Last year, I wrote a column detailing a few things that often peeve musicians. Speaking from my own experience, I listed annoyances such as being told to play for “exposure,” being told how good one’s cousin is at guitar and being told to play “Africa” by Toto.

Right now, I would love to be playing “Africa” on stage for free while someone screams “my cousin can play it better!”

There are many, many reasons why 2020 is a burning dumpster of a year. For me, one of the biggest reasons is because of the lack of live music.

If you’re a musician, your week is the 30 minutes you have on stage Saturday night. The other 10,050 minutes essentially are filler.

I used to have my qualms about playing live shows. There were the moody sound guys, the amount of waiting around in the van on the way to the gig, the ambivalent crowds, the strain of carrying massive amps onto stages and the drink ticket debacles.

Now, I’d give anything for a sore back and a mean look from a guy twisting knobs.

Sure, I can still play music at home. But really, there’s only one place where I am welcome to adjust my amp’s volume knob to satisfactory setting: A music venue. Otherwise, I’m a “bad neighbor” and I’m “disturbing the peace.”

I swear, some people just have no taste.

I also sorely miss attending shows. I used to feel a bit claustrophobic about being in large crowds, but I always knew there’s a certain magic that can only be conjured at a concert. It’s the only place besides church where a large group of people can gather in the same room and sing off-key together in unison.

You may have nothing in common with the person next to you at a concert, but when the music is blaring, nothing else really matters. I’ll risk having a few drinks spilled on my shoes for that.

With all the devastation that has occurred this year, the loss of live music is a minor quibble by comparison. But when it comes down to it, concerts are an opportunity to let go of your problems for a few hours. And boy do we all need that right now.

Andrew Critchelow can be reached at 270-505-1746 or