Buffalo, NY—He’s raved with Iggy Pop, hung out with Bruce Springsteen and rolicked with Alice Cooper, but local rock fan Daryl Brothers will be sheltering in place as Covid-19 rips through the U.S. putting an end to the upcoming summer concert season.
The pandemic became real for Brothers when the South-by-Southwest (SXSW) music festival in Austin, Texas slated to go off March 13-22, was canceled. In the last twenty-two years Brothers has only missed the event twice—once because of work and once in 2012 because festival organizers booked those inauthentic, Maroon 5, wannabes Imagine Dragons. “ Little imagine man, Dan Reynolds probably had a business plan when he put the band together,” said Brothers. “You think Ozzy had a business plan when he formed Black Sabbath? Hell no. I wasn’t having that bullshit.”
Attempting to compensate for the canceled festival Brothers has been streaming remote sets of SXSW artists, like Kurt Vile through a screen in his garage. He’s been jumping around, woo-hooing and giving imaginary high-fives to pretend rock fans who aren’t there in appreciation of the songs. But it’s just not the same. “It’s really disappointing,” said Brothers. “ I got myself in really great shape this past winter doing planks, burpees, crunches and a good deal of yoga. I feel as good as I did in ‘95 when I body surfed and generally owned the mosh pit at Pearl Jam shows all over the country.
Another event Brothers won’t be attending is the Luck Reunion at Willie Nelson’s ranch in Luck, Texas right after SXSW. There were a few Canadian shows he was going to see in Hamilton and St. Catherines: Glorious Sons, Sloan and the big Neil Peart tribute Memorial Day weekend. The concert he is really upset about not being able to catch is Lucy Dacus-Conor Oberst, which was scheduled for June 14th at Artpark in Lewiston, N.Y.
Brothers explained that the lonely, desperate songs of Conor Oberst always brought him back to his teen years when he felt quite afraid and isolated. Prior to seeing an Oberst show Brothers says he will read books of his formative years: Leaving Jackson Wolf, Catcher In The Rye and his favorite, The Outsiders. With a certain amount of wistfulness Brothers says, “I know all of my friends think of me as the cool tough guy, Dallas, from the book, but deep down I’m really sensitive and fragile like Pony Boy.” Becoming a little misty eyed he rhetorically asks, “Is it so wrong for a man to feel things? Is it so wrong for a man to cry?”
A moment passes before Brothers’ brave face returns. He opens the photo gallery on his phone and scrolls through some pics. When he lands on one of himself and Replacements’ legend Paul Westerberg , he says, “Those were some good times and you know what Uncle Neil Young said: Hey hey my my/ Rock and Roll can never die. It’ll be back. I’ll be back.”