In many ways, 2020 was to be the year where the plans we all had would lead to extraordinary new things. However, the year had other plans. Amid the waning antics from the worst president in US history and a raging pandemic, we saw all artists get punished by tours cancelling and independently owned live music venues closing. Without any aid to the venues and artists, we teamed up with Wonky Power to create a seven day live-stream benefit to help both artists and venues called Benefit Week. With twenty-two acts like Hayes Carll, Narrow Head, Fat Tony, Kam Franklin, El Lago and B L A C K I E to name a few, we raised a good amount of money in a short time. All of the benefiting venues are still open to date we’re proud to say.
After being re-energized and revitalized, we’re ready to continue to build on the music community while trying new things for the better. Benefit Week was just the beginning, believing that true change comes from teams of people working together to create something new and exciting. The first step is to change how we experience live music until it’s safe to do so otherwise. The incredible team at Wonky Power came up with an idea like nothing we’d seen before. A live in-person live-stream event. Two concerts a month, socially distanced with a limited capacity that can be viewed in person via live-stream while the band plays on-site in their studio, or it can be viewed via live-stream on social media platforms. If fans can afford to pay then they can go to Wonky Power Live to support through a pay what you can model. If they can’t afford to attend, they can still see the show from the comfort of their own homes. All shows will be ultra limited capacity with social distancing and mask wearing protocols in place.
Opening the concert series is an artist who defines the diversity of the Houston music community. Aside from the fact that Nick Gaitan once shared the Late Show with David Letterman stage with Billy Joe Shaver and Willie Nelson, the artist has covered a lot of ground in a short time. Starting with time in the ska punk group Los Skarnales before performing with rockabilly outfit The Octanes, Gaitan has lent his skills as a touring member for artists like Billy Joe Shaver and Nikki Hill. He’s toured the globe and brought his big sound to anyone who will hear it. In his solo pursuits he brings a mixture of blues, swamp pop, roots rock and Texas Conjunto as well as being one of the best performers to call the Bayou City home. Gaitan will kick off the music series on January 15.
Rounding out the month will be indie rock and shoegaze touched group Velveteen Echo. The intertwined and melodic sounds of the band are a Houston favorite. With two EP’s out in the world and their upcoming full length in the can, there’s a good chance that attendees and viewers might hear new music from the four piece. Intermingling sounds that ring between Pixies and Mazzy Star, the band brings more than enough indie rock tone to compliment the airy vocals of singer Lauren Massa. Their live sets are as immersive as they are impressive and we can’t wait to get them into the Wonky Power studios for their set on January 29.
We just want live music back and with this partnership we hope we can help ring in its return in the safest way possible for those who can attend and for those who will be on hand in spirit. The live performances will be bookmarked with interviews as well as questions from the audience making it a truly unique experience that only a place as diligent and inventive as Houston could bring. Join us. Let’s forget about the pain of 2020 and celebrate the hope of 2021, together.
The Wonky Power Live Series begins on January 15 with a performance from Nick Gaitan. Tickets and all relevant information is provided here. Velveteen Echo will perform on January 29 to round out the month and all information and ticketing links are available here.