Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Live From The QZ with Chance McClain helping Texas musicians

Chance McClain (formerly of SportsRadio 610 KILT and 1560 The Game) has been throwing a live concert series that is benefiting the Texas musicians that are playing.

It's called Live From The QZ.

Watch out for an appearance by McClain's former colleague Raheel Ramzanali as host too!

I reached out to McClain for more info and he sent back this nice email that explains it all:

As soon as the coronavirus shutdown started becoming real I, along with half the country, recognized a certain level of stir craziness was forthcoming. At my company, I primarily film people from 70-100 years old so I knew I would be shelved for a good while. So I talked with my buddy Patrick Brogdon about putting "something" together. I have friends in the music world and friends in the comedy world and my office is on my 8-acres in the middle of nowhere. And I built a stage for the hell of it years ago. And together with Patrick, we have a ton of high end equipment...cameras, mics, professional streaming gear, lights... All of these "ands" pointed towards putting together a variety show safely tucked away in the Magnolia woods.

The first show we did, I had three bands booked, two comedians, and a host. But this was Tuesday, March 24th, very early in the "shutdown." Over the course of that day, bands began dropping over sensitivity towards the virus. Then the comedians bowed out. Even the host, Raheel Ramzanali, out of an abundance of caution, decided to play it safe. Two hours before the show, I had nothing. No talent, no host. Just a stage, gear, Patrick, and my small work crew. Then I got a call from Josh Fuller, the lead singer and titular character of The Josh Fuller Band, and he said the band's not coming but I am.

Joah showed up and played for about 3 hours of covers and original music. It was glorious. It was such a needed diversion, and it was totally safe. We took our guidance from the CDC and State of Texas websites and played it by the rules. Keep in mind, everything was 100% volunteer. We had no expectation of any money. By the end of the night people had sent over $600 to my venmo. I distributed it to the guys and it was a fun, memorable night.

Since then, we have had five Live from the QZ shows. We've enhanced the little stage, and have enjoyed the talents of The Josh Fuller Band, Caleb and the Homegrown Tomatoes, and Shane Temple play the stage. Different iterations of those same talented folks have played our "side stage" to give the band a break. We set up a separate area by my fire pit. Raheel has hosted several of the shows bringing his unique talent, personality, and perspective to what we still consider a healthy diversion during stressful times.

It's very laid back. Very laid back. My dogs usually end up being a part of the show. As the restrictions ebb and flow, we have been having guests come to watch the show live, each in their little clusters around the stage, always sensitive to social distancing, but happy to have a sense of community.

Each show, people send money to venmo and the people that perform or work get some running money. These musicians don't have venues for the time being so I hope this lark is providing them an opportunity to unwind, perform, and expend some of the artistic angst that builds up. Their stresses are alleviated by Dillon Benoit, our audio engineer. They've all worked with him before and they are able to focus on their performance knowing that he will mix a great show.

We close every show with Amazing Grace as a tip of the hat to Michael Berry, who lost The RCC to the financial constraints of the coronavirus.

We plan to keep the shows going every week or two until society renormalizes. Whether it's the old normal or a new normal is immaterial. We want the shows to look better and run smoother each week. We want the artists to feel appreciated and we want the audience to realize that, despite the madness, we will be ok. And a little diversion every now and then helps.


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