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As coronavirus cancels concerts, 6 ways music fans can keep rocking

Stream a biopic. Check out a virtual concert. Buy merch. Even check out a record shop or the Hard Rock.
The Motley Crue biopic 'The Dirt' is streaming on Netflix.
The Motley Crue biopic 'The Dirt' is streaming on Netflix. [ JAKE GILES NETTER | Netflix ]
Published Mar. 17, 2020
Updated Mar. 18, 2020

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Almost every live music event planned in Tampa Bay has been canceled or postponed for the foreseeable future. But while the coronavirus pandemic may have decimated your social calendar, there are ways to kick out the jams without standing shoulder-to-shoulder in a sweaty pit. Here are a few options for the weekend.

Start following your faves: If you don’t obsessively track your favorite artists on social media, now’s a good time to start, because they’re beginning to put out some cool content. Coldplay’s Chris Martin on Monday kicked off a streaming concert series dubbed #TogetherAtHome with a 30-minute performance and chat session from his home, and John Legend planned to do the same on Tuesday. Keith Urban and Luke Combs have also streamed performances live on social media. And David Foster and Katharine McPhee, who had to postpone a concert this month at Ruth Eckerd Hall, plan to stream daily live performances on Instagram at 8:30 p.m.

Listen to music: In the words of Billie Eilish: Duh. Catch up on some of what you’ve been missing with our best-of-2019 and best-of-the 2010s playlists on Spotify. Or dig into some of this spring’s best new releases, like singer-guitarist Katie Pruitt’s soaring Expectations, Jay-Z protege Jay Electronica’s long-awaited A Written Testimony or Paramore singer Hayley Williams’ experimental Petals for Armor.

Dive into a biopic: We’ve recommended a few great music documentaries you can stream for free on Netflix and Amazon Prime. What about music biopics? Netflix has The Dirt (Motley Crue), La Bamba (Richie Valens) and, if you’re feeling bummed about those postponed Frankie Valli shows at Ruth Eckerd Hall, Jersey Boys. Amazon Prime has Val Kilmer in The Doors, Jennifer Lopez in Selena, Michael Douglas and Matt Damon in Behind the Candelabra and, until March 31 at least, Shane West in What We Do Is Secret, the story of punks Darby Crash and the Germs.

Support your favorites: While major canceled tours and festivals get the headlines, the artists suffering the hardest will be mid-level touring bands, the type who play clubs like Jannus Live or the Orpheum. If you have cash on hand you can no longer spend on tickets, the best way to support a band is to purchase music and merchandise directly from their online store. That’s especially helpful considering many of them now have a surplus of tour merch they can’t sell on the road.

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Go record shopping: If you’re craving community, you can always swing by your local record shop. Some Tampa Bay were open for business as of Wednesday morning, including Mojo Books and Records, Microgroove and the Sound Exchange. Microgroove is even sharing hand sanitizer and paper towels to help you flip through the bins. Most stores are also happy to sell online or even do curbside pickup.

Hit the Hard Rock: The social-distancing aspect of this is questionable, but Tampa’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino is still open for business, albeit with some tweaked gaming policies. The casino’s major concerts and events have been postponed, but their entertainment calendar still features several local performers in spots like the L Bar and Council Oak. Even without music, though, the Hard Rock is a stellar rock memorabilia museum, featuring one-of-a-kind items from Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Elvis Presley, among many others.

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