Music News: Missouri allows concerts to resume, but venues remain closed


The Current Music News for May 4, 2020 (MPR Video)

By law, the state of Missouri is allowing concerts to resume today. There's not even a size theoretically, you could go to see a stadium show tonight as long as the stadium promised to keep you seated six feet away from other concertgoers. You can start to think about how the economics of that would work, but in practice right now it's a moot point, because for now, venues are opting to remain closed.

In some cases, that's because stay-at-home orders remain in place in cities like St. Louis and Kansas City, even as Gov. Mike Parson lifts statewide sheltering orders. Even in cities and towns without their own lockdown orders, it looks like venues are opting to follow that lead and continue sponsoring livestreams instead. St. Louis mayor Lyda Krewson said that when it comes to reopening, "We will continue to be guided by data, not dates." (Billboard)

Widely sampled disco drummer Hamilton Bohannon dies at 78

Hamilton Bohannon has died of as-yet-undetermined causes at age 78. He was an influential drummer who helped popularize the relentless rhythm known as "four on the floor," which became foundational to not only disco but later dance genres like house music.

Growing up in Georgia, Bohannon played with a young Jimi Hendrix and then Stevie Wonder, who brought him to Detroit where he would serve as band director for touring Motown artists. In the '70s he started releasing solo albums that produced disco hits that filled those light-up dance floors and, today, you're most likely to hear sampled by artists like Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, and Digable Planets. (New York Times)

In 1981, Tom Tom Club paid tribute to Bohannon by chanting his name in their hit "Genius of Love."

Boston venue Great Scott closes permanently

Great Scott, a music venue in the Boston neighborhood of Allston, has announced that it will not reopen. In a statement, general manager Tim Philbin wrote, "It is with a heavy heart today that I announce that Great Scott will not reopen. For 44 years Great Scott has provided entertainment and more than a few beverages to a loyal group of customers."

The club, with a capacity of 240, was ranked as one of America's top ten music venues by Consequence of Sound in 2016. Writer Nina Corcoran noted that Great Scott was ahead of the curve nurturing indie acts like Passion Pit, Grimes, and MGMT. Great Scott "carries all the traits of an ace dive bar without the unbearable setbacks," she wrote, "but perhaps Great Scott's best claim to fame is that it's just as good at selling out local bills as it is for national tours."

Met Gala party moves online; and telethon to support NYC

Goodbye, elevator drama: this year's Met Gala is moving online, in the form of a virtual event hosted by Vogue tonight at 5 p.m. CDT. The livestream isn't technically a virtual Met Gala, but the virtual event will benefit both the museum and those in need due to the coronavirus crisis. The event will include a performance by Florence + the Machine and a Cardi B video premiere, as well as a retrospective of previous Met Galas. (Billboard)

A May 11 telethon has also been announced, with Mariah Carey, Sting, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Billy Joel among the artists supporting New Yorkers impacted by the pandemic. Tina Fey will host the hour-long benefit, called Rise Up New York! (Rolling Stone)

Germany tries drive-in raves

Germany has been praised for its aggressive and organized response to COVID-19, and now the Germans are organizing drive-in raves. The DJs and hype people wear masks, and everyone stays in their sealed cars with only two people being permitted per car. DJ Nitefield says the most challenging part of an in-car rave was the call to action: what do you do instead of asking people to throw their arms in the air and scream? Well, they can honk their horns and flash their lights; combined with a full stage setup including flamethrowers, it makes for some of the most surreal scenes to come out of the pandemic. (Mixmag)

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