Alumni play concerts on Tate Street at ‘Rooftober’ Fridays

Posted on October 19, 2020

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Tate Street Coffee typically hosts music nights, but for COVID-19 safety reasons, has kept operations to a minimum. Oct 23 and 30, however, at 3 p.m., TSC will host alumni bands on the roof for two free concerts that can be enjoyed distantly. Photo taken in 2019.

Two Friday afternoons this month, UNC Greensboro alumni will give free, socially-distant concerts from an unusual location: the roof of Tate Street Coffee.

The concerts will be called “Rooftoberfest,” presented 3-5 p.m. on Oct. 23 and Oct. 30.

Tate Street Coffee has begun serving drinks again, but with limited seating space, and regular and special events that ordinarily take place there are on pause.

To make up for the absence of the typical lively scene at TSC, owner Matt Russ ’87 had the idea to invite several bands to play on the roof. Viva La Muerte, led by PhD student and alumnus Matt Armstrong; The Grand Ole Uproar, led by Josh Watson ’08 MFA; and the Tate Street Jazz Band will perform.

“Like everybody, I haven’t been to a musical event in a long time, and I love live music,” said Russ. “So, I thought, now that we’re in this new phase, what can we do that’s fun? I’ve always had an over-romanticized vision of the Beatles’ last concert from the top of Apple Records…John Lennon wearing the big fur coat… And someone reached out about playing in the store, but we didn’t want to go with live music in the store at this point… So, I thought, how can we do this? Finally, I connected those dots and said: let’s do something on the roof. So, I saw an email from Viva La Muerte and I thought about those guys, and then I saw Josh, and I like the sound of his Grand Ole Uproar, and a couple of the guys who work in the store are music students, Evan and Greg, and they play jazz, so I asked them to play also. I thought we could all have a little fun on Friday afternoon, in a way that’s socially distanced.”

Both shows will be at 3 p.m. on Friday, with Viva La Muerte and Corby Brook on Oct. 23, and The Grand Ole Uproar and the Tate Street Jazz Band on Oct. 30.

UNCG PhD student John Crocker and alumnus Taylor Coldiron will join Armstrong and alumna songwriter Laura Jane Vincent will join Watson.

Russ says listeners might take a seat somewhere around the Brown Building for the concerts or stroll distantly around the neighborhood.

“I hope everyone will get a little kick, he adds. “I think we all have our nose to the grindstone, and maybe this will be a little novelty to your Friday afternoon ‒ bring smile to your face, joy to your spirit. Live music is a salve for our collective souls, and I think we can use it. I hope we can all take a break and remember what live music does for us.”

Story by Susan Kirby-Smith, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications


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