It’s Tuesday night and TDU is alive with the buzz of conversation. Twilight has set in outside and the lights are low inside, giving the usually chaotic basement of Taylor Hall the look of an underground poetry bar in the city. As 7:00 pm nears, students start to trickle in and find seats, creating a cozy and dedicated audience of listeners. Various performers sit on the outskirts of the room mumbling lyrics and tuning instruments. There is a subtle feeling of anticipation in the air. JMU’s very own Open Mic Night begins.
“It’s easy to come and fun to watch,” says freshman Erin Swale, who has been coming to Open Mic Night weekly since October. Her favorite performer is Ben, the beat boxing harmonica player.
There is a shift in the air and the noise descends a couple notches to a dull roar as a Mad4U announcer makes his way up to the front. The stage is set. The stools stand tall, ready and waiting; the mics are perched on their stands and the amps are set up.
Near the stage, a colorful cast of characters wait to show off their talents. They are what make Mic Nights the unique experience that they are. Up first is Mick “Bodie” Bodenheimer.
“This is the most relaxing environment to play, the most non-judgmental, and the most supportive,” Bodie says of Mad4U’s Open Mic Night. This junior has been playing nearly every week since his freshman year. Part of a country duo, he goes solo tonight with just a guitar. A listener to the right of the stage bobs his head and taps his New Balance sneakers to the beat, eyes never leaving the stage.
Next up is Ben “BeatHaven”, the beat boxer. His colorful tie dyed shirt and easy smile light up the stage. As he turns knobs, flips switches, and flicks dials on his beat boxing table a whirlwind of stunning manmade sound fills the speakers; the perfect background to the new rap he is trying out. He gets the crowd going with his upbeat renditions of popular songs and receives the first ever encore in Mic Night history.
Third in tonight’s line-up is Tyler, a self proclaimed poet who silences the audience with his words. He and his best friend came together, and his friend follows Tyler with an acapella solo.
Then there is Bridget DeMott, a petite redhead who knows her way around a guitar. She initially found out about Open Mic Night through her FROG during the first week of school.
“I love how a lot of different performers play the same songs differently; what I love about music is that everyone has their own style.” DeMott likes to bring her homework every Tuesday night and listen to all of the talent and self expression on display.
To anyone who is hesitant about joining in the audience or getting up on stage, DeMott says, “Just go for it! It’s a really great way to get involved at JMU.” Students can sign up every Tuesday morning on the Student Activities and Involvement website for a spot in JMU’s one and only Open Mic Night. Try it out on Tuesday nights at 7 pm in TDU!