Intimate concert venues to strengthen Lansing’s music community

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A warmly lit, wood-paneled room furnished with plump leather couches and a taxidermied moose above a stone fireplace makes for an unlikely concert venue.  

But a venue it was, if only for the evening.

Lansing Living Room Sessions coordinated the concert with the Michigan Wildlife Center on Saturday night, allowing two local musicians the platform to share their music in a communal way. 

This personalized concert style is something the Living Room Sessions is trying to normalize, as inspired by the Lisbon Living Room Sessions in Portugal.  

Basically, it aims to create an uninhibited musical experience by bringing artists and listeners closer together in a more intimate space: living rooms, basements and other places that make you feel right at home, said Jon Pohl, a curator at Lansing Living Room Sessions.

Pohl sees this way of music delivery as a way to “elevate the arts” in a special way.  

“It’s my belief that we’re fully living out our humanity when we’re being creative,” Pohl said. 

Lansing Living Room Sessions began in November 2019 and had coordinated only three shows before the pandemic put it on pause, Pohl said. Last August, it resumed and now organizes a show per month. 

Lucas Powell, a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist musician, and Konstantin Polyakov, a guitarist and singer, performed on Saturday March 19, and highlighted the communal aspect of the house show performance style. 

“I want there to be a great music community in Lansing,” said Powell.

Powell said a close-knit music community is something Lansing is lacking, which forces artists out of the area in search for better platforms. He said Lansing Living Room Sessions is helping foster a crucial sense of community.

Joshua Wilson, a board member of the Michigan Wildlife Center where the concert was held, says the center will be more than willing to coordinate more shows with the Lansing Living Room Sessions. 

Lansing Living Room Sessions are typically held in houses and other cozy venues around the Lansing area, and the next show will be April 16 with Olivia Van Goor, a Detroit-based jazz vocalist. The location and time of the performance have yet to be announced.  

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