The Café is alive with the sound of music as Bowdoin Unplugged gets underway. The brainchild of Farhan Rahman '10, this open-mic style showcase provides welcome study breaks for many Bowdoin students each Sunday night.
Now in its third week, Unplugged at the Café has already played host to a number of well-known Bowdoin musicians including lead singer of the campus band Marshall Law David Funk '10, Emily Schonberg '10, a member of Ursus Versus, and founder and musician Rahman.
The program, which began as an experiment by Rahman to open the doors for live music at Bowdoin, is sponsored by dining services, which allowed use of the café and supplied posters for the event.
"I mean for it to be a sort of study break. Each act is about forty-five minutes to an hour," said Rahman. "I don't think there is enough live music at Bowdoin and I don't think there is enough student support for live music."
At first glance, the logistics of such an event seem questionable. With many students studying in the Union each Sunday night it seems inevitable that some sort of noise conflict would arise.
"We get little risers and push the table out of the way and turn down the lights. We keep it just loud enough so that it annoys the hell out of the people studying," jokes Rahman. "We set it up so that the sound projects into the corner and doesn't really bleed out of the there."
Even the types of music played reflect the laid back atmosphere of Unplugged.
"It's just sort of a way to chill out and 'unplug' yourself," said Rahman. "I've told all the performers in advance not to play anything loud or heavy."
Upcoming performer Mikel McCavana '12 is also doing his part to increase the amount of live music on campus. A member of the Meddies, McCavana created the Bowdoin Musical Collective.
"It's a club basically to increase student performances on campus and the awareness of them," said McCavana. "A lot of people play music on their own but aren't connected to other performers."
For many students Sunday night means hours stuck in the library or multiple cups of coffee to cram for a morning midterm, but students have made the effort to support the students performing at Unplugged.
"Just like anything on Bowdoin's campus, your friends come and support you," said Funk. "And sometimes you get random people wandering by."
For Rahman, this atmosphere is exactly right.
"If there is a band playing they'd bring their friends. I wanted some sort of interaction with the crowd, which is part of the atmosphere that I wanted," said Rahman. "I think having students play builds support for live music."
This venture seems to be the perfect way for musicians on campus to connect with one another as each act at Unplugged has been booked through word of mouth.
"I used to be a musician so when I got to Bowdoin I found myself finding the other musicians, so I knew a lot of them personally," said Rahman. "I knew David because he was my freshman year roommate, Emily because I've seen her perform before."
A venue for fledgling Bowdoin musicians, Unplugged has become the place to get noticed.
"Just more music played by students is a good idea because there is a lot of talent that you would not otherwise see," said Funk. "It gives a venue for people to do their own stuff without much formality."
Unplugged also provides a unique opportunity for musical experimentation.
"It was my first time playing guitar for people. It was an experience. I don't have that many songs so I played with friends," said Funk.
With performers already lined up through the rest of the semester, Unplugged is quickly becoming a hot-spot for procrastination each Sunday night.
Upcoming performances include Akiva Zamcheck '12 on Sunday, October 25; Barrett Moore '10 on Sunday, November 1; and The Milkman's Union on Sunday, November 8. Unplugged is located at the Café in Smith Union and begins at 8 p.m.