As Boston musician Will Dailey performs in an abandoned farm, a “Do Not Demolish” sign hangs on the wall adjacent to him. This lonely piece of décor epitomizes the music video project—Live from Nowhere—that captures local musicians performing in decrepit, undisclosed locations in Massachusetts.
Blending their passions for music, urban exploring, and videography, LFN founders Emily Graham-Handley and Nico Rivers spend hours trekking through the woods in search of abandoned structures fit for performances. Without the distractions and theatrics of conventional venues, the remote locations allow for extremely intimate acoustic sets and push the limits of performance spaces. For artists like Dailey who emphasize storytelling in their music, the abandoned spaces heighten the sense of closeness between the audience and musicians.
But what these places lack in theatrics, they make up for with their own kind of drama. Instead of stage lights, beams of sunlight stream through holes in the walls and broken windows and dead strands of ivy adorn the weathered exterior.
Clad in an Irish cap and a tweed jacket, Dailey’s aesthetic is a portrait of romanticized rural life. He performs “It Already Would Have Not Worked Out By Now,” from his album to be released sometime in winter. His lyrics describe a flight-length romance: “Remember us in jet streams / High on conversation / Strangers in the sky.” He humors the possibilities of a life with that person, but ultimately concludes that a future together would have already not worked out by the time they touch down. At the end of the song he rattles off a list of events that would go wrong in their relationship: “The taxes break, and I drink too much, and the bills pile up.” The neglected structure he stands in acts as a lucky metaphor for the love-struck daydreams he abandons in his lyrics.
Dailey’s luck didn’t end with the poetic connection between space and song, however. “Will’s shoot was filled with a lot of pitfalls,” Graham-Handley explained. “And serendipity,” Rivers added.
Filming live music in the middle of the woods is inherently a logistical nightmare. A lot of factors are left up to chance, but in the case of Dailey’s performance, luck was on their side. After losing the coordinates of the planned location the day before the shoot, Graham-Handley and Rivers decided to chance it and guess where the barn was, only to stumble upon a different, more interesting barn instead. “It was so lucky we lost that original pin because we would have just walked toward the stable and missed this barn,” Graham-Handley explained.
There are stripped-down sets, and then there are LFN performances. Accompanied by the bare minimum and cast in broad daylight, Dailey’s video showcases his unembellished talent, and achieves LFN’s goal of redefining performance space and appreciating naturally talented musicians.