Creative Corner: Fear and Loathing at the Barge

Tom Drennan

What the hell am I doing here? That’s all I can think about as I slouch down in the darkness of the Barge and stare at this gangly, bowl cut musician who whines into the microphone, a complete John Mayor want-to-be. He wears a green Slices t-shirt and a pair of baggy blue jeans, and sweats from trying to entertain the outrageous crowd, consisting of myself and a pair of locals who linger by the door, smears his face and glistens under the over-lit stage. What appear to be first-years awkwardly walk in after the first song and take their seats. One of them pulls out a camera and takes a picture. Hey, why not? This is Chris Eves. He was once on American Idol.

I shake my head and try to think about how I’m going to write this article. What do I say? Do I insult the Colgate community and its complete lack of interest in anything that doesn’t involve some sort of alcohol? No, that won’t work, especially since the presence of alcohol at the Barge for this concert would make this experience much easier to brave. I look up, and, I swear to God, I actually think I see Chris Eves look at me and mouth I need a fuc**** drink. I agree and when he takes a short break, I hurry across the street to Risky Business and enjoy a Mary’s Special while Mary, the owner, tells me her life story.

She slowly tells me how she’s owned the bar for 18 years and when she bought it, it was originally called The Back Bacon because they actually sold bacon sandwiches at the bar. I nod and smile, despite that fact that I’m slightly confused and a little bewildered. Maybe it’s the Mary’s Special, or maybe it’s the striking thought that I have to go back to the Barge and listen to Chris Eves shamelessly plug his album after literally every song.

“It’s just five dollars. Four ninety-nine if that makes you guys feel better,” he chuckles to himself, and I look around to see if anyone else wants to charge the stage and beat him with the microphone. All I see are more first-years, the crowd nearing fifteen people.

Chris bangs on the drums and then shakes a tambourine. A recorder captures the sounds and plays them in the background as he slides the guitar in front of him. He’s a solo act, but he’s trying his best to give the full band effect. The sound of his guitar is drastically louder than his microphone, most likely because he’s a much better guitarist than vocalist. But let it be known, he can really play the guitar. He’s jamming out pretty hard, and the crowd seems to be really into it. And, for, a second I find myself actually saying to myself: Wow. This guy is pretty good.

Now I don’t know if it’s the three Mary’s Specials I raced through during the break or if it’s the adorable first-years that are swaying, smiling and thoroughly enjoying themselves. But I feel good that I am at the Barge, listening to Chris Eves. I continue to admire the first-years and this air of innocence they breathed into the room. Yes, in a month they’ll be allowed to go to the Jug and all that innocence will be lost in some dark corner after one too many Wild Turkey shots, but they still have a month-30 days and nights to explore and experience Colgate in a revolutionary, evanescent way – the kind of enthusiasm that inspires someone to go see Chris Eves at the Barge without being forced by The Maroon-News. Enjoy it while you’ve still got it, first-years.