Rock band’s porch becomes music venue for quarantined neighbors

photo by: Lauren Fox

From left, guitarist Clay Ptacek, drummer Robbie Matthews and bassist Paul Matthews, members of local band The Last Shreds of Decency, perform a porch concert on April 1.

A local band was just starting to get gigs at restaurants and bars when everything started shutting down. The Last Shreds of Decency now put on shows at their own venue: their guitarist’s front porch.

On April 1 at 6 p.m., what in recent weeks has become a quiet street turned into the studio of the recently formed rock band.

“Thank you citizens of Kentucky Street!” drummer Robbie Matthews said at the top of the set.

photo by: Lauren Fox

During the coronavirus pandemic, The Last Shreds of Decency perform a weekly porch concert. On April 1, the band maintained six feet of distance between members.

Neighbors appeared on their porches, some with a cold drink. Others walked up from neighboring streets. Some fans even travelled by bicycle, motorcycle or car to hear the group.

photo by: Lauren Fox

Listeners such as Darrell Thompson came to hear local band The Last Shreds of Decency perform a porch concert on April 1.

Hayden Dyck, whose home sits to the left of the impromptu outdoor venue, said it’s been great hearing the band. He came prepared for Wednesday’s concert with a beer and sunglasses.

Dyck said it wasn’t the first time he’d heard music from his neighbor’s porch. It was only the band’s second performance during quarantine, but guitarist Clay Ptacek is known for playing the occasional tune on his porch. On New Years Eve, for example, he will sometimes play “Auld Lang Syne.”

photo by: Lauren Fox

Hayden Dyck listens to his next door neighbor’s porch concert on April 1.

Ptacek said another one of his neighbors, Kristi Kouloukis, asked him if he would play music during the current coronavirus pandemic. She said she was inspired after seeing videos of quarantined musicians and singers sharing their music in Italy.

The first time Ptacek played, he played solo. But the last two times, he invited the other members of his band, bassist Paul Matthews and Paul’s son Robbie to join him for what has now become a weekly porch concert.

On Wednesday, Ptacek’s wife Laurie Marlowe had a tape measure out to ensure people the band members were playing six feet away from one another.

photo by: Lauren Fox

Laurie Marlowe, wife of guitarist Clay Ptacek (left), brought a tape measure to an April 1 porch concert to ensure all band members, including Robbie Matthews (center) and Paul Matthews (right) were six feet apart.

The porch concerts last about an hour, and they play original music as well as classic rock covers, including Led Zeppelin songs. Wednesday’s performance included some impromptu dancing from Marlowe in the front lawn.

“It’s fun to watch people dancing over there,” said Addison Gish, who watched the concert from the end of the street, about five houses away. She sat on top of her car and had no trouble hearing the music, which was being blasted from speakers.

“We’re all just out here trying to enjoy something. Even though it’s from a distance, it’s still something,” she said.

photo by: Lauren Fox

Addison Gish watches a porch concert on April 1 from the hood of her car.

Ptacek played passionately Wednesday night. His long silver hair waved in its ponytail with every bop of his head, and he lifted his red guitar in the air at the end of the set as Robbie Matthews rose from his stool. The Last Shreds of Decency bowed to their friends and neighbors.

“Thank you,” someone told the band at the end of their performance. “This is the first time I’ve been out in a week and a half.”

photo by: Lauren Fox

An onlooker watches The Last Shreds of Decency perform their final song at their porch concert on April 1.


Welcome to the new Our old commenting system has been replaced with Facebook Comments. There is no longer a separate username and password login step. If you are already signed into Facebook within your browser, you will be able to comment. If you do not have a Facebook account and do not wish to create one, you will not be able to comment on stories.