“I am very unhappy that the show with Body Count this weekend was postponed by Governor Cuomo,” Harley Flanagan, frontman for legendary NYHC pioneers the Cro-Mags stated upon announcing the live stream of their postponed concert with Body Count at the Webster Hall. This type of live performance has become the new norm, with numerous tours being delayed or canceled due to pandemic restrictions. But this is an example of the kind of innovative spirit punk rock embodies. Just because the show didn’t happen as planned, they adapted and put on a lively 45 minute set with all the typical intensity of a Cro Mags show. This is just one example of the shift in the way artists and their fans connect these days and the importance of technology, allowing us to have these experiences even if we are social distancing.
While it may not have had the visceral punch of a live Cro Mags show it did illustrate one thing clearly, we need to improvise in these times to find solutions to keep communities connected, and these streamed performances still give people a connection knowing they’re all watching a live event, in real-time together. The concert jokingly referred to as “The Age of Quarantine” about their 1986 debut “The Age of Quarrel,” opened just as the album with “We Gotta Know” and ended appropriately with “Apocalypse Now” and made the band’s lyrical content as relevant now as it was in 1986.
Flanagan went on to say, “I was really looking forward to it, but I am more sad for the many people who are going to be out of work for who knows how long, and for those who have become ill from this terrible disease. We all must take extra precautions these days, but we will learn how to deal with this like we have learned how to deal with deadly diseases in the past. Be safe, be strong, and be smart. The show will be rescheduled, and life will go on.”
And it’s true, the show will go on, and audiences have been enjoying podcasts and live streams more recently due to the self-distancing guidelines. Another unintended outcome is during quarantine, many people found themselves with the time to start working on their own podcast or creative projects, so who knows, maybe we can build something positive out of all of this after all.