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Philly has had its share of notable bands, but only one that’s gotten the nod from Bruce Springsteen, Sir Elton John, and President Barack Obama: Low Cut Connie.
Fronted by South Jersey native Adam Weiner and based in South Philadelphia, the piano-forward rock outfit’s live shows are sweaty and boisterous, for performers and audience alike. Onstage, Weiner sings, dances on top of his piano bench, strips off layer after layer of clothing, pulls fans onstage to dance and envelops them in clammy hugs.
The shows feel big—and it’s not just the number of musicians (half a dozen or more) backing Weiner, or the enthusiastic fans dancing beside him. Watching the band perform at Union Transfer late last year, it was impossible for me to imagine how a smaller space could contain their energy.
Not feeling boxed in
Low Cut Connie has toured the world, releasing five albums since its formation in 2010, with a sixth on the way later this year (the video for the first single, “Private Lives,” drops next week). Any other year, that would mean it’s time to start preparing for a tour. “But this year I ain’t going nowhere,” Weiner tells me when I connect with him via videoconference. “I did a solo tour in January and February that I had no idea would be my last tour for a long time.” And that’s how the Low Cut Connie presents: "Live From South Philly" series of live-streamed performances was born.
It was Weiner’s publicist and manager who first suggested he take his act to social media. Weiner admits he was initially skeptical. “I’m used to getting on stage and giving 100 percent and messing up people’s hair and getting everybody to dance. How are we going to get that action communicated on a cell phone in my bedroom?”
Whereas other musicians who are live-streaming during quarantine sit behind their pianos or guitars and sing into an unmoving camera, Weiner performs. During that first hour-long live-stream, in which he was also accompanied by guitarist Will Donnelly, the spare bedroom of his South Philly home became a stage, with Weiner gyrating and stripping and using his piano as a prop as well as an instrument.
Shaking it up
When it was over, Weiner asked his team whether people tuned in. “I found out we hit about 80 thousand views in 24 hours. I said, ‘Did they like it?’ and over the next hour we all just sat here, amazed and emotional reading all the comments and photos and messages people were sending us.” Among these messages, photos of hospital staff watching the stream from an emergency room. They hung someone’s phone from a wall, “and all the doctors and nurses, as they would walk by, would kind of ‘shake it little Tina,’” Weiner recounts, referencing a song from Low Cut Connie’s 2015 album, Hi Honey.
Weiner, whose brother is a doctor, was inspired by what he saw and read, and decided: “I have to do this as long as people have any kind of desire to see me do this.” Since then, Weiner has gone live twice a week—Thursdays and Saturdays at 6pm.
As for that first Philadelphia Low Cut Connie show after quarantine? “I think it’s gonna be the most beautiful show. The thing I’m proudest of with the band is these deep connections people make with each other at our shows and through the music, and it’s gonna be an easy show. I’m just gonna be able to sorta lay back and ride the wave, because people are gonna show up ready to get down.”
What, When, Where
Low Cut Connie presents: "Live From South Philly," streams on Facebook and Instagram on Thursdays and Saturdays at 6pm, through at least the end of social distancing restrictions. Shot in Old City, the video for the eponymous first single from Low Cut Connie’s upcoming album, Private Lives, premieres April 21.
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