The Next Big Musician

The Barge has quite possibly never been so over capacity as it was Saturday night when students and parents alike filled the Hamilton coffee house to hear junior Collin McLoughlin’s late-night concert. As last year’s Mr. Colgate, McLoughlin held the gig as a part of the Barge’s Saturday Nite Music Series and seemed surprised by the astounding turnout, claiming it was definitely one of the largest crowds he’d played for at Colgate. Despite the masses he was aiming to please, McLoughlin managed to play a string of covers and original works that did not fail to leave the crowd wanting more over the course of his hour-long performance. From start to finish, McLoughlin proved that he is, above all else, an extremely talented musician.

McLoughlin’s music is acoustic, mostly indie in genre, featuring both guitar and vocals. His set included several covers of familiar favorites, as well as his own original songs, some old, some making their first public debuts. He started out the night with songs like “Free Falling” (originally sung by Tom Petty, though McLoughlin chose to play John Mayer’s rendition) and from there onto originals, “Burn Away,” and one of the first songs he ever wrote, “You Had Your Shot.”

The set continued on with McLoughlin’s friends and Phi Kappa Tau fraternity brothers shouting out favorite requests, keeping the atmosphere in the Barge light and fun as McLoughlin moved from one song to the next. The Beatles’ “Black Bird” was followed by a new song, “Hold On,” which only a few people had heard before Saturday night. Despite the popular requests that he play “Stronger” (a new take on Kanye West’s song which was a part of the medley that helped McLoughlin to win Mr. Colgate 2007), McLoughlin chose not to replay the song. Instead, he decided to debut a new mix, one that showed some rather new sides to songs like “City of Angels” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers and “Lollipop” by Lil Wayne. It certainly says something about his musical talents that he could take such songs and make them seem as if they were made as a mellow song for the acoustic guitar.

The night continued on with a few more covers–“Two Coins” by Dispatch, and one of McLoughlin’s favorites, “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” by John Mayer–as well as several more original works like “This Dream” and the requested “Tangible Memories.” Even as McLoughlin seemed to reach his final song, chants and demands for one more brought him back on stage to play Paolo Nutini’s “New Shoes.”

“He was great,” junior Shelby Scott said of McLoughlin’s performance. “This was a big crowd and he didn’t disappoint.”

Fellow students weren’t the only ones impressed by McLoughlin. Visiting parents of one of McLoughlin’s fraternity brothers, the Crowes, were equally awed.

“I think he’s as good as John Mayer,” Mr. Crowe said, comparing him to one of McLoughlin’s idols. “He could be the next Bob Dylan.”

“It was a great show,” Ms. Crowe agreed. “He has a presence on stage. He’s very friendly and engaging and certainly very talented.”

Colgate has forever been demonstrating its multitude of successful and talented students, and Collin McLoughlin can certainly count himself among them. Whether here at Colgate or outside of it, he is definitely one to keep an eye on as he continues to create his musical magic.