By Corra St. Pierre – Contributor
Before walking into the McGoldrick Center on Fri, Sep 8, for the Open Mic night hosted by WMPG radio station, a faint but distinctive haunting sound of bagpipes rippled from the parking garage throughout the campus against the yellow broken sky. But, that can’t be bagpipes, right?
The McGoldrick Center opened up at the tail end of Summer, with it has come the welcoming weeks of the semester and hopes to bring more community to campus through engaging activities like ice cream socials, free food tables, movie watch parties, and more. On the evening of September 8th, WMPG hosted the first of what could be many Open Mic events on the ground floor of the McGoldrick Center, in the bay window facing a front row view of a short cut, uniform lawn– a sea of astroturf if you will. The mics are set up in an orderly one row of four, though by the end of the night nothing remained as neat. Before the ½ mark, the early performers gathered together and all went to the cafe in the back. A range of props laid on the leather cushions including a maroon hikers backpack, a rubber horse head, an assortment of clips, glittering musical instrument covers, tangles of cords and cables (plastic bins tipping with even more mic cords),the arrangement pillared on top of itself between two 4 ft JBL speakers. Through them played Perky’s Auditory Canal/ Low radio, a weekly show slotted from 7-8 pm on friday nights. The vibes felt rebellious, punctuated by periods of jazzy interlude. WMPG describes it as “Low Radio with Jake offers Music- synth-pop, sad songs, shoegaze, club music, post-punk. Loosely generalized theme of melancholic music, whether it be danceable or downright slow.” You can play archived episodes at www.wmpg.org/show/perkys-auditory-canal, or tune into 90.9 Friday nights at 7:00. Now back to our regular programming.
Open Mic Night
10 minutes until time -an affable security office walked in and started chatting with students in the dining hall. a quiet tension builds.
8 minutes ‘till – students and non-students alike scan the sign up sheet.
5 minutes ‘till- the anticipation is palpable.
2 minutes ‘till- the clatter of an upholstered stool on the concrete floor.
1 minute ‘till-the performers shift in their booth seats.
4 minutes after start- Perky’s Auditory Canals come to an abrupt halt.
In no particular order here are a few highlights of the night.
Neal: engaged with many props including a classic looking bright red electric guitar attached to a small amp, styled as The Union Jack,. Neal wore a vintage pale pink striped Abercrombie and Fitch button down, gray converse and a cabby hat. Neal performed a mix of originals and covers that were wide ranging: casual, funky, comedic, serious. Neal boasted a deep bass that suited the slower ballads like their cover of Love is Gone by Dave Matthews. The performance was elastic, rocketing from one genre to the next growing increasingly energized. If not for the overhead lighting, you could have been fooled to be at Geno’s Rock Club on Congress Street. The performer had a great handle of the stage, moving across it, marching in place. Before the penultimate song, nearly all heads in the swelling dining room/commonroom were bobbing as the artist riffed into the mic, “Swing it up” and transitioned into a Mirrors. A singing performance/interpretive dance/comedic bit included wearing a horse head and dancing the electric slide before collapsing into a puddle on the hard floor. The crowd laughed and then cried out. The performer rose, took off his horse head and said “This last song is called Driving My Dads Car”.
At this time some students started lining up to put their names on the sign up list. The murmur of students gave off an excited hum: “should I sign up?, “Oh, i’ll hold you to that”, and “post me up.”
Jayden: took home the prize for biggest audience applause. Jayden braved the mic in a bright blue polo to do spoken word poetry, a song in acapella, and a silly poem based on literary works of Dr. Seuss. A big click-ity, clack-ity thumbs up to Jayden for sharing!
Dominic: started off their performance with a shoutout to WMPG then announced that they would be performing the Bagpipes. “My first song will be The National Anthem…” Dominic called those who felt compelled to stand and put a hand on their heart for “The Star Spangled Banner” played on the bagpipes. Once finished, the crowd cheered loudly for at least a minute and one woman bursted through the glass doors separating the Brew Bar from the common room. She threw out an enthusiastic thumbs up to the performer cheering “Hell Yeah”. Domonic Played three songs and all silenced the room in rapt attention. The room was literally buzzing.
RA Madi and Nic won the most mysterious duet. As soon as the two stepped on the stage to sing Hozier “in a week” as acapella, a flurry of students crowded to the front row. The performance was deeply moving to the newly formed audience as they stared in silence.
Tucker: also played the electric guitar. His guitar was a matte brown and glossy white. Tucker was a focused performer and only wanted to perform one song- Dave Gilmore “Comfortably Numb”. It was a somber and well practiced tune. With only two fail starts, Tucker nailed the seamless loop. When it came together, the instrument sounded aquatic in nature, rolling in around with desperate metallic cries. The crowd was mostly quietly gazing straight forward while Tucker expertly manipulated the guitar strings. Suddenly Tucker cut the sound and announced the end of their rendition of “Comfortably Numb”. He said, “I didn’t know it was a College Open Mic, but I am happy I showed up”
The new McGoldrick center is off to a lively start. If you would like to see what fun you can get up to on campus after school hours check out the Students Engagement and Leadership at 33 Bedford Street on the Portland Campus, or sign up on maine.campusgroups.com to get a list of events on campus!
Husky Brew – McGoldrick Center (Portland), 35 Bedford Street, Student Engagement and Leadership, Portland, Maine 04101, United States
Fri, Sep 8, 2023 7 PM – 9 PM EDT (GMT-4) by Student Engagement & Leadership