How does Stillhouse Junkies fiddle player Alissa Wolf feel about the onset of winter and COVID-19 effectively sending live music back into the digital realm?
“It sucks,” she says.
That said, the Durango-based progressive string band is making the best of the situation, creating a digital space not just for it to play but to introduce other bands as well.
Sidecar: An Online Concert Series is an eight-part bi-monthly live show. Its first show is Nov. 21 and it will run on Saturdays through February. The series will use Side Door, a Zoom-based streaming service that allows bands to interact directly with their audience – they might be able to see or hear applause and people’s faces instead of just playing into the void, hoping that someone is watching. Like an in-person show, audience members can see each other, watch people dancing, or check out what people are wearing. Interesting concerts and the like can also be highlighted.
The Stillhouse Junkies will act as emcees for all eight concerts, but won’t always be featured musically. Each 2-hour show will have two headlining acts with a third, 20-minute “tweener” set in between, said Junkies guitarist Fred Kosak. The Nov. 21 show will feature The Stillhouse Junkies and Boulder-based bluegrass band Bowregard, with a tweener by Brendan Shafer and Tony Holmquist of the Six Dollar String Band. The lineup for each concert in the series will be announced at the end of the previous one. While the first show is entirely Colorado-based, subsequent concerts may not be.
“One of the things we really wanted to do is get a broad representation from the East Coast, the Midwest, the Front Range — we don’t want to limit it just to Colorado bands; we want to look at bringing people in from all over the country,” Wolf said. “Part of the idea of this festival is to provide something exciting for the audience members, but also provide support for bands across the country as much as we can. We want to spread the love.”
Kosak said the series will feature over 20 acts, including some exciting bands that would likely be otherwise unbookable outside of the current situation the country is in, but didn’t name any names.
“We definitely have a few bands that are kind of like reaches,” he said.
The “Sidecar” name for the series was chosen because it evokes the cocktail and the Stillhouse Junkies’ speakeasy vibe and distillery roots, said bassist Cody Tinnin. When warm weather returns (and the pandemic ends?), the band hopes to transition the series into an in-person festival.
In the meantime, the cost of each ticket for the online series is $20 and can be purchased on the Stillhouse Junkies’ website. If you happen to own a local business, the band is actively seeking sponsors for the online series.
If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the Junkies — they’re one of the few local bands that have stayed as engaged during the pandemic as they would have in a normal year — check out their new music video, “Mountains of New Mexico.” The video was filmed in the Land of Enchantment in August and released on Nov. 12.