Arts 2 life
2020 has been a challenging year for many people, but the live music scene and independent musicians have been extremely hard hit. Normal gigs, concerts & festivals had to be cancelled or postponed and venues were closed. Even busking was not allowed during the two periods of lockdown. The first lockdown occurred during the spring and early summer, the second started 5 November 2020.
After the government allowed pubs, cafes and restaurants to reopen (albeit with severe restrictions) in early July, some live music was allowed, firstly out doors, but later on indoor shows with reduced capacity, seating only occured.
I started to support my own independent music community and attended several local open mic evenings. The first shows occured during the balmy summer evenings in late July, August & early September. I attended indoor open-mic evenings upto the end of October 2020.
However an opportunity arose in the autumn, the first Arts 2 life showcase in Hallpass, Bristol on 7th October. Arts 2 life is a non-profit organisation based in Bristol. The manager-director is Daniel W Starr. Arts 2 life have been hosting showcase gigs monthly for a number of years focussing on unsigned musicians. My first Arts 2 life experience was an evening in Bristol in 2018, when Molly-Anne invited me to attend. Like all other shows Arts 2 life were unable to showcase live music in-person but continued to host on line showcases from the Arts 2 Life Facebook page.
On October 7th I also was able to meet Louisa Maria who also lives in Bristol and we were also able to talk about our independent music appreciation project.
The gig started at 6.30pm. The government had imposed a 10pm curfew for pubs. Daniel had arranged for five local artists to play short sets.
Em is the "stage name" for a singer-songwriter Emma Webb, who is also a pianist & guitarist.
Based in Bristol. Em has an eclectic taste in music. Her influences include 1990s musicians. In 2020 Em has released 3 singles including her current single "Staying too long in the sun"
"Somebody you love" (Lewis Capaldi)
"Stay (I missed you)" (Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories)
"A million miles away"
"Don't kill my vibe" (Sigrid)
"Staying too long in the sun" (Em's current single)
Rachel Phox is no stranger to me as she played a set at the previous Arts 2 Life showcase I attended in August 2018. Rachel is superb on electric guitar, and has written some amazing & personal songs. Rachel was born and raised in London. Rachel moved to Bristol and has been seen busking on the streets of Bristol. Her set for the October was a mixture of her original songs and a few covers.
Rachel's set was:-
"Dangerous woman" (Arienne Grande)
"Just for show"
"Sex and candy"
"And I wake up" (Amy Winehouse)
"Crazy" (Gnarls Barkley)
Kirstie like Rachel is no stranger to Arts 2 Life as she has appeared before. Her heartfelt set this evening included a Paramore cover ("In case your heart breaks") and a new song, still untitled.
I-Sha-Vii is the stage name of hippie and travelling minstrel Nina. Her set was electic & very interesting. The set included original songs and covers of jazz, country and rock-a-billy classic songs. I-Sha-Vii is also a part of a band Amun-Ramen
"If I want"
"I forgot to remember to forget"
"The Montpellier song"
"Let's get naked" (an original)
"Blue moon" (in the style of Elvis Presley)
"Just because I'm a woman" (Dolly Parton)
"Loving you" (Elvis Presley)
"Leave just as I can" Dolly Parton
Craig and Alex Preddice
Brothers from Somerset Craig and Alex closed the showcase with mostly uptempo songs, including well known songs from mega-stars as well as their own songs.