A Return to the Barge First Open Mic Night of the Semester



Bridget Sheppard

As has now become the custom in Hamilton, last Friday, February 3 – the first Friday of the month – the Barge Canal Coffee Co. held its monthly Open Mic Night, opening their cafe for any Colgate students and Hamilton resi­dents wishing to share their music with the community.

The night began with one of the Barge’s own employees, Joe Mettler, strumming his guitar and singing his original pieces while the crowd sipped hot chocolate and coffee. Following his opening act, Colgate sopho­more Mark Stagno offered the relaxing cover of Alexi Murdoch’s “Orange Sky,” and then Larry from Hamilton presented covers such as The Clash’s “I Fought The Law” along with slower, more serious songs, which he introduced by explaining that he would step out of what little comfort zone he had. As he branched out, he reminded everyone in the audience that standing on that stage requires more than a mere love of music and that we should appreciate these musicians’ courage in expressing themselves in song.

As the Barge became more filled, the performances continued, and Colgate con­tributed more acts: sophomore Karl Jack­son sang Sade’s “Your Love is King,” along with his own pieces, including “I’ll Stand By You” and “Another Rainy Day.” Then the band Woe of the Wild took the stage. Although missing their third member, this Colgate band consisting of juniors Ben Diamond and Caitlin Grossjung, the lead vocalist, enthused the crowd with their original songs, incorporating guitar, piano and singing in one song, “If The Frost,” which Grossjung stated was for her friend in the audience.

Their band was followed by Hamil­ton local Lucas Pierce, who played his own music as well, even composing lyrics on the spot once he had played the songs he had rehearsed. The final performer of the night was Z, a town resident who used an electronics board to create elaborate, echoing guitar piec­es. As he neared the end of his time on stage, though, he urged Jackson to come collaborate with him. Walking back on stage, guitar in hand, Jackson started to improvise together with Z, combining their two styles. Eventu­ally, their friends joined in as well, singing blues and rapping such lyrics as “Sitting in a coffee house, having nothing to do but run my mouth.” Soon, Mettler returned to the stage, too, bring­ing the night full circle and adding his beatbox­ing abilities to the mix; it seemed that a new band had formed for the conclusion of the night.

Hopefully, the Barge will continue to draw more and more acts from both Colgate and Hamilton and these musicians will carry on in the spirit of collaboration with each other. Besides the sight of strangers melding their tal­ents together for a grand finale, one of the best moments of the night was when Stagno, stepping off the stage, declared, after having played guitar while sing­ing, that he couldn’t sing and play at the same time, to which his friend replied, “You just did.” Even more than an op­portunity for community members to share their thoughts, Open Mic Night has become a chance for artists to show others what they are capable of creat­ing, and of showing themselves just how much they can do.

Contact Bridget Sheppard at

[email protected].