On Saturday, April 10, the Barge Canal Coffee Company’s Saturday Night Music Series had a taste of nostalgia. Jeff Fein, class of ‘07 and former Editor-in-Chief of The Maroon-News, came back with his acoustic guitar to play music that he described as, “so eclectic you can’t even describe it.” He was clearly excited to be back and comfortable in the Barge (he was at first mistaken as a barista behind the counter). The night continued to be an interactive experience: he occasionally picked winners for his inexplicably free raffle, calling them up to the stage to pick up their coffee mug or stuffed animal. The first winner, Marcus O’Hara, found his name made into several jingles over the course of the evening. For one “prize,” an audience member read a passage from Catcher in the Rye.
‘Indescribable’ turned out to be a fairly apt description of Fein’s performance. He accompanied skilled guitar playing with something in between singing and talking, telling a story with each song. When he wasn’t playing the acoustic guitar, he would switch to the piano. At these moments, his performance was reminiscent of Ben Folds: bizarre songs, emphatic piano playing.
Fein played several of his own songs, claiming, “I write songs all the time. I’m up to like 20.” These songs included “Birth of a Mantra,” the theme song for the Barge (based on the Charles in Charge theme song and dedicated to “Susan of the Barge”) and “Blackout,” during which Fein punched the piano. Another original, “Drunk Song,” Fein wrote in high school. He said he wrote it about the Jug, he just didn’t know it at the time.
In addition, Fein incorporated several covers into his songs, including “Fly” by Sugar Ray and “Happiness is a Warm Gun” by the Beatles. For other covers, Fein brought Colgate students to the stage. Members of the Dischords joined him to sing “Bring It On Home to Me” by Sam Cooke. Sadly, it was difficult to hear the Dischords over Fein’s guitar. Later on, senior Victoria Cubera sexed up the room singing “Faith” by George Michael, accompanied by Fein on guitar. But hands down the best song of the night was junior Kathleen Armenti’s soulful rendition of “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, accompanied by another student on guitar, while Fein took an intermission. The audience even spontaneously joined in for some of the “woah-woah-woah” parts.
It was clear that Fein was having a blast. He quipped that he was doing what he always does, but usually no one is around to watch. While he was certainly entertaining, his performance was lacking. His singing and songwriting abilities were far below that of his guitar skills. And it isn’t the greatest sign to be outperformed by one’s intermission act. But Fein brought a lot of heart and a genuine love for music to the Barge for an overall enjoyable evening of indescribable acoustic guitar.
Contact Jaime Coyne at [email protected]