Concerts in the Time of COVID / A Drive-In Experience with Bad Bad Hats and Beach Bunny

By: Josie Stahler

You read that right, concerts still exist in the time of COVID! On Friday, October 30, I had the opportunity to see Beach Bunny and Bad Bad Hats perform at the Boomers Stadium Lot in Schaumburg and experience the wonder of live music. This was especially unique, as right before the pandemic, Beach Bunny released their first album, Honeymoon, and weren’t able to complete their tour. With Beach Bunny having to postpone their first international performance, and Bad Bad Hats not being able to perform at Steadfast Music Festival, it was a relief to see that the bands found a solution to come back for a night of performing.

As soon as I heard that Beach Bunny and Bad Bad Hats booked a socially distanced drive-in concert, I convinced two of my friends to come with me. While neither of them had heard of the bands performing, they were both excited to hear some new music and just enjoy an evening out. When the evening arrived, we hopped into the car with nothing but some coffee and lawn chairs and went on our way. The lead up to the concert was just as fun, blasting music in the car as we drove, and laughing when we got a bit lost on our way to the venue. When we finally managed to find our way, a group of workers were there to greet and guide us into our designated spot. We parked with a six-foot distance from our neighbors, and immediately got to work on setting up our area. Some people were more crafty and brought fairy lights to decorate their cars, while we just set up a few lawn chairs. It was exciting not only to see other people, but to observe how they prepared to enjoy the concert. 

Photo via Zoe Prinds

Once Bad Bad Hats hit the stage, the crowd’s energy surged. People cheered and some even honked their car horns. They performed a handful of catchy tunes, including “Super America” and my personal favorite, “Midway.” Their set was full of airy and atmospheric songs that made you feel as if you were the main character  in a coming-of-age movie. We particularly loved Kerry Alexander’s hilarious commentary in between songs. She compared herself to a tube full of pizza and called our horn honkings “toot toots.” It’s safe to say that Kerry and her bandmates, Chris Hoge and Connor Davison, made Bad Bad Hats fans out of my friends and me.

After Bad Bad Hats’ opening and a small break between sets, Beach Bunny walked on stage with the greeting of excited screams and horn honks alike. Lili Trifilio, Matt Henkels, Anthony Vaccaro, and Jon Alvarado were dressed up in Halloween costumes and rocked the stage with their set. The bouncy surf-pop, mixed with rhythmic hints of rock, was  perfect  for dancing, though there were no walls of death at this performance. You could hear fans singing lyrics of heartbreak and strength along with Lili, as if saying, “We’re here.” It was an exhilarating moment in time for everyone, who all felt the longing for a crowd and music pulsing through their system. By the end, everyone was reluctant to leave.

Against all odds, everyone worked hard to make sure it was a fun and safe night. The Boomers crew diligently delivered merchandise right to the car through a text service, and also provided the option of car radio listening for those who did not  want to risk being out. Everyone wore their masks and danced their hearts out at a safe distance–it reminded me that no matter what we go through, humanity will always find ways to keep enjoying the things we love.

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