Subdued Streams

Hello, 2020

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

It used to be that when someone would livestream their music it would barely register on my radar of must-see music. I’m not casting aspersions on the livestreamers of yore—in hindsight, they were ahead of their time—it’s more that with such an abundance of live music to be seen in real life, livestreams seemed to be geared more toward granting access to music for people who weren’t able to leave the house for one reason or another.

Hello, 2020.

It also used to be that when I’d click on my Facebook Events tab, I could scroll and scroll without ever reaching the end of the entertainment options available to me. Remember when people used to complain about being invited to too many events at once and inquire about how to turn off event notifications?

Those were some heady times.

Which is not to say my Events scroll is barren these days. It’s not—there are events there. Two of them, to be exact. Since one of them requires me to do things like not wear pajamas and leave my house for more than just the 20-foot stroll to my mailbox, it’s safe to say there’s really only one event in my queue.

But it’s a good one and it will hopefully lead to future events of similar ilk.

Rewinding a little, if you’ve lived in Bellingham for any length of time, it’s likely you’ve met Kevin Robinson at some point. Like just about everyone here, he’s a musician, and he was also a fixture at Avalon Records and Merch-Bot. Along with being unfailingly friendly and upbeat, he’s that breed of people who fall into the category of “music nerd.” In spring 2019, he took that knowledge and experience and opened Subdued Studios with Jeremy Eckley, who has music nerd lineage all his own, but keeps a slightly lower profile.

Subdued Studios offers three soundproofed rehearsal spaces, complete with sound setups, and spent its first year drawing a variety of local bands, musicians and podcasters to practice and record using both word of mouth and innovative events such as “musicians speed-dating” that was like musical chairs, but with the people in the chairs making the music.

I bet you can guess what happened next—yep, COVID-19.

Because of the way Subdued Studios is set up, with its rooms siloed off from one another making the space simpler to sanitize, they’ve been able to continue operating.

And they’ve also decided to use their space to entertain us, which brings me to one of the two events in my FB lineup. It’s called “Subdued Sessions” and it’s exactly what it sounds like: a series of livestreamed concerts from Subdued Studios.

Well, it hopes to be a series. To put a finer point on it, I hope it will be a series as does Kevin, but first they’ve got to try it out and see if it fits.

The kickoff happens at 7:30pm Fri, Oct. 30 in partnership with Rune Signal Media. Keven refers to it as a “test run” and to make the learning curve easier to navigate, his own band, the Toad Mortons, will act as self-described “guinea pigs.” While Kevin may have his hands full playing the show as well as working behind the scenes to iron out any kinks that may arise, being an audience member is as simple as going to and clicking on the “Subdued Streams” tab. From there, you can not only watch the show, but you can also talk to the other folks in attendance via a handy chat window. If you get someone to spill a drink on you while they shout something incomprehensible in your ear while the band is playing, you can pretty well simulate the full show-going experience. Provided you have changed out of your pajamas, that is.

For more information about Subdued Studios, find them at

More ...
Robert Blake
From the kitchen table

Everyone has adapted to our curtailed COVID existence in different ways. Some of us stockpiled food, fed sourdough starters and embraced our inner Betty Crocker. Some of us cleaned out our closets, started a workout regimen and dedicated ourselves to healthy self-improvement. Others of us…

more »
It’s a SMASH
Of hope and health care

When the group of community-minded musicians who formed Seattle Musicians Access to Sustainable Healthcare—or SMASH, as it is known—first appeared on the music scene, their goals were lofty, but they were smart enough to start small. Their long-term plan was to find a way to provide health…

more »
Endangered Species
Saving the Wild Buffalo

Every time I’ve heard Craig Jewell talk about owning the Wild Buffalo, he always says the same thing, “I am one of the lucky ones that gets the rare chance to do exactly what I want to do for my career. There truly isn’t anything else in the world I would rather do other than be…

more »