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Local Music Spotlight: Live From Somewhere focuses on local, underappreciated talent via concert films

UPDATED: Thu., Jan. 13, 2022

Live From Somewhere’s Jon Kuritz, Jason Overdorff, Ryan Stocks, Michael Grimm, Nik Michaels, Andy Bruno and Tyler Poole in front of Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.  (Adam Darling)
Live From Somewhere’s Jon Kuritz, Jason Overdorff, Ryan Stocks, Michael Grimm, Nik Michaels, Andy Bruno and Tyler Poole in front of Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. (Adam Darling)
By Julien A. Luebbers For The Spokesman-Review

When COVID-19 shut down the live music scene in early 2020, venues scrambled, audiences sat at home, and artists saw their main source of promotion and income go to naught. The local music scene was in desperate need of innovation, which came in the form of concert films.

The concert film itself is an old idea, but Live From Somewhere took the format in a direction it has seldom gone: showcasing local, underappreciated talent. “Creatives can’t just live off of experience and exposure,” said Ryan Stocks, one of LFS’ founders.

Since its first episode, featuring ExZac Change and Matisse and released in August 2020, the main crew at Live From Somewhere (founders Stocks, Jon Kuritz and Tyler Poole, along with Nik Michaels and Jason Overdorff) have been delivering top-of-the-line films with local artists at the center.

“A good way to sum it all up is it’s providing a platform for local artists to showcase their live performances. At the end of the day, that’s behind everything,” Stocks said. Concert films are often recorded concerts, audience and all, so the pandemic both forced and allowed some re-imagination in the form.

LFS was “leaning into the fact that you can’t play at a venue,” Kuritz said. “Kind of blowing up the whole venue thing and bringing live music to people in a unique way.” Live From Somewhere’s twist was to revamp the “somewhere” with clever choices of setting, “shooting in locations that you wouldn’t expect to see a performance,” Stocks said.

From their first set, which took place in an empty lot at sunset, the crew’s clever use of space coupled with high quality has made their videos engaging and set them apart. The venue becomes part of the character of the film, often coming right out of the artist’s mind.

“We sit down with the artists,” Kuritz said. “And we talk about, if you could perform anywhere, where would you want to perform?” Through creative collaboration between the artist and the team, they get brilliant results like Uh Oh and the Oh Wells’ foggy wooded set and John MF Ward’s performance on the stairs in the Fox Theater downtown.

Even when they took to an actual stage with band Civiliance, the team was keen to flip the scene on its head. Once again in the Fox, they filmed with “the band arranged all facing each other on the stage, with different lighting and the venue as the backdrop,” Stocks said.

With a successful first series of episodes available online (see below), the team at LFS turned their attention toward the future, in a world where live music is again becoming an option, albeit slowly and with some uncertainty.

For the upcoming second series, they want to maintain their clever use of space and setting, but also focus on “giving the crowd that kind of look behind the performance, getting to know any stories behind songs or to know the band,” Kuritz said.

And focusing on “insight into the people who are putting the time, energy, resources and money into creating and presenting,” Stocks added.

After all, it’s those people who Kuritz, Stocks and the crew are trying to support. Stocks is a longtime performing musician, a vantage that lets him see the importance of his work. “Finding this opportunity to be able to maybe help others on their journey almost feels, dare I say, more rewarding than chasing the dream on the other side in the band,” he said.

In the short run, Live From Somewhere is excited to announce its first concert in series two. It’ll be opening strong with local post-hardcore group Ghost Heart. “They’re gonna be one of the heavier artists that we will have had on the show,” Stocks said.

LFS also plans to host an event at Magic Lantern Theater, a concert in a movie theater featuring Heat Speak and Rosie Cerquone. “It’s going to be a different atmosphere. Still sticking true to the unique stages,” Kuritz said.

“It’s gonna be indie theater and local music, both worlds coming together,” Stocks added.

To see the videos in their first series, follow Live From Somewhere on Facebook and Instagram @LFSNW, and visit its YouTube. The LFS: Magic Lantern Concert Series’ inaugural event is 5 p.m. Jan. 23 at Magic Lantern Theater, 25 W. Main Ave. Tickets are available at magiclanternonmain.com.

Julien A. Luebbers can be reached at julien.luebbers@gmail.com.

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