Rituals and systems have been the consistent mechanism that help me pass time during quarantine. In my old life, pre-corona, I used to put concert and show dates on my calendar, sometimes many months in advance.
There is nothing like the ritual of attending a show. I’ve written before about The Crown and my love for that venue. It has since reopened, and although they have not restarted their full calendar of music performances, they have put live comedy shows and short DJ sets on the calendar. (These events are ticketed and require RSVPs in order to maintain social distancing and venue capacity guidelines.) There have also been a recent flutter of events at various venues across the city such as at the Ynot Lot and Hotel Revival.
I’m afraid for so many of the performance/art venues in the city. This time away from my favorite and most frequented venues has taught me not to take for granted the ritual of concert-going ever again. I hope that if we do see spaces close, new ones will be built—hopefully more DIY and artist-run spaces, especially ones that are run by Black and queer artists in the city.
Pre-corona I also often complained about how I didn’t have time to listen to new music. This forced time away has allowed me to slow down and pick up projects that I might have missed in the past. I have been listening to 4KMicheal’s “Forgive Me, I Am Alive” on repeat this year. Blasting it in my apartment has helped me revisit the rush of adrenaline I felt when I saw him perform last year.
Digital events have felt hollow to me. The luxury of the in-person experience of being at a concert is spiritual and can’t be replicated. I’m constantly negotiating between my desire to go out and my awareness of the silent threat of coronavirus. I’m trying to wait as long as I can to ensure my first time back at a show isn’t anticlimactic.
This Quarantine Diaries features eight Baltimore rappers/musicians who have released new projects, albums, and EPs since quarantine began. As winter slowly approaches and we are likely to spend more time inside, check out each of these artists’ projects and welcome some of their fire and creativity into your home. Stream their music, follow their social media, and take care of yourselves. And although the feeling of being in a crowd at a concert cannot be replicated, I hope that reading the words and listening to the projects of these artists helps you feel some semblance of that adrenaline and joy.
I’m planning on taking a break from Quarantine Diaries as I focus more on the Connect+Collect digital window gallery. I wanted to end this series strongly, and I think that featuring these eight artists and their recently released projects was the perfect way to do so. Each artist is phenomenal, dynamic, and talented and I truly cannot wait until I can see them in concert hopefully in 2021. See y’all out there post-quarantine!