MIC Coffeehouse shakes the ground of Sheffield Gazebo for open mic-night


Photo courtesy of Charger Bulletin/Charlotte Bassett.

Janelle Cavanaugh (left) and Mia Alvarez (right) perform in front of a crowd at open mic night, West Haven, Sept. 29, 2022.

Thursdays on campus are normally rather dull, but this past week, the Music Industry Club’s Coffeehouse open-mic event lit up the night with the voices of students who each had the opportunity to flood the Sheffield Gazebo with high energy.

Throughout the night, sounds from a wide range of genres echoed across campus.

Jess Finn and Elise Browell were a dynamic duo who took to the mics to perform a cover of “TV” by Billie Eillish. Immediately, the dueling visual aesthetics of the two women performing together took their power to new heights.

Finn’s vocals were radiant and created a strong build leading deeper into the song. In an incredible compliment, Browell’s guitar skills took the layers of sound to new heights. Together, the duo gave the crowd an acoustic cover with a wicked edge, and it was a shame they only shook the gazebo with one number.

A couple of acts later, Sarah Serkosky covered “Pool House” by Backseat Lovers: a performance that surely left half of the crowd gathered outside in goosebumps, despite the sun still beating down in the late afternoon.

Serkosky stood at the center of attention with her acoustic guitar and dazzled the crowd with a gentle voice that carried immense range and riffs throughout her performance. Her light grunge aesthetic only enhanced her performance, making her what could easily be deemed the perfect package.

Lys and Ben put on an original performance with powerful chemistry that caught your eye even from the back end of the grass beyond the gazebo. With Lys on vocals and Ben on the guitar, the heavy undertones produced by the two created a perfect compliment to their original lyrics, with a performance that was nothing short of explosive at its peak.

Dakotaxela, who he said you could call “Alex,” was easily one of the most wicked performances of the evening. It’s clear that he has a strong future ahead of himself, and he will absolutely be making his name echo through the industry, likely in the same nature that his voice did through the residential side of campus.

His hard punk look was electric, and from the moment Dakotaxela opened his mouth, you knew his was a name you wouldn’t forget. He writes, produces and performs his music on his own, making him a one-guy powerhouse. His lyricism is poetic in a manner that would send chills down the spine of Edgar Allen-Poe, and you can tell by the titles alone that this guy does not screw around.

Alex’s first song of the night was called “Melting to the Floor,” and the connection that he has to his music was crystal clear from the start in the way that he moves in perfect fluidity to the sound he creates. It’s not common to see such immense passion radiate through the eyes of a young artist, but he provides an exception. There was no doubt that this performance had the strongest stage presence of the night.

Alex’s second song was called “Side Hound” and it exhibited a skillful build of tension from the opening notes, making the eruption, once it hit, come down ten times harder.

Connor McCormick was able to manipulate the dope raspy edge in his voice, and did a killer job with maintaining strong diction with fast lyricism.

The Three Muskazoos were one of the more niche acts that really pushed the envelope on the diversity surrounding musical talent within the student population. The group of first-year students served as what was called the “comic interlude” of the Coffeehouse, playing full song covers strictly on kazoo. There is, with no doubt, an immense amount of raw talent that goes into playing a song on such a simple instrument and making every note perfectly identifiable.

If there was one major takeaway from this performance, it would have to be that the best part of going to an event where the crowd is made up mostly of performers is the way that when the audience clapped along to the songs, they maintained proper tempo. This was the only time that clapping along to the beat wasn’t incredibly painful.

A little later in the evening, Jenelle and Mia put their all l into a chilling two-song mashup that was nearly angelic. They created a seamless transition between pop hits “Save Your Tears” and “Better Than Ever.” Their performance lined up perfectly with the sun setting across from the gazebo, casting a flood of golden light over the scene and playing perfectly into their warm energy.

Perhaps one of the most iconic performances of the night was a rendition of “Man or Muppet” by duo JJ and Kasey.

They were welcomed with an uproar from the crowd, which was well deserved following the moving theatrical performance. Call it satire to some degree if you’d like, but their musical talent was evident as they harmonized, and the passion with which they played was iconic.

There are times during these performances where you can read the performer’s vibe before they even start to sing. That was absolutely the case with Carson Cramer, who paid homage to none other than punk band, Hot Mulligan. It took a minute to register what song he was singing, and even before realizing what band he was covering, the first thing that came to mind was “this boy sounds exactly like the lead singer in Modern Baseball.” The song he performed was in fact by Modern Baseball, and his impression was very impressive.

One of the purest duos of the night was Total Corner. They sang a set of original songs that were complete with backing from a guitar and a cajon which gave the performance a backyard bonfire vibe.

The night was closed off by none other than fan-favorite campus band, Big Tuesday. If you haven’t streamed their whole discography yet, your to-do list for today just gained another bullet point.