"It's becoming a sort of respect thing" - singer-songwriter Gordi, now a practising doctor in hospitals in Australia, told BBC about face-masks. "As someone that is going to work in these places everyday, where health workers are putting their lives and the lives of their loved ones at risk - to wear a mask is not asking you to do a great deal," the 27-year-old says. This spring, after putting her doctor's career on hold, she moved to London and was supposed to start a tour with Bon Iver. When corona started she turned back home and to her patients...

"We in Northern Ireland are very proud of the fact that one of the greatest music legends of the past 50 years comes from our part of the world... So there's a real feeling of disappointment - we expected better from him" - Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has written in Rolling Stone about Sir Van Morrison's songs that protest against the coronavirus lockdown. In the lyrics, Van Morrison claims scientists are "making up crooked facts" to justify measures that "enslave" the population. "It's all bizarre and irresponsible. I only hope no one takes him seriously. He's no guru, no teacher" - Swann wrote.

Definitely maybe not right
September 21, 2020

What's with the Brit-pop stars and masks-denial?

Noel Gallagher

The Oasis pop star Noel Gallagher announced his suspicion of masks last week proclaiming - “There’s no need for it… They’re pointless”. Former Stone Roses singer Ian Brown declared: “NO LOCKDOWN NO TESTS NO TRACKS NO MASKS NO VAX”. Tommy Scott of Space, did not disappoint. “I do not believe in any germs. If they are real, and there’s loads, why don’t they have a smell?”. Guardian tries to explain the "reasoning" behind - "it is asking a lot of the Britpop stars of yesteryear to believe in laws. Dominic Cumming’s [chief adviser to UK prime minister] lockdown drive to Barnard Castle, undertaken to 'test his eyesight', eroded the rules". Plus, it's not really their field of specialties...

"Festivals can go ahead safely with adequate testing" - Reading and Leeds boss Melvin Benn has told UK parliamentary committee about reopening venues at full capacity, Music Week reports. "You can’t have festivals with social distancing. You mass test" - Benn said, adding - "trying to open without full capacity is just not an option".

One of the biggest motorcycle accidents
September 09, 2020

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally linked to 250,000 cases of COVID-19

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brought nearly 500,000 motorcycle enthusiasts to Sturgis, South Dakota between Aug. 7 and 16, and now over 250,000 cases of COVID-19 have been connected to the rally and concert, where Smash Mouth, Trapt, Fozzy, Drowning Pool, Quiet Riot and others performed. A new research paper from the German IZA Institute of Labor Economics also concludes that the Rally generated public health costs of approximately $12.2 billion.

UK venues have put forward a plan to reopen, which includes dancing in face masks, temperature checks at the door and bouncers patrolling the dancefloor to enforce social distancing, the Guardian reports. Nightclub owners say that 750,000 jobs are at risk because of the lockdown, unless the government provides them with support or greater certainty about when they can reopen. The clubbing industry pointed out that some of its venues are larger than pubs, restaurants and other venues that have been allowed to open, while they often recycle air more frequently with powerful mechanical ventilation systems.

Scientists from Leipzig have held three pop concerts last Saturday to investigate the risks posed by mass indoor events during the pandemic, CNN reports. About 1,500 healthy volunteers aged between 18 and 50 - only a third of the expected number - took part, but the head of the study from Halle University said he was "very satisfied" with how the event unfolded. The first of Saturday's three concerts aimed to simulate an event before the pandemic, with no safety measures in place. The second involved greater hygiene and some social distancing, while the third involved half the numbers and each person standing 1.5m apart. Singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko performed at all three successive gigs.

No good news for Cannibal Corpse, unfortunately
August 22, 2020

Singing doesn't spread COVID-19 more than talking

A new U.K. study has found there was not a substantial difference in the spread of aerosols (tiny particles that are exhaled from the body and then float in the air) between talking and singing when done at a similar noise level, which is good news, of course. What did make a difference, though, was the volume of the voice, where singing or shouting at the loudest level possible could generate 30 times more aerosol, which is bad news for metal bands. BBC reports on the study.

Everybody's washing their hands now more than ever, including metalheads, so etsy shop Corpse Paint Soaps made bar soaps designed in the likeness of various face-painted metal musicians, Brooklyn Vegan reports. There's King Diamond, Abbath, Dead and Euronymous of Mayhem, Seregor of Carach Angren, former Gorgoroth bassist King ov Hell, and Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth. Scent-wise, the soaps don't smell of mosh-pits or men-sweat, rather the soaps run the gamut, with notes of bergamot, rosemary, ginger, pine, eucalyptus, cedarwood, and, in the case of Dani Filth, parma violets, as requested by Filth.

Men in masks
July 30, 2020

Masked bands: How to live with masks?

