a steady rate of 130,000 viewers during the entire show. The rockers, some now in their 50s—as front man Ken Casey pointed out—were not short of energy or excitement, even in the absence of a live crowd.

The performance was absolutely everything you would expect from a typical DKM show, and you were drawn in, even though you were watching from a small screen. An interesting twist to this manner of viewing was getting to see the comments from the hundreds of thousands of fans watching from all over the globe. This offered a vastly different sense of community than a live show, but perhaps every bit as visceral, given the strange circumstances we are all in together, no thanks to Covid-19.

During the concert—which included well known DKM tunes, various covers and three brand-new, never heard before songs—the band flashed info on the screen for viewers to donate to The Dropkicks’ charity, The Claddagh Fund, with the funds going to hospital workers and nurses to help shoulder the financial burden thrust upon them by this pandemic. They even created a new T-shirt just for the event, which you can view here. You can also check out NBC News’ reporting, which features some amazing fan videos, here.

These virtual concerts seem to be what everyone, bands and fans alike, need in this era of social distancing. It allows us to remain connected and sane, and provides some semblance of normalcy. Even if experienced in an online manner, the sense of community is still strong with these acts and THAT is what we all need to get through this.

In that spirit of community and normalcy, please check out some of these and other local musicians’ online shows on Facebook or their respective websites as some are providing links to make donations. Many of these musicians are full-time, which means they don’t have sick pay, etc. So, if you have the means, please consider helping them stay afloat as we all ride this out together!

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