The COVID-19 era we’re currently in has a lot of constants. There’s social distancing, wearing a mask in public, staying indoors if and when you can and the steady numbers of new cases.
Another one in this crazy mix is livestreaming, which has been a vital outlet for musicians ever since the virus shut everything down in March. In the absence of live music, musicians have taken to social media outlets like Facebook and Instagram to either make some money through their PayPal or Venmo account or to raise money for an organization or establishment.
One of the many musicians taking part in this trend is Dean Petrella from the Providence rock act The Complaints, who would usually be performing their weekly Wednesday night residency at Escada Restaurant & Bar at 39 Putnam Pike in Johnston if things were relatively normal.
Petrella has been streaming solo on a steady basis due to going online to play some tunes either twice or three times a week. This creative medium was actually something he and the band were talking about doing months before the pandemic. It’s kind of serendipitous how it’s become part of their “new normal.”
“It’s a funny thing because the band and I had been saying for years that we should get into live streaming,” he said of the current trend. “The pandemic forced our hands to learn how to do it. I have done a lot of solo Facebook live shows and then I started doing a show per week with the band. The response has been great. Even in normal times, many of our fans, friends and family do not get to see us live, mostly because of where they live.”
“I was doing a show the other night and we had people watching from Italy, Germany, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, California, Utah, Vermont, New York, Florida, and the list goes on,” Petrella added. “Even though our live shows are starting back up, we will continue to stream as well. It has been a great way to stay in touch with people who like our music. They are always requesting songs, keeping us on our toes to brush up on songs we wrote 15 years ago. It’s good stuff.”
When Petrella performs solo, it’s usually from his abode, while with the band the streaming is broadcasted from their swanky studio and practice space. Each setting is cool because when he’s home you can see his guitars hanging on the wall and when he’s with The Complaints it looks like they’re performing at a legit music venue.
Petrella also takes requests before he performs, often you'll hear a deep track from his band’s catalog or a fantastic cover of a classic. Along with streaming from his own Facebook page and the band’s Facebook, he also recently performed for his fellow alumni at his alma mater Providence College via the alumni’s Facebook page back on April 2.
It seems like Petrella is really taking this new artistic path by the horns and getting into the thick of it. It’ll be interesting to see what he does with livestreaming when this current crisis ceases to be.
To check out what Petrella and The Complaints are up to, either log on to Petrella’s Facebook page at facebook.com/roland.petrella.9 or type in The Complaints on the search bar and their page will pop right up. Petrella is also taking donations via his Venmo account at @Dean-Petrella, so make sure to shell out some cash while watching and listening. I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.