Destination / In Residence

On Patti Smith and the online gigs to watch this weekend

I’ll be honest, Monday morning was tough. Waking up to another week of uncertainty, the kind of implacable anxiety that retreats, heavy, to your insides even when your consciousness is convincing itself that everything is alright. Afraid of being alone with my thoughts, I (inadvisably) skipped meditation – opting (also, obviously, inadvisably) to scroll Instagram. I received a notification: Patti Smith is going live.

This was the first time I’d even been to a Patti Smith gig, but much more, I was watching her in her living room (or, perhaps, her daughter Jessie’s). The phone, they told us, was propped on a box of oatmeal. There was Patti’s singing voice – strong and deep in the face of collective uncertainty. There Jesse’s piano. There was poetry. But also, there was intimacy. There was other-daughter chatter and the fact that Patti kept getting phone calls, noting that, until then, no one had called all day.

“We’re trying to figure out new ways of feeling things,” said Jesse. That morning, I felt something. And despite everything else, the feeling was good.

With live venues closing and gigs being cancelled all over the world, what we can do is keep supporting artists: streaming, buying records, buying merch, donating, and finding new ways, always. Because, hell, they’re supporting us. It’s like Smith once said, “I’m here right now and I want now to be the Golden Age …” The time to evolve, the time to expand – the time to flower – is now. 

Below, we’ve rounded up the best online gigs to watch this weekend – and some you might have missed. (Which you can still watch, because it’s the internet.) Share love and music, and donate where you can.

Isol-Aid Festival

An impressive Instagram Live festival returning for the second time this weekend. You can attend but tuning into the artists’ Instagram pages at the times listed on the line-up. Marlon Williams, Courtney Barnett, Jen Cloher: take your pick.

Patti Smith

This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this: Patti Smith’s Instagram brings me much joy and peace. Wise and in touch with her inner life, she feels like the right kind of person to guide us through these times. Tune in to catch her going live, or see her reading poetry on her feed.

Kim Gordon

Patti Smith is not the only icon to bless us with her musical talents via her personal account. Kim Gordon playing regularly on Instagram TV. Her blurred visuals (interrupted by the occasional smiling selfie – damn she looks cool) make us feel calm and strong. 

Christine And The Queens

Has gone live to sing for us once, and teased that she will again. Stay tuned. 

James Blake

For anyone who missed him covering Frank Ocean and Radiohead via his Instagram Live gig, just know that you can still watch via IGTV – and that he’s noted there will be a next time. We’ll be here with updates.