Everything seemed to go online when COVID hit in spring 2020, and that includes the Spokane music scene.
When stages shut down in 2020, Live From Somewhere stepped up to give Spokane musicians a place to play. The group’s video series took local acts to atypical spots around town — from a record store to dusty back lots to the abandoned Fox Theater — to play their music and capture the performance with cinematic flair (similar to video series like La Blogothèque‘s Take Away Shows).
Now, Live From Somewhere is stepping into the actual in-person live music space, launching a new monthly concert series at the Magic Lantern Theatre. The venue is a perfect fit given what the series values: local connection, unusual music spaces and a finely crafted visual product. The first edition takes place this Sunday, Jan. 23, and features indie-folk band Heat Speak (a previous Live From Somewhere act) and the vibraphone pop of Rosie CQ.
Before Live From Somewhere enters a physical space for public consumption, we chatted with LFS co-founder, director, cinematographer and editor Jon Kuritz about the series’ origin, his favorite episode and future LFS plans.
How did the initial idea for Live From Somewhere come about?
During the pandemic, [co-founder Ryan Stocks and I] were trying to keep Ryan’s business [Sip’n Paint Studio] afloat. We were kind of messing around with online video, livestream kind of stuff. And Ryan’s been involved in multiple bands over the years, and I’ve kind of done the visual side of things: music videos, concert photography and all that kind of stuff. So we teamed up to try and keep his business afloat doing livestream events, and that naturally progressed into kind of the music stuff when we didn’t see anybody taking it on.
No bands locally had a stage to perform on. We were kind of waiting for venues to do something or anybody to try stuff, but nobody was doing anything. So Ryan and I put our brains together and came up with this concept of taking local bands and putting them in unique and undisclosed locations and shooting a little video for it. And it grew into what it is today.
What goals did you have in mind when starting Live From Somewhere?
The main idea and goal was to give local artists a stage when they didn’t have one. And then adding to the visual element you wouldn’t normally see of taking a band and putting them in a record store or a dirt lot somewhere. We could have done venues and things like that, but felt like taking advantage of the situation and leaning into the uniqueness of what was going on.
I think there’s a lot of talent [in Spokane] that people may not know about. I’ve been in it for six years, just shooting video and photos for different bands. I think [the music community] was a little cliquey before the pandemic, and I think coming out of it we’ve gotten better about not being so divided. So just getting that genuine community around the scene has been a goal as well.
What led you guys wanting to take that remote idea and make it into an actual in-person concert series?
It’s kind of just adapting with things coming back to normal. We want to stay relevant and branch off.
Throwing concerts in a movie theater, nobody’s really doing that. [We’re trying to] create experiences around local music that are memorable for the community and get people excited to come out and just support the scene and try and grow it that way.
So what are you looking forward to with regards to the partnership with the Magic Lantern?
We’re tentatively trying to do that every third Sunday of the month. We’re trying to kick off this little series and keep it going throughout the year. We’re looking forward to just getting different artists that we may not be able to work with [yet].
Along with the Magic Lantern concert series, we’re also going to be doing our episode premieres in-person at the theater. So every video you’d see online last year, we’re going to do like a full on premiere event at the theater. We’ll probably kick that off in early March, but we’re still kind of working all the details out on that. So we’re looking to do two events per month at the Magic Lantern.
Do you have a favorite Live From Somewhere video out of the ones you’ve made so far?
Episode 12 with Civiliance was a highlight for me. That was the biggest undertaking we did as a team over the last year. We had nine to 10 cameras and multiple cameramen. We rented out the Fox Theater. It was a giant production, and then the way it turned out, I think, was something we can all be proud of.
Do you have any other long-term goals for Live From Somewhere?
We’re definitely gonna stay true to the roots, the online videos. Grow that production and focus on the quality of that. And then venture into more live events, whether it’s like a festival or these unique one-off shows, whatever it might be.
Live From Somewhere Presents the Magic Lantern Concert Series: Heat Speak, Rosie CQ • Sun, Jan. 23 at 6 pm • $15 • All ages • Magic Lantern Theatre • 25 W. Main Ave. • magiclanternonmain.com • 509-209-2383