PLAYING PHILLY: Local Musicians Get Creative in Quarantine

Elaine Rasnake Photo Credit: Storm Paul

Philadelphia is on lock-down – as per Governor Tom Wolf’s orders, those of us who are not essential workers may only leave our homes to buy groceries and pharmacy items, or to exercise. To put it eloquently, it’s a weird time.

While we collectively try our best to minimize the spread of COVID-19, Philadelphia musicians and promoters must find creative ways to recoup funds from cancelled shows and tours. In the age of streaming music, concert tickets and merch sales are often musicians’ primary source of income, and since we can’t attend shows right now, the best way to support our favorite local acts is to engage with them online (and spare some money for their music, if you’re able).

If you’re looking to keep in touch with the Philly music scene while you stay home, here are some artists and promoters to keep on your radar.

Home Outgrown’s HOPtv Series

Home Outgrown has the uncanny capacity to start and end punk shows on time, but even for the most skilled promoters and event managers, it’s a scary time. As Home Outgrown promoter Mel Grinberg said to VICE last week, “I really don’t know what’s going to happen to most of us until this is over. I’m worried about my friends being able to pay rent.” For tour managers, promoters, and live musicians who depend on live events for their income, the effects of coronavirus have already been devastating.

Though times are rough, Home Outgrown recently announced HOPtv, a series of streaming gigs on Instagram live. As of now, they’re booked with stacked shows every day through March 30th with performances at 3PM, 5PM, and 7PM, featuring artists like Slingshot Dakota, Sidney Gish, Snarls, Harmony Woods, and others.

Follow Home Outgrown on Instagram to stay in the loop as they announce more digi gigs, and if you enjoy what they do, show them your support!

Elaine Rasnake

After cancelling a tour in support of her new EP Settle Down (Found Tapes), Elaine Rasnake launched a series of performances on Twitch to promote her new release, out on March 26. In these raw, acoustic songs, she draws inspiration from the followers of American cults like Heaven’s Gate and the People’s Temple. An experienced sound engineer, Elaine challenged herself to record each song on the EP in one go on an analog tape, mirroring the production and aesthetic of cult member testimonies.

For the foreseeable future, Elaine Rasnake will perform live sets on her Twitch channel on Tuesdays at 6PM, Wednesdays at 8PM, and Thursdays at 6PM.


Soulful electronic artist Kyrøs (Lia Menaker) was already a regular Twitch streamer before coronavirus, improvising live loops and beats on her channel. Now, she’s using her streams as a way to fundraise for the United Way‘s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund. She flaunts her wild vocal range and production skills on Tuesdays at 6 PM, Fridays at 12:30 PM, and Sundays at 9 AM on her Twitch stream.

Valentina Janie

Valentina Janie‘s bluesy rock is timeless, and her approach to staying afloat in the quarantimes is just as classic: she plans to perform for her neighbors on her small Philadelphia balcony, she says via Facebook. Though she also posts videos online, there’s something special about cutting down our screen time while we’re stuck at home.

A Celebration of All-Ages Venues with Yowler, Kississippi, and Thin Lips

Kississippi. All photos by Amanda Silberling.

I remember joking with friends in high school about how we should get fake IDs, but not so that we could buy Smirnoff Ice – we just wanted to see live music without worrying about getting carded at 21+ venues. I am now older, wiser, and legally permitted to purchase alcohol, so I can understand why sixteen-year-olds shouldn’t be hanging out in bars – but that doesn’t mean that sixteen-year-olds shouldn’t have the chance to support their favorite bands.

Philadelphia is home to so many live venues that it’s hard to keep track of them all, but there are still only a handful of all-ages venues. Sure, there are dozens of house venues in South and West Philly, but as someone who used to run a house venue… It’s really not ideal to worry about underage kids potentially getting drunk in your home (nothing is more punk rock than safety!). So, it was understandably devastating when, this past fall, two staple all-ages venues closed down: Everybody Hits and PhilaMOCA.

Poster by Zoe Reynolds.

Everybody Hits – batting cage by day, rock venue by night – closed after its building owner abruptly sold the property. But in the case of PhilaMOCA, the story is a bit more complicated. In its beginnings, PhilaMOCA was primarily an art gallery and showroom, though over the years, it transitioned into more of a concert venue. An unassuming, rectangular building off of 12th and Spring Garden Street, the Masoleum was shut down in September because it was zoned as an art gallery, but operated as a nightclub. After months of wading through bureaucracy and fundraising to cover the rezoning process, PhilaMOCA plans to re-open in April.

To help raise the last bit of money needed to re-open PhilaMOCA, local promoters Home Outgrown and R5 Productions threw a benefit show, which was fittingly hosted at the all-ages First Unitarian Church (yes, it really is a church). Philly favorites Yowler, Kississippi, and Thin Lips united to form a stacked bill, and locals like Mannequin Pussy, Frances Quinlan, and Algernon Cadwallader donated records and merch for a raffle.

With PhilaMOCA’s re-opening on the horizon, this night at the church felt like a celebration – a reminder that, even though we’ve grown up, we owe it to the next generation of angsty, guitar-playing teenagers to make sure that they have the chance to find community in the same way that we did.