The Sky Colony

A virtual farewell

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

I’d like to say that I’ve spent this now six months since COVID-19 officially became a pandemic immersed in self-improvement.

But I haven’t.

Though I have eaten bread, I haven’t baked a single loaf. Hell, for the first couple of months I didn’t cook anything at all. If it couldn’t be microwaved or poured into a bowl and drowned in milk, I didn’t eat it. I haven’t written letters, learned a language, cleaned out my closet, started a yoga practice, figured out how to cut my own hair, organized my cupboards, made a budget, or grown a single vegetable.

My bed doesn’t even have a sheet on it right now. It’s just bare mattress and a comforter I’ve been meaning to wash.

But there is one lesson COVID is teaching me—and it’s the same one we’re all learning: How to say goodbye to that which we love.

For every scrappy business that retools and adapts to our new reality, there’s one that doesn’t have enough resources or reserves to do so. For every friend who gets their job back, there’s one that has to move home to make ends meet. And that doesn’t even touch the real cost of COVID, which is in the nearly 850,000 lives lost, a number so staggering it is nearly impossible to comprehend.

However, one of the strange realities of our closed-down society is that, in many cases, we won’t know what we’ve lost until everything opens back up. That’s certainly true of those businesses—music venues and theaters among them—that are hunkered down, just hoping to wait it out, praying for some form of financial relief to help them make it through (I’ve written about it a time or 10).

The same goes for bands. While some of them can still practice, under the right circumstances and with precautions in place, they have nothing to practice for. They can’t play shows and can’t tour. Sure, they can—and do—livestream, which is pretty great, but this is a watershed moment for many of them as well.

The Sky Colony, Skagit County’s foremost dream folk band, has decided they’re not going to wait this one out. Although they’ve been a staple in Skagit and beyond for several years now and enjoyed a fair amount of regional success despite a persistent rumor they’re a Christian band (they’re not, they’re just very earnest), COVID forced a final hand in a game they’ve accepted they’ll probably lose.

In other words, they’re calling it quits.

“The Sky Colony were already having hard times as a band entity,” they said in a statement. “Many friend-band-businesses with likewise moderate successes were calling it quits due to lack of all-around ticket and merch sales, and then the paradigm of the music world was completely decimated along with many other aspects of the ‘old world.’ Being attuned to the way things were heading, we were, in full honesty, ready to let it go.”

Most bands that have been around as long as the Sky Colony has—and worked as hard as they have while earning the support of a dedicated fan base—don’t like to simply wander off into the sunset. Instead, they want to go out with a big musical bang, which, in typical times, would come in the form of a final show, one that would likely sell out and make them wonder if they were doing the right thing in quitting.

And so it goes for the Sky Colony.

Since no one can do anything the normal way in these abnormal times, they’ll be streaming their swan song, and they’ll do it from one of the coolest stages around, at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre. The historic space is perfectly suited to the band’s from-a-simpler-time-and-place vibe, and under typical circumstances, every seat in the house would be occupied to give them the goodbye they’ve earned after all this time.

However, we can still show them our support by watching their livestreamed concert at 7:30pm Sat., Sept. 12 on YouTube and donating some dollars to send them on their way.

As is fitting a farewell concert, the Sky Colony has more up their collective sleeve than just a few songs. They’ll be carefully culling their set list down to their strongest stuff and weaving the night together with stories and recollections from their eight-plus years of existence. They’re even throwing in something new for the occasion.

“This virtual show will feature an hour set, 10 songs selected from our entire catalogue, with verbal memories and connections from the band,” they said, “ending with a perfect finale of a song never released, ‘This Is It.’”

As final songs go, “This Is It” might just be the perfect title for the times in which we now find ourselves.

Although the show marks the end of the line for the Sky Colony, it heralds a beginning of sorts for the Lincoln Theatre itself. The concert will kick off a “Live from the Lincoln” virtual concert series, the details of which will be announced following the Sky Colony’s appearance. All of the shows will be livestreamed with donations being split between the performers and the Lincoln Theatre Center Foundation.

According to executive director and Lincoln Theatre guiding light Roger Gietzen, room remains in the schedule, so if your band would like to play the series, get out to him and snag a spot before the calendar is full. Something tells me you’ll have a captive audience when your time comes to go Live from the Lincoln.

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