Bands across the country are coping with Coronavirus mandates. One award-winning band in Michigan got creative in a new kind of way.
An email from Paradise Outlaw guitarist and vocalist Kevin Langeland summed up what so many indie musicians are experiencing right now—“Bars are shut down—again.” Langeland, like others, misses performing and practicing. Undaunted, Langeland poured his heart into a new solo song. Then his girlfriend inspired a new idea.
That idea is a ‘Traveling Road Show’.
Paradise Outlaw is based in Michigan, and they have a loyal fan base. The band won the B93 (WBCT) Battle to the Bash celebration in Grand Rapids, Michigan. WBCT is the most powerful radio station in North America. The competition was stiff, replete with talented musicians.
Michigan still has a number of restrictions in place, including some that make it possible for musicians to only play outside. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people, according to a roundup of states at AARP. Langeland and others have complied. “I personally haven’t been doing much different to deal with the virus…just waiting for the powers that be to let us make our own decisions again.”
The Coronavirus has dealt indie musicians a severe blow. In Grand Rapids, said Kevin, “No music has been played inside since March 1, I think. It’s terrible.” Necessity is often the mother of invention, and that’s how the band came up with their Traveling Road Show idea.
Langeland organized a tour. “We’re going to play on a flat bed at five different locations around the town on July 18.” The band will perform at all those locations on a flatbed trailer. The trailer will serve as stage, complete with sound equipment. This will be the band’s first performance since lockdowns began. “We played our last show months ago, and it’s been about as long since we’ve even all practiced together.”
There was a silver lining. Langeland said he used the downtime to “work on writing some new songs—some for the band, some as ‘mine’.” The new song is titled, “Give Me the Word.” Langeland said the song “came together real quickly one night when tapping into the idea of just wanting to sit at the bar with some friends and hang out.” He explained, “That’s something we used to not even think about. So I tried to reflect that in the lyrics. I thought since the song was specific to the times, I’d go ahead and try to record it.”
Paradise Outlaw will rock around Grand Rapids, Michigan on July 18. Their Traveling Road Show begins at Depot Café in Marne at 12:30 PM. All the locations are listed on the band’s Facebook page where the band announced:
“We will be playing roughly a 30 minute set at five different locations throughout the day and everyone is invited! So come out and see us, enjoy the fresh air, and get excited for a live show again!”
While these are dark times for indie musicians, the Coronavirus protocol has also led to creative takes on performing and composing. Indie Art South commends Paradise Outlaw for making the best of a bad situation, and for keeping the music going.
Hat tip to Langeland for a new song that says what so many of us feel, and to all the band members for taking their show into the community while abiding by government mandates.
(Kay B. Day/July 13, 2020)