Residents

Members of the Locust, Slipknot, GWAR, Clinic, and the Residents have shared tips with Spin about getting around with masks in daily life. First advice: make it comfortable; general advice: you’re talking about a few moments of discomfort against the possibility of being dead, it sells itself.

Marc Geiger, the former global head of music at talent agency William Morris Entertainment and co-founder of Lollapalooza, has said the concerts, hit hard by Covid-19, won't return until 2022. Speaking at the on The Bob Lefsetz Podcast, Geiger said “It’s my instinct, that’s going to take a while because super-spreader events — sports, shows, festivals, etc. — aren’t going to do too well when the virus is this present”. He added there are “probably 20” roadblocks that need to be overcome before live music can return. “The virus and illness being one, spacing and density” being another, he explained. A third, Geiger noted, will be insurance and liability. “With [COVID], there’s infinite liability”. he said, noting the challenge venues and promoters will face in finding an insurer willing to cover their events.

Corona-death
July 09, 2020

Funny: Death metal song 'Wear a Mask'

YouTuber Vance Kotrla has made a hilarious black metal song 'Wear a Mask' that explains why everybody needs to wear masks. The video starts out with him holding an acoustic guitar standing, saying he is in a folk band, so he decided to write a song encouraging people to wear masks. So he did - a short and funny black metal banger, with lyrics like "Wear a mask / Over your nose and mouth / Wear a mask / To stay above the ground". Watch below.

Resident Advisor reports on specific rules on nightclubs reopening, as the COVID-epidemic is weakening in parts of the world: China has cautiously restarted its nightlife; South Korea has shut down its club due to a recent spike of COVID-19 infections in the country connected to the clubs; Switzerland has increased the maximum number of people allowed to attend indoor public gatherings from 300 to 1,000 with no social distancing; in Australia, nightclubs could be allowed to open as early as August if community transmission rates are kept low, although a four-square-metre-per-person rule to allow for social distancing is likely to be enforced; New Zealand has lifted all COVID-19 restrictions, aside from international border controls; Bars and nightclubs in Iceland opened their doors as the government eased lockdown rules.

This is the perfect time to focus on outdoor or semi-outdoor events where a “concentrated plume of droplets” is less likely to hit you, Gabriel Scally, honorary professor of public health at the University of Bristol, told the Guardian about the future of shows, music or otherwise. The issue that is going to matter a lot is - how well is the venue ventilated, which spells trouble for the punk bands from the basement circuit. Nightclubs have an even lower chance of returning soon, not until there’s a vaccine - with the exception of New Zealand where they’ve basically eradicated the virus - or unless everybody dances in a certain direction!?! Daisy Fancourt, associate professor of psychobiology and epidemiology at University College London points to a new way of thinking: “Our focus shouldn’t be on getting back to normal, but on finding a way to adapt".

Chase Rice

Country singer Chase Rice staged a large concert in Tennessee last weekend with zero social distancing and not one face mask in sight. In the 10,000 capacity venue about 1,000 people turned out for the concert, and all attendees were given temperature checks, although organizers were unable to enforce physical distancing during the actual concert, TMZ reports. A similar case involved American Vice President Mike Pence, the leader of the administration’s own coronavirus task force. On Sunday, Pence attended a near-capacity, indoor event at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas with 2,200 attendees, and a 100-person choir singing without face masks, CNN reports.

Portugal's government announced restrictions on several areas of Greater Lisbon from 1 July, after reports of parties that attracted as many as 1,000 revellers. In Paris, the police clashed with the thousands who thronged to Paris’s Canal Saint-Martin and Marais district for the annual Fête de la Musique. In Berlin, more than 100 officers broke up a demonstration that turned into a spontaneous, 3,000-person party. In England, the police are grappling with a proliferation of illegal parties. In Spain, the authorities slapped a €10,400 fine on Belgium’s Prince Joachim after the royal breached the country’s quarantine rules to attend a party in southern Spain; he later tested positive for the virus. Guardian suggests these parties are to blame for the surge in new Covid-19 cases in the last two weeks.

Spain authorities announced new rules pertaining to nightclubs and outdoor venues of Ibiza in the context of COVID-19, with the intention, it seems, to change the tourist profile of Ibiza to be less of a party island. For indoor spaces, the rules state that only venues with a stated capacity of 300 or less are allowed to open for the season and will only be allowed to open at one-third capacity, and the people inside will have to be seated. The decree approved by the Balearic government - which will last for five years - outlaws pub crawling, party boats and "perilous practices" such as jumping from balconies. Establishments in the zones that sell alcohol will need to close between 9:30 p.m. and 8 a.m.

