Last semester in the basement of Gibson Hall, the student band Gibson 10 was formed. There they learned jazz music with each other, improvised together and formed the basis for their eclectic rock and jazz-influenced sound, which will premiere this evening in Smith Union as the opening act for electronic duo Louis the Child. 

Formerly performing under the name Cup of Poodles, the group became the opener for the fall concert when Tobi Omola ’19 was asked by eBoard to perform following the release of his single, “Need U.” Omola then enlisted the help of bandmates Ellis Laifer ’19, Dante Moussapour ’19, Jeb Polstein ’17, Zakir Bulmer ’19 and Jon Luke Tittman ’19. The group plans to perform a mix of originals and covers, with special attention to Omola’s original single as well as Laifer’s song, titled “Silent Companion.”

The group hopes that its performance will spark what it perceives to be a slowly blossoming music scene on campus. According to Moussapour, they’re optimistic that the music culture will expand to include more social events centered specifically on student band performances, rather than act as a supplement to preexisting social events. 

“One of the things that Bowdoin has unfortunately developed is this party atmosphere in which bands are shoved in a basement,” Moussapour said. “Performing live, especially when you’re watching your friends and fellow students perform live—it’s a nice experience. Let’s make live music at Bowdoin great again.”

“It might sound cheesy, but we want to inspire other people,” Tittman added. “At Bowdoin there are sports, which is such a dominant thing that people do and think about. There are a lot of great musicians that just don’t play as much or get enough recognition. So we want other people to engage in the music world and build a stronger music culture here at Bowdoin.” 

According to Tittman, the group’s diverse but cohesive taste in music has made for a distinct sound—even when performing classic pieces from the likes of the Beatles and James Brown. 
“We’re trying to utilize each instrumentalist’s skill in each song and to maximize our musical skill into something that will please the audience,” Moussapour said. 

Much of the music group’s magic is in the improvisation and diversity of sound—with Omola on trumpet, Polstein on drums, Bulmer on guitar, Moussapour on saxophone, Tittman on bass and Laifer on keyboard. With an even spread of vocals between the six, their collaborative dynamic is clear. 

“We’re much more into music as a process than a final product,” Tittman said. 

“But we’re still learning how to work together,” Laifer added. “It’s not been always harmonious. We don’t want to have one person dictate everything and it’s difficult to have your voice be heard but not be overpowering. We’re still trying to find the balance.” 

It’s a balance that undoubtedly comes with time, as the group will gain more experience performing, songwriting and collaborating with one another in the context of the campus music scene. But for now, the band is eagerly awaiting its performance this evening and its reception—what Laifer likes to call the “space between the final note and the reaction that the audience gives.”

“There’s just an energy that’s in the air that’s part of the experience,” Tittman said. “Being in a room with people who are playing music and having a good time and a bunch of people who are listening to music—it’s special in that way. It gives people joy.”

Gibson 10 will perform tonight at 10 p.m. in the David Saul Smith Union, followed by a concert by Louis the Child at 11 p.m.