DENVER (CBS4)– Things are unusually discordant in Nikki Giron’s apartment. Her saxophone has been knocked out of key.
“I wanted to play sax, but she’s out of commission right now,” she said as she spoke with CBS4’s Alan Gionet over Zoom.
Getting it fixed is not in the cards right now, but she’s still playing sax a bit as well as keyboards, but there’s really no one to listen.
“It’s definitely not quite the same because you can’t see people and you don’t have that same like energetic connection,” she mused.
Nikki is making a few bucks here and there with social media work, but her income’s down. She misses the money of the weekend gigs.
“Not really being able to do that in person has definitely been hard.”
Chris Daniels is in the same boat. Decades of music and performances and now he’s spending a lot of time at home.
“The downtime has been really good for the chops. Everybody has been practicing.”
He’s figuring out how to get music out virtually. Chris Daniels and the Kings are well established.
“We’re established and we’ve got a built in following that’s been with us for a long time and they’ll be there as we come out of this.”
Daniels knows the music business well — and even teaches it.
“The people I’ve talked to in the industry are talking about ways, just like restaurants, of getting the social distancing within that venue. How make it work monetarily is going to be difficult.”
Some local venues like Live @ Jacks won’t re-open.
“The supply and demand is still there,” explained Christopher Thomas, head talent buyer at Herman’s Hideaway. “It will look different. It’s a different landscape.”
The bar is still closed. They’re hearing there could be a chance to light things up again around Labor Day, but it’s anyone’s guess.
Big concert promoters are shy about commenting because things are changing daily. Big venues like the Mission Ballroom, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater and Red Rocks are quiet and there’s little hope right now, but people are thinking about it.
“Everybody’s in it together. So bands are going to be a little more flexible, the agents are going to be a little more flexible,” said Thomas.
The hardest part for many bands is that with the music going to streaming services, a lot of the financial mix has changed.
“It was an entire paradigm shift where everybody went from making about 70% of their income from the sale of recordings and publishing,” explained Daniels about the early 2000s. “That’s now basically shifted so that 70% of our income has come in from live performance.”
Not only are the bands and performers hurting, but the roadies and technical people are suffering as well.
The people at Herman’s have no income. They’ve been putting some things online, but they know the experience is in-person. So they’re trying to figure it out.
“We have a big parking lot in the back, we’re thinking about opening access to that,” said general manager Jill Blacksmith. “We have an entrance back there and we can always have people standing back there we could have TVs out there, music streaming out there. … We could still do that outside and then have a few people inside.”
They will have to get help from people, too. Bartenders can’t be stuck enforcing rules.
“You put a whole bunch of people in a bar having a good time having a beer,” noted Daniels, “You know they tend to want to get up and dance and there’s no 6 feet apart in dancing.”
For acts trying to make a mark like Nikki, the hiatus damages her chances to get her music in front of people and connect with them.
“You know that one person wants to come up and talk to you really bad about you know the song that reminded them about this time.”
It’s making it harder, but no one thinks that live music will die.
“People want and need this section of their lives,” said Blacksmith.
If you want a real sign that things are opening again, it will be a live band.
“The feeling like, we’re back to normal,” observed Daniels, “Is, ‘Hey we went out and saw Chris Daniels and the Kings,’ what a great feeling that will be.”
Saturday night CBS4 will broadcast a benefit for musicians and their crews. It will include some great bands.
If you have a Good Question for CBS4’s Alan Gionet, you can email it to email@example.com or post them to CBS4’s social media sites with the hashtag #4GoodQuestion. He will try to report on as many as he can.