Avondale Brewing Company says “Okey Dokey” to socially distanced shows in Birmingham

Avondale Brewing Company says “Okey Dokey” to socially distanced shows in Birmingham
Okey Dokey’s lead singer Aaron Martin sang to a reduced capacity audience at Avondale Brewing Co. Photo via Libby Foster for Bama Buzz

Avondale Brewing Company in Birmingham has officially reopened for live music, and I was able to catch one of their first shows of the year this weekend. Here’s what I thought about attending a socially distant concert.

Social Distance? No problem.

Resort Realism Played Songs From Their Record Set To Be Released April 16Th. Photo Via Libby Foster For Bama Buzz
Resort Realism played new songs from their record set to be released April 16th. Photo via Libby Foster for Bama Buzz

On Saturday night, March 27th, Avondale Brewing Company hosted two indie bands for a concert at their brewery in Birmingham—Okey Dokey and Resort Realism. With limited attendence, a comfortable spacing of 6 feet between tables and more, the event lived up to Avondale’s promise of social distancing.

I could feel positive energy throughout the grassy performance space before the show began. As Resort Realism warmed up, heads bobbed and children danced in hoola hoops. The band’s downtempo lofi was a perfect soundtrack for an Avondale sunset.

A warm wind blew through my hair. I felt safe and excited to enjoy live music again. 

Resort Realism is a Birmingham band through and through. They took the stage accompanied by local musicians Nick Recio and Gary Wheat. I loved Wheat’s instrumentalization: his saxophone added a groove to the band’s lofi style. 

Local Saxophonist Gary Wheats Joined Resort Realism For Their Set. Photo Via Libby Foster For Bama Buzz
Local saxophonist Gary Wheats joined Resort Realism for their set. Photo via Libby Foster for Bama Buzz

The front of Avondale’s expansive stage was empty aside from another photographer. Although an empty front row would be an embarrassment in the pre-COVID world, things are different now. Everyone was happy to enjoy a show again from their spaced out tables, myself included. 

The crowd grew in the moments before Okey Dokey took the stage. More people moved to the front of the venue, but most kept to their own groups. 

Okey Dokey takes the Stage

The Crowd For Okey Dokey'S Set At Avondale Brewing Co. Photo Via Libby Foster For Bama Buzz
The crowd for Okey Dokey’s set at Avondale Brewing Co. Photo via Libby Foster for Bama Buzz

I cheered along with the crowd as Okey Dokey skipped onto stage. Aaron Martin, lead singer for the five-piece band, sang “Birmingham, Birmingham, best city in Alabam’” in his signature upbeat twang. 

The band played in front of a visualization of a lake bordered by rolling mountains and performed new releases and crowd favorites like “Threw My Love Away.”  I felt a rush of spontaneity and serotonin, the kind that only live shows can provide. 

Birmingham Indie Band Resort Realism Warmed Up For Their Set In Front Of A Socially Distanced Audience. Photo Via Libby Foster For Bama Buzz
Birmingham indie band Resort Realism warmed up for their set in front of a socially distanced audience. Photo via Libby Foster for Bama Buzz

By the time Okey Dokey played their biggest hit, “Wavy Gravy,” I felt ecstatic. I sang along in the open-air pit while keeping my distance. Aaron Martin extended his mic stand and handed it to a lucky audience member. His voice sounded more genuine and emotional live.  

Okey Dokey rounded out the show with psychedelic graphics and a new release. It was the first good concert I’d seen in a year. I felt grateful for the experience and excited for the future as the lights faded. 

Okey Dokey'S Colorful Graphics Kept Their Audience Engaged Throughout Their Set. Photo Via Libby Foster For Bama Buzz
Okey Dokey’s colorful graphics kept their audience engaged throughout their set. Photo via Libby Foster for Bama Buzz

Resort Realism and Okey Dokey were similarly optimistic after the show. Crawford King, the keyboardist for Resort Realism, predicted that the Birmingham scene “is about to pop off” with more venues reopening. 

Aaron Martin agreed. “The initial scene has broken ground. It’s starting to happen,” said Martin. 

Avondale Brewing Co. has more shows scheduled for the summer, and I will definitely be returning soon.

Have you attended a socially-distant concert at Avondale Brewing? Tag us @thebamabuzz to let us know what you thought!

For more information on Birmingham’s music scene, check out https://bhamnow.com/bhamn-event/euphonious-music-festival/.

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Libby Foster
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