After weeks of preparation, two Bowdoin student bands traveled to Portland last Friday to perform at “Blue,” a live music venue. Nighthawk organized the event and invited fellow student band Lily in the Weeds to perform with it. Both bands showcased covers and original songs at the mainly jazz-centered hangout location.
The band Nighthawk initially booked this event through a cold email that member Colter Adams ’24 sent to the venue. He then extended an invitation to Lily in the Weeds to join Nighthawk as he thought their music tastes complimented each other well.
“They’re much more into classic jazz and Lily [Randall ’23] has an imaginative, beautiful voice,” Adams said. “She sings a lot of really vocally focused songs. And then we’re more into indie rock, alternative rock, but there’s this small area of overlap where I think the two approaches blend really nicely.”
Lily in the Weeds guitarist, Maggie Broaddus ’25, also thought the two bands fit the venue well, commenting on Nighthawk’s performance.
“I was super impressed by the talent of the band and the creativity of their original songs,” Broaddus said. “I think the fact that we were different worked because people stayed for three hours and got to listen to a variety of music instead of just a ton of covers or only original music.”
Nighthawk finds inspiration for its songs in the realist paintings of Edward Hopper.
“We take a painting of his and then we think about what story could be happening behind the canvas,” Adams said. “We try to imbue the characters with our own creative writing ideas, and then Peyton [Semjen ’24] usually focuses on the lyrics. I pull together the instrumentations and then we bring them together.”
Adams believed that there was a positive response to his band’s and Lily in the Weeds’ original songs. It helped that both bands had friends in the audience.
“The place was full of all of our friends and so many people were there to support us. It was awesome,” Adams said. “It was definitely nerve wracking playing original songs for the first time.… [The originals] are kind of our babies and it’s different than covering music … but the audience’s reaction was really positive.”
Nighthawk vocalist Semjen agreed that their performance was special, because they played their original music live for the first time.
“We got a lot of support from Bowdoin people, and that made it special as always, but it’s also really cool to reach a wider audience as well,” Semjem said. “We have a couple more [shows] in Portland, which we are looking forward to.”
Broaddus thought this performance in particular was special because they have never performed in Portland before.
“Most of what we’ve done, it’s been on campus—besides playing at Bolos—so it was exciting to be out in Portland. And while the audience was mostly Bowdoin students in Portland, there were also residents of Portland who stopped by, which is really cool,” Broaddus said. “And we’re getting paid to do this, which was also new for us … It’s a little higher stakes.”
Broaddus spoke on the quality of the sound mixing and acoustics in Blue, noting that it was a step up from what the Weeds are used to.
“We played College House basements and whatnot before and we used the equipment from the BMC [Bowdoin Music Collective], but having a full on sound system and mixing the sound was great because our levels were awesome,” Broaddus said. “I could hear everyone and everyone could hear themselves, which is not the norm. That’s usually something we have been challenged with.”
Looking into the future, Nighthawk has three performances lined up for this coming week and Lily in the Weeds will be performing at Macmillan House on March 24.
“It’s super fun playing with these bands, and I’m definitely optimistic that we’ll be able to pull more shows together with them,” Adams said.
Lily Randall is a member of the Bowdoin Orient.