The Bowdoin Music Collective (BMC) gave amateur artists the stage at last Friday’s spring showcase, BMC’s debut event of the semester.
The lineup was split between acoustic and electric acts, with songs ranging from Of Monsters and Men’s “King and Lionheart” to Rihanna’s “Take A Bow.” Many student acts also performed original songs they had written themselves.
The floor of Jack Magee’s Pub was full for the duration of the event. David Raskin ’13, BMC co-president and member of student band phar/OS, said he expected a high turnout given attendance in past years.
“The turnout is pretty typical for the showcase, which is interesting because it’s atypical of most live music at Bowdoin,” said Raskin. “This is always a well-attended event. A lot of that has to do with the fact that there are so many performers, and people are coming out to see their friends and sticking around because everyone sounds really good.”
“I think the biggest factor in this is that so many different students are involved,” said Nathan Joseph ’13, who serves alongside Raskin as BMC co-president. “Even though we do all the traditional channels of advertising the shows, what sets BMC apart is that word of mouth plays an important role.”
The audience was invited to participate in the show when Veronica Verdin ’15 and her band encouraged attendees to get up and dance with their special someones.
“I think it stemmed from the switch from solo performance over to band,” said Verdin. “When you’re limited to guitar and your voice there’s only so much audience involvement you can do. I took two songs I had written myself, and we put a drum beat to the first song. The second song, with the base line and the drums, kind of transformed into a different groove of a song, so I wanted to get a heightened sense of audience involvement.”
The BMC is open to helping any student start performing. One student, Mario Jaime ’14, explained that he is not usually a performer but wanted to do a piece of performance art. Jaime sang a cappella at the showcase.
The informal event went longer than expected, running a full three hours.
“We booked the Pub for the whole night knowing that it could go over,” said Raskin. “We tried to get it down to 10 minutes including changeover for an acoustic performer and 15 minutes for a band.”
The showcase tends to bring musicians together to form new bands each semester.
“I really enjoy seeing it all come together and helping musicians find opportunities to perform,” said Joseph. “It’s also really cool when we can help facilitate the creation of a band, like people who might not have met each other if not for the group.”
One of BMC’s major events, the showcase allows participants to test out new band dynamics and figure out what works.
“The showcase kind of makes people get ready near the start of the semester, so by the end of the semester we’ve got a lot of bands,” said Raskin.
Unexpected add-ons and dropouts make the event unpredictable. Even though she was not listed on the line-up, Sinead Lamel ’15 surprised the audience with an impromptu performance at the end of the night. Other students who were originally on the lineup did not end up performing at all.
“Sometimes there’s a drop out in performers, for whatever reason. It might be because they’re scared or shy; they might decide not to do it at the last second,” said Verdin. “That’s not so much a logistics problem. I just want people to come out and play.”
The BMC meets every Monday at 9 p.m. in the Smith Union conference room. All are welcome to attend.