The EJ Isolation Sessions 1-8

David Cosma, Nick Carrafa and special guests

Live-streaming since March 26

David Cosma (left) and Nick Carrafa

One of the true joys to come out of this year of weirdness and difficulty has been to see the live-streaming music scene grow like a meadow of glorious dandelions on a paddock of manure.

We have seen musicians out of their usual performance habitats in all sorts of ways but often and paradoxically in their most natural setting: home.

Some have pulled it off better than others though, and in a field that grew more crowded as the pandemic has hit harder and rolled on, the EJ Isolation Sessions (by much-loved Melbourne music scene stayers David Cosma and Nick Carrafa) stand out for getting there early and with style.

Nick Carrafa (centre) and David Cosma (right) with special guest Adrian Whyte

The EJ refers to Cosma’s 1963 Holden, the EJ model of the classic car manufactured in Australia until recent years.

Live-streaming from its generous back seat, Cosma, Carrafa and friends have provided something so much livelier than the pale imitations of their stagelit selves some performers have seemed when appearing online.

It’s just so creative: Percussionist-vocalist-harmonica player Carrafa set his kit up ingeniously, using the kick drum pedal to hit the back of the front seat, and while various special guests such as the great Charles Jenkins and Adrian Whyte have appeared “in-car” the performance of Damon Smith was presented as a 1960s TV screen on the back seat.

Special guest Damon Smith (right) appears courtesy of old and new technology

Necessity drove the creation, but it’s been one mother of an invention.

Special guest Charles Jenkins appears in-car

In addition to performing crowd favourites – requests via the comment feed of course – from their extensive back catalogue of original songs, Cosma, Carrafa and Co. have kept us tuning in with variations on the beloved EJ’s backseat, including an Elvis night, an Oasis night, and a tribute to music of the EJ’s year of release, 1963.

Themed gigs have struck a chord with online audiences

So far more the sessions have attracted more than 30,000 views and sold out a run of merchandise featuring that so-very-2020 logo at top; not bad for a home brew.

It’s particularly wonderful for The Normal Grown-Up’s demographic, the retired sticky carpet brigade now parenting in the suburbs, whose main way of getting new music has been streaming it while washing up from the family dinner.

The sound and vision have always been exceptional, surfing easily over the sloshing and hissing of dishes and taps even from a phone’s internal speakers.

For ears still ringing after decades of shouting at friends over deafening PA systems, this front row seat has been (dad joke warning) just the ticket.

Cosma, Carafa and friends will surely welcome and be welcomed back to live performance in-the-flesh as soon as it’s possible, but here at The Normal Grown-Up we very much hope the streaming rolls on.

It’s equal-access art, live music at its liveliest, entertainment that jumps out of screens of all sizes.

And all from the back of an EJ, our vote for 2020’s car of the year. Long may it rock.