MISSOULA — The local music venues in Missoula are gearing up for their first shows of the summer season, and the first live shows in over a year.
“Bands are really hungry to play for a live audience, audiences are hungry for live music. We're hungry to host everything,” Free Cycles Executive Director Bob Giordano told MTN News.
At Free Cycles, a bike warehouse transforms into a music and event venue, but that’s not been an option for some time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Free Cycles has a concert tomorrow night, first one in a year-and-a-half and we're so excited to have people gather once again for a good social time,” Giordano said.
The local band Transcendental Express will be featured at Friday night’s return concert. “It's their first show as a five-piece. It's saxophone, drums, bass guitar, keyboard, they're a phenomenal, don't-miss band,” Giordano said.
Giordano said Free Cycles did not plan to hold live shows so soon but saw a positive trend with other places safely returning to normal -- and bands are reaching out to perform.
“We love bikes, we love music, we love gathering and helping people and getting people's help, so we're just blessed to be in Missoula and have the support of the whole community,” Giordano said.
Community support is mirrored at The Zootown Arts Community Center (ZACC). It also features a return of live music Friday night at the Show Room.
Christopher Baumann, ZACC Event Technician, Recording Engineer, and "local music liaison," told MTN News musicians are eager to get back to playing for live audiences.
“The really great thing is that we have been in contact with a lot of the bands through the pandemic by doing the Social Distance Sessions and a lot of those bands are the ones that we reached out to first when we were starting to book, but really it's just kind of coming, which is great," Baumann explained.
Throughout the pandemic, the venue hosted virtual concerts to keep performances going, but Friday marks the return of a live audience in the Show Room. Two local bands will play: New Old Future, described as indie rock, and Aggressive Pedestrian, described as garage punk.
“The ZACC is such a great space for creating like an epicenter for a scene, and there's so many different bands, and they all just kind of make sense together here,” Baumann said.
Though the Show Room at the ZACC is intended primarily for local artists, Baumann said plans to book out-of-town artists are in the works, with the ultimate goal to uplift the venue.
“Our focus has always been local first as we're a community center, but another awesome thing about having a space and being a community center is that providing, you know, chances to see bigger bands is part of our mission as well," Baumann said. "Getting local bands on those shows and sort of introducing things and just hopefully raising all of it up for everyone.”
These venues may continue to have capacity limits as health precautions, but for now, tickets are available and future concerts are coming.