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So Near, Yet So Far: Three Cheers for YouTube

Can you think another time in your life where you have been so far from one another, but strangely, the nearest that you have ever felt? This can be said for relationships between us and artists with a public persona where, in many ways, they are pretty much in the same position as us all. It’s tough, and escapism has been needed more than ever, also an appreciation of everything that our creative industries provide through their entertaining efforts. It has brought kindness to the forefront for many.

There have been many offerings ranging from the humble bedroom gig to large-scale premiers and screenings. Sometimes interactive, sometimes live, sometimes recorded, they give the creator a chance to imagine, connect, and let’s face it, provide a bit of old fashioned promotion. You can’t beat our old friend YouTube, especially for a Friday classic gig sesh paired with a glass of chilled wine or where one quick watch of an inane video leads to the next and before you know it’s one in the morning, but now it feels more significant. So with that in mind, here are three events that Darkus has recently relished.

Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert

Although this music documentary wasn’t interactive as such, it held an online premier so viewers from all around the world could experience it at the exact time that the real festival would have commenced, pretty cool. Californian warm vibes were invited into our rooms for this piece, which went back even before the beginning and included never-seen-before and rare footage. Its co-founders, Paul Tollett and Rick Van Santen, talked us through the years and honestly confessed that the first few were far from perfect.

However, they persevered, and thankfully it grew in stature and reputation at a staggeringly quick pace ending up at the current three-day extravaganza. This is held on two consecutive weekends, with the same acts playing at both, meaning more people can join in with the merriment. They should feel mighty proud of how far they have come. It proceeded to interestingly present all the shifts that the musical landscape has taken over time, from rock to hip hop, to electronic to pop. It couldn’t leave out the majestic Daft Punk 2006 Sahara Tent set, where their set design changed live music forever and the strangely eerie yet impressive moment in 2012 where a 3-D hologram was used of deceased rapper Tupac as part of Snoop Dog and Doctor Dre’s set.

In 2018 high praise was received and history made when Beyoncé became the first African-American woman to headline, encompassing many references to her culture, such as black university marching bands. Feminism also played its part with samples of black authors played and a guest appearance from Destiny’s Child. This was contrasted a year later with phenomenon Billie Eilish, who serenely sat on a stool for When the Party’s Over with just the stark music video in the background.

The whole show is a must for festival lovers who will inevitably miss the summer season and especially for those who maybe live far away, and might never visit themselves. But hey never say never, I say! 2020’s festival has been nudged a little to October, but Coachella: 20 Years In The Desert is available to stream on YouTube now. Watch below…

The Strokes: 5guys Talking About Things They Know Nothing About

April 10th saw the 6th LP, The New Abnormal, dropped from Indie favourites The Strokes. You can look at it in two ways: was this unavoidable bad timing or actually a lifeline to many, giving fans a record to immensely look forward to from their heroes? I like to think of the latter. They pressed on, and with TV interviews a no-go, they gave something new a bash themselves, and why not. It’s always has been and always will be about the music for the private quintet and they’re not artists that like a great deal of overexposure, so 5guys Talking About Things They Know Nothing About caused curiosity.

The video conference call was recorded in each of their homes and screened after, giving a natural insight to the band and their friendship. Everything was chill; with no interviewer in sight, the boys were loosely led by Julian, who prepared a question. This led to lots of reminiscing, with humorous tech delays, pauses, interruptions, and the occasional phone dropping. They mused about their error of not securing any footage of their performance with Lou Reed and even had a nice tribute to Bill Withers. It really could have been any group of old pals catching up, chewin the fat about old stories. However, what makes it so interesting is the fact they have had such extraordinary lives. It was funny, self-deprecating, and intimate.

On the day of the album’s release, episode two came along with more of the same. New songs were played, and in-between, tiny nuggets shared about them sprinkled with their personal isolation stories and how they were dealing with things too. The New Abnormal, along with the two episodes, certainly made Easter a lot more palatable. Their charm shines through, and hopefully, there can be more of these to follow, even when our freedom returns. Watch the first episode and the second straight after…

The Shows Must Go On

Broadway and The West End are dark. Back in March, the razzle-dazzle ceased, apart from the superstitious tradition of leaving one light ignited centre stage named the Ghost light. Musical theatre can be divisive, but admirers are dedicated and fanatical; the rush of hearing a full cast reach those big moments is addictive. Composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, king of the musicals, owns a back catalogue of work that is un-paralleled; he is highly skilled at merging genres topped off with mass appeal.

While the boards are bare, Webber has teamed up with Universal and generously decided to screen full shows from 7:00 pm on Friday nights for 48 hours. Again this gives the feeling of watching something together. There was some commentary asking if they could stay up longer, but only having a small window is part of its excitement and exclusivity; it aims to make the weekend feel that tad different to the week with people even getting slightly dolled up for the occasion.

The first showing was Joseph and his Technicoloured Dream Coat, instilling rad 90s nostalgia vibes, followed by the industrial arena version of Jesus Christ Superstar. This Friday sees a special 25th-anniversary version of the colossal Phantom of the Opera, and it seems that there will be more to come as time goes on. The channel is freshly created for our situation, but states that it will bring ‘showtunes’, and ‘backstage access’; maybe The Shows Must Go On is here to stay? Get your theatrical fix for now below…

Article by Beverley Knight

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