With the mid-week blues and housing stress getting me down, I decided to go out on Wednesday; but I wanted to try something new rather than just your standard night at the Union, so I decided to switch things up and went to the Open Mic hosted by Music is Love at their brand spanking new location, The Byre Theatre.
I got to the bar while the musicians were still signing up to play and ordered myself a drink. The atmosphere was buzzing with anticipation as people nervously waited for the event to begin. Next door in the theatre, Act I of Normal Heart had just ended so the downstairs bar was filled with laughter and chatter, friends saying hi, and drinks being ordered. I wondered how on earth anyone would be able to hear the music, until people began filing back in to the theatre for the second act. Once the doors had closed, the music began.
Veteran Open Mic performer and MC for the night, Catriona, kicked off the night around 9:45 pm, playing a few acoustic covers of the Vaccines, Ralph McTell, and Led Zeppelin.
After Cat’s introduction there was a succession of artists who showed off their own unique style. Some played on acoustic guitars, others electric; one artist brought out her ukulele, another his harmonica. Songs covered included some that I knew like Bob Dylan, Bon Iver, Temper Trap, and Bright Eyes; other songs I didn’t recognize, including one in French and a few originals.
I spoke to a few of the musicians about themselves and their music:
Rachel Abreu, first year and four time Open Mic night performer, said that “it’s always scary, every time,” when I asked if she had been nervous before going up. She’s been playing the guitar since she was 16 and played three excellent covers of Vance Joy, Sam Smith, and Temper Trap.
Chris Farrugia, a third year, was among the few to play his own compositions. “I only have four strings on my guitar, if you noticed. I’m lazy. It’s easier to make my own music rather than sit down and learn how to play someone else’s.” Chris is a member of two bands, one in Dundee called Condolences, and one in the States called Roots and Dirt. You can check out his music on his personal Soundcloud: Chris Romedio.
The night ended with Music is Love’s very own Amy performing a cover of Bright Eye’s ‘At the Bottom of Everything’. All in all, it was a night filled with good tunes from good artists. Well done to everyone who performed; St. Andrews certainly has some talent.
If you’re a music lover of if you want to display your musical mastery in front of your peers, you can go to the downstairs bar in the Byre next Wednesday, the 18th of February at 9:00 pm when Rock Soc will be hosting Open Mic. Hope to see you there!