By ROB DUGUAY For the past couple of months, COVID-19 has forced people from various walks of life to make adjustments. Folks who usually work in an office have been bringing the office home, restaurant employees have been taking their dishes out to the
For the past couple of months, COVID-19 has forced people from various walks of life to make adjustments. Folks who usually work in an office have been bringing the office home, restaurant employees have been taking their dishes out to the sidewalk or back patio, and we all have been practicing social distancing with the hope of giving a loved one a hug once this pandemic has passed.
As examined by this publication before, musicians all over the globe have been going the livestreaming route to either make a little bit of money or raise funds for organizations helping the afflicted.
MadCap Monday, which usually takes place on a weekly basis at Dusk, located at 301 Harris Ave. in Providence, has been taking livestreaming to a whole new level by bringing its unique open mic online since the virus shut everything down in March. It’s a positive experience showcasing musicians, poets and other creative types from Rhode Island and beyond through short performances.
MadCap began when “Master of Madcappery” Nate Cozzolino, who is a full-time musician currently living in Warwick, started an open mic on Mondays back in 2014 at The Spot, which used to be located at 101 Richmond St. in Providence. As time went on, the open mic nurtured a community with regulars showing up consistently to begin their week by either performing or being entertained. That community with MadCap is still there despite going into a new medium.
“For me the coolest thing about livestreaming MadCap is how it’s encouraged us to really branch out content wise,” Cozzolino said of the new format. “I’ve been showing off home projects like my rock wall, doing segments where I talk about cool fortune cookie fortunes taped to lighters and even an etymological segment devoted to the interesting origins of words. It’s definitely been a great impetus to diversify our material. That being said, I think we’re all fiending for some MadCap in the flesh as well. I hope that happens soon.”
Hosting the stream and handling the controls is East Providence’s Nic “Supe” Hallenbeck, who is also an experienced sound engineer and the bassist for the Providence folk-jam band Nobody’s Boyscout. Oftentimes you can see Hallenbeck expressing his wit, conveying some wisdom and introducing the performances that are part of the digital open mic.
“Personally, the vacuum without MadCap was felt immediately,” Hallenbeck said about the shift in setting after the shutdown. “Both Nate and I knew we had to go online, and the community was enthusiastic about the idea. It’s been a rough road admittedly, working with technology and using it in ways it may not actually be meant to and the fickle nature of streaming in general. We typically can work out problems fairly easily and the show usually goes pretty smoothly. The harshest part is the separation, Nate and I can’t be next to each other most nights as we would be during in-person MadCap.”
He added: “There is no audience to face directly, and anyone who has been to a MadCap knows the audience is a major part of the evening. Trying to keep the interactivity and intimate feel of the night has become the biggest challenge and something we discuss regularly. As a show, I enjoy the online version of MadCap. It does give a certain type of fulfillment and I think it’s helping keep the community alive during these changing times. With that being said, I look forward to the next in-person MadCap. There really is nothing like the gathering that is MadCap Monday.”
One of the regular performers on the livestream has been Warwick native Carolyn Smith, who is part of the Providence acoustic duo Obsidian State Of Mind. Like Cozzolino and Hallenbeck, she’s grateful for the current experience but she’s also looking forward to the return of live music.
“It’s so awesome to feel engaged in the overall experience,” she said about being part of the weekly series. “Especially since they’ve been able to work out the details of turning it into one flawless stream. That way you’re not trying to find where the next stream is coming from and you can just relax. It’s nice to see all the familiar faces though we can’t be together in person. Hopefully we can expect some type of return of live music and open mics once the third phase of reopening Rhode Island hits in July.”
Checking out MadCap’s weekly livestream is pretty simple. All you have to do is log on to its Facebook page at facebook.com/madcapmonday on Mondays at 8 p.m. It’s also completely free, so just sit back and relax while watching what’s going on.
We all could use some music in our lives, so why not indulge in some to start the week off? Make sure to tune in for a cavalcade of creativity from an eclectic community.