It wasn’t until well after the show began that I realized how right it felt: an after-hours new-music show. With a bar. Why hasn’t this format taken off? Why does the new music community (and the classical community, more broadly) stick to 8pm start times, with the occasional matinee thrown in? And, of course, the dreaded 7:30 start time, which exists solely for the purpose of making all your friends a half-hour late because every reasonable human being knows that Concerts Start at Eight.
The official start time for Innovocal Thursday night at the 92Y Tribeca, part of the SONiC Afterhours festival-within-a-festival, was 11pm, but the show took its time as the audience got their drinks from the bar and chatted each other up on their leisurely walk to the tables. Most of the audience appeared to be people associated with SONiC, or their friends, but rather than feeling like an insiders’ club, there was a genuinely warm social buzz in the room. It really did have the feel of a genuine after-hours show, the kind where band members shed all the main-stage formalities and just play a stripped down, relaxed set for their friends.