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How a NYC guitarist turned her emergency staircase into a wild music venue

Call it the stairs to heaven.

Guitarist Jill Fiore, who lives in the Lower East Side, is accustomed to playing in downtown venues such as Bowery Electric and Berlin. But now that they’re closed, she’s even planning a gig at a local location: the emergency staircase in her upstairs apartment on Essex Street.

Last Saturday, she gave a concert for an audience of about 75 people gathered between Grand Street and Hester Street and sang to the cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” “It was a moment of connection between New Yorkers,” Fiore said.

She encouraged attendees to get a takeaway drink at a nearby bar or a liquor store like Delancey Wine, and demanded that they “wear a mask or face cover.”

Jill Fiore Concert
Jill Fiore ConcertStephen Yang

Fiore has decided to start playing outside after being infected with COVID-19 in late March. Initially, she was afraid that she wouldn’t have the lungs to sing again.

“On the 11th day of quarantine, I finally got the energy to crawl the emergency stairs — and I was relieved,” said the 47-year-old. “Then I decided to put my music first.”

She used to sing with a group of Lovely and Lady Jane, but Fiore didn’t have a band at the time. “We started forming a new band before the pandemic happened,” she said, but she was forced to suspend the plan until October.

Jill Fiore Concert
Jill Fiore ConcertStephen Yang

At that time, her first emergency staircase show (promoted as “Fiore Escape”) attracted about 50 concert attendees lined up along the fence of Seward Park opposite the apartment and was her most popular. I listened to the original songs such as “Nobody”. The cover of “Love’s Me Like I Do” and PJ Harvey’s “This Is Love”.

She poses with bassist Jason Taylor, saxophonist Dave Spinley, and a guitarist simply known as Baron in her apartment’s pink LED-lit windows and adjacent pads to show her emergency staircase. I participated in. “The neighbors were kind,” Fiore said.

When it comes to roadies, Fiore is doing well with the help of his friends. Her mic stand comes from the local LES and haunts the Old Man Hustle Comedy Club. A nearby cafe lent a bench to passers-by. Flowers Cafe provided guests with hand sanitizers.

Jill Fiore Concert
Jill Fiore ConcertStephen Yang

She also tapped an acoustic engineering companion to enhance the acoustics.

Fiore still doesn’t know when the next show will be, but wants to play another show before the winter freeze begins. The singer is already planning an emergency staircase concert at “The First Incling of Spring”. It’s also the time when her EP will be released.

“My biggest challenge is manipulating the weather,” she said. “Anyway, there will definitely be something else.”



How a NYC guitarist turned her emergency staircase into a wild music venue

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