March 1, 2024

COVID-Proof Platforms for Local Musicians & the Listeners Who Love Them

Stuff We Love
By Ross Boissoneau | Aug. 7, 2021

 When COVID struck, Nate VerBerkmoes and his longtime pal Dan Smiddy (i.e., Sideshow Nate and Dan Strait) came up with an idea: Why not expand their South of the Straits podcast about Michigan music, comedy, and “all around Michigan BADASSERY” — to include a concert component? They were, after all, already offering bands a chance to come in, chat, and play a couple songs in their recording space at Andy Van Guilder’s engineering/production spot in Traverse City, AV Studios.

“We’d been looking for a way to bring more people into the studio,” VerBerkmoes tells Northern Express. “We said, ‘Let’s create a virtual venue.’ It was born out of COVID.” They’ve since been offering Michigan bands an opportunity to perform an hour-long streamed concert. While several local bands and artists have taken them up on the change to perform, VerBerkmoes thinks the onset of fall and threat posed by the Delta variant means they’ll draw interest from even more artists. The next show is Aug. 22 with Chelsea Marsh and the band Smokehowl.

Want to play a gig on their podcast? Email Want to listen? A new South of the Straits podcast streams 7pm–9pm every on their YouTube channel, where you can also see and hear previous shows and dozens more recordings of Dan and Nate’s wacky shenanigans. See


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