lone-bellow-cow-field-show

All photos credit: Sachyn Mital

The Lone Bellow’s Socially-Distant Cow Field Show (photos)

The Lone Bellow's live performance was a pleasurable distraction in the middle of a pandemic. But I had forgotten how to attend a ticketed concert.


South Farms

A literal cow field. That’s what I saw when I drove into the Morris, Connecticut parking area for a socially-distanced concert from the Lone Bellow at South Farms. I took the almost two-hour drive up to see the band perform their final show of 2020, part of a handful of socially distant shows. I felt lucky to be able to see them perform and see live music. But of course, the pandemic has changed everything.


South Farms

With the COVID-19 still obviously a concern, I observed the proper safety protocols, which started with the mask and a pre-signed health waiver. But after going almost six months without attending a ticketed concert, I forget how to get into the show. When I got to security, I was confused by why they wanted to see my ID because they couldn’t match it to my masked face (it was to check for the drinking age). Then I was confused about why I couldn’t just walk in (like free outdoor shows in NYC). Well, that was because I hadn’t yet picked up my ticket from the box office…


South Farms

Being grounded in NYC for most of the pandemic, I also had forgotten how there could be vast green spaces without people. South Farms’ lawn was massive. Ticket-holders bought two-person grids, and each grid was at least six feet away from the next grid. It was practically as big as a football field. The venue had been hosting shows for over a month, and things were clearly running smoothly and safely.


Zach Williams


Fan

And it was awesome to be at a show with enthusiastic fans. When Zach Williams got out of the car to take the stage, he threw his fists in the air. Fans caught on the camera were exuberant as they got a moment on the big screen — some expressing themselves with abandon.


The Lone Bellow

And then the Lone Bellow, Williams, Brian Elmquist, and Kanene Pipkin, took the stage to fervent applause. It was a unique performance given that it was just the three of them with their instruments around one microphone — no percussion or other accompaniment. Williams acknowledged that this also permitted the band to be flexible with their setlist when they wanted to switch things up.


The Lone Bellow

The band had released their latest album Half Moon Light about a month before the pandemic shut down live performances, so they were enthusiastic about being on stage. They played some tracks from the album, including “Count on Me” and “Just Enough to Get By”, in the stripped-down style.


The Lone Bellow

The Lone Bellow also performed a couple of covers, namely Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and the National’s “Pink Rabbits” (both of which were released in 2018). Though likely not a commentary on the audience’s racial makeup, the latter’s line of “white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park” could sum up many concerts in New England.


The Lone Bellow

Williams spoke about loving the general feel of the area. He noted that they had recorded Half Moon Light in a similar region, which elicited chuckles as he likely meant areas north of New York City and not in Connecticut. (I later learned The National’s Aaron Dessner produced their new record and Dessner’s studio is in Hudson, New York so a bit further north). The band also mourned that they couldn’t really see the crowd once it had gotten dark, but at least the audience didn’t have to deal with anyone singing or being annoying right next to them.


The Lone Bellow

Near the end, the band performed “Green Eyes and a Heart of Gold”, which got a couple up front dancing. And shortly after, they departed. Staff at the venue didn’t think there would be an encore, but fortunately, the Lone Bellow returned for another song giving the audience another few minutes to forget there was a pandemic underway.


South Farms
Merch

Manic Presents has scheduled a few more shows for South Farms including Neko Case, Warren Haynes, Manchester Orchestra and Grace Potter before the venues closes for season on November 1st. More information and tickets for Twilight Concerts on the Farm.


The Lone Bellow


The Lone Bellow


The Lone Bellow

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