The Moist Bandanas draws crowds at the Coffