The State of Local Music


Nick Polidor performs with his band Alright Thanks. Photo courtesy of Nick Polidor.

Lorenzo DeMalia-

It’s been almost a full calendar year since the world went into lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people and businesses have lost their livelihoods, and society has had to adapt to a new world. 

One subset of people who were impacted by the pandemic are local musicians, and local music as a whole. The backbone of small bands has always been live shows, as it’s one of the key ways to build a fan base. Without live shows musicians have been forced to adapt, and attempt to find new ways to share their art with the masses. 

It’s never been easier to create high quality music from the comfort of your home then it is today. With the advancement in technology and audio editing softwares such as Garageband, musicians have been able to create high quality music on a budget. The rise of “bedroom artists” has been on full display during the pandemic. With bands unable to meet due to COVID restrictions, it’s giving them more time to focus on their art. 

Local musician and Fitchburg State graduate Nick Polidor shared some insights into the life of a musician during lockdown. He noted live streams as being a supplement to playing live shows, although they are not entirely the same. As well as the struggle his band, Alright Thanks, has had rehearsing, with them only meeting up a few times since the pandemic began. Polidor said, “I’ve seen what I’ve been able to accomplish without the excuse of  I’m too busy to write or play music.” 

While there are certainly some positives that can be taken away from the increased isolation time, local music venues have been struggling to stay afloat the past year. Local Venues such as Great Scott’s in Allston and ONCE in Sommerville have gone out of business during the pandemic to the dismay of many small bands. These businesses served as a platform for bands to reach new audiences, the impact of not having them around anymore remains unclear.

Although the current state of local music is grim, artists have done their best to remain optimistic about the future. There is no clear timeline when live shows will be able to return, but there is hope among bands and fans alike that the community will bounce back in a positive direction. 

“I am optimistic, I think once live shows start up again we’re going to see so many new artists and artists that haven’t been around in a long time come back into the live scene,” Said Polidor.“ A lot of people in bands that I know have been releasing music under solo projects and I think it’s really cool that music hasn’t stopped entirely.”