The Barge Canal Coffee Co. was packed on Friday, November 8 for Broad Street Records Night. With a lineup of six great student-musicians ranging from ukulele to “spoken music” playing over the course of two hours, it was a low-key, hodgepodge performance.
First up was senior Zac Coe, whose original songs featured upbeat piano. Not only has Coe released several albums with his band The All-About, including “Suburban Heart” in May 2013, his popularity had the crowd shouting requests for favorites. After a set of three songs, including an unreleased single, “Jessie” from “Suburban Heart,” and a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing in the Dark,” people were still calling for more. Coe ended with “Whatever, Happy Birthday.”
“This song turned one-year-old on Halloween,” he said, before launching into the lyrics: “When your parents come to visit, they take us out to dinner / I half-listen and wonder how they wound up together.”
Up next was sophomore Quincy Pierce, who opened with a fresh cover of Ingrid Michaelson’s “The Way I Am.” While her ukulele was a dead match for Michaelson’s, her voice was much more interesting and the crowd responded enthusiastically.
“I always get really bored halfway through that song, I don’t know why,” Pierce said afterwards, laughing.
She then moved into a beautiful, lingering cover of “Cheerleader” by St. Vincent, followed by an untitled original lullaby with haunting lyrics: “Come take me from my madness / Tiptoe down the fire escape / you took my hand and swung me straight into your arms…”
Her final song of the night, a cover of “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver, was slightly delayed when Pierce had to tune and retune her ukulele on the spot, but had audience members singing quietly along.
After Pierce came first-year Grace Howard on acoustic guitar with a soft cover of “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service.
“I know he’s not here, but this one is dedicated to Miles,” Howard said before moving on to her next songs, a cover of The Lumineers’ “Stubborn Love” and a cover of “High & Dry” by Radiohead, which was dedicated to all of the people she knew in the audience.
Howard’s final two songs, “I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)” by the Cox Family (of “O Brother, Where Art Thou” fame) and “Mother” by Pink Floyd, were duets with electric guitarist Rob Blackmore, who added texture and a nice harmonizing to the sound. When Howard gave up the stage to Blackmore, she got a huge round of applause from the audience. Blackmore’s solo set was country-themed, including a cover of “Freight Train” by Elizabeth Cotton and a cover of “Freeway Time in L.A. County Jail” by Sublime.
“There are a lot of vulgar words [in “Freeway Time in L.A. County Jail”] and I’m not going to censor myself this time, so I do apologize,” Blackmore said before jumping into it, full of attitude.
He gave the audience a little background information for each song, and several people were stomping in time to the music as he played.The next student was senior Quinn Mongeon on electric guitar. He brought his own amp on stage, and with it, a lot of energy. “The first up, this one’s called ‘Castles Etcetera.’ I tried playing it the other day but I forgot it,” Mongeon said, laughing, after he introduced himself. He didn’t miss a note of it as he made his way through key changes, getting into the music right away.
“Hopefully it’ll be on some album soon, but this next one I can promise will be on an EP very soon. We’re recording it here in town next week, still don’t know what it [the EP] is called yet, but this one’s called ‘Streets.'”
‘Streets,’ which Mongeon got input from the audience on, had a little bit of an old-time Beatles feel, while the next song, “SFA,” was more modern. His final piece was a mellow, rich original that will also be on the EP before he relinquished the stage to junior Zach Lomas.
“I’m going to read some poetry, sort of. It’s this band that calls itself Listener, and they do spoken music. I’m also going to read them off of this sheet, because I’m a sheeter,” Lomas said.
The song, “Falling in Love with Glaciers,” had the rhythm of music but was intended to be spoken. It told the story of a mountain, and it marked the perfect end to a unique night.
Contact Lee Tremblay at [email protected]