The World Health Organisation has issued their latest recommendations on holding mass gatherings during the current coronavirus pandemic advising that governments and local authorities can consider allowing mass gatherings to take place when it is safe to do so, Republic World reports. "Mass gatherings are not merely recreational events; they have important implications on the psychological well-being of large number of individuals (eg religious events), can play an important role in promoting healthy behaviours (eg. sports), provide employment for a great number of people, and could leave a legacy of improved assets or capacities developed as a result of hosting a mass gathering event” - WHO suggests in their latest recommendations. “Since mass gatherings have substantial political, cultural, social, and economic implications, authorities should assess the importance and necessity of an event and consider the option that it may take place, provided all associated public health risks are adequately addressed and mitigated”.

Death Angel drummer Will Carroll contracted COVID-19 while on a European tour in March, and during a medically induced 12-day coma as a result of his illness, the artist claims he had met Satan. Well, he didn't really like it, as he's told the San Francisco Chronicle - "I'm still going to listen to Satanic metal, and I still love Deicide and bands like that. As for my personal life and my experience of what I went through, I don't think Satan's quite as cool as I used to". He says he'll consume less alcohol and drugs now, too, Exclaim reports.

There will be four stages in corona-influenced albums, Mark, My Words argues: Insanity and bewilderment of the isolation nation; calming records about the routine, zen-like serenity of home quarantine; Coronapunk stage demanding the heads of the political class; Pub. But, what is it that we really need" - "Albums about the crisis will get tired very quickly; albums designed to help us through it, on the other hand, will remain encased in the generational amber. It’s time, already, to start singing for when we’re winning".

A 29-year-old Seoul man visited five clubs and bars in a Seoul neighborhood on a busy weekend night and was later tested positive for COVID-19. After that incident, 119 new infections have been traced back to the 29-year-old, Korean authorities have announced. Additional 5,517 fellow clubgoers have been contacted in the process. A total of more than 11,000 people had been in the general area on the night in question, Statista.com reports.

Sci-fi rockers Devo shared an online store featuring coronavirus merchandise. Offerings include themed face masks and Devo’s iconic red energy dome hats with an attached clear plastic face protector. The band explains: "Once the dome was placed on your head it recycled the electrical energy that regularly escapes from your brain. People of course laughed. Now the dome is no longer a source of controversy or derision. Its popularity is a sort of proof that De-evolution is real!".

Britain’s hospital radio stations are one of the less well-known features of its health system: tiny operations, staffed by volunteers, who mostly play patient requests. Patients can normally listen to the shows, which are heavy on chart music and old hits, using headphones connected to an entertainment unit beside their beds. There are still over 200 such stations, and some claim they have found themselves more useful than ever during the pandemic, providing a human connection to patients who would otherwise be alone, New York Times reports.

Molly Carr

he New York Times reports on a beautiful story - accomplished classical musicians like Molly Carr and Andrew Janss have started playing at the New York-Presbyterian Allen Hospital in Manhattan - through patients' iPhones or iPads. Chamber music players, winners of international competitions and prizes, teachers at prestigious music schools perform from California, Kentucky, Maine, Virginia, Massachusetts and New York. They play the music of Bach, Brahms, the Beatles, Edith Piaf...

Ireland government announced exit plan from coronavirus lockdown, revealing that festivals with the appropriate distance between individuals practiced could return in August, NME reports. The final, fifth phase – which will be introduced on August 10 – mentions the return of larger social gatherings, including music festivals, but only “in accordance with both indoor and outdoor number restrictions and where social distancing can be complied with”.

Sweden has allowed for gigs with up to a capacity of 40 people to take place with appropriate social distancing measures in place, and Spain is looking to phase in live music events from May in a number of stages with gradually increasing capacities, NME reports about the future of live shows. There are several ideas on how to organize future shows, obeying the rules of social distancing - a combination of physical and digital tickets so that some fans can pay to watch online. Some venues may insist on tracking apps or temperature checks, so they're sure none of the attendees is coronavirus-positive. Shows will be smaller, with several dozen people in the audience, so it's expected that certain genres will become bigger, specifically acoustic gigs.

Walk-through disinfectant machines, plus smart wristbands worn by game-day workers that issue alerts when they cross social distance boundaries, are among the virus technology products quickly coming to market as arenas, stadiums and other public assembly facilities search for tools to provide greater protection for customers and staff - Pollstar reports on a new product. It is being tested in Hong Kong. Hopefully, everybody's not gonna start smelling funny.

The news are bad, spending time indoors is getting harder and harder, so the music industry wants more uplifting music - “labels and artists are asking for more positive songs, less heartbreak”, songwriter Nate Cyphert told Rolling Stone. “Requests are coming in for more optimistic, upbeat songs for artists, and we have lots of writers that are already on it,” adds Tuff Morgan, vice president of A&R at the music publisher Peermusic.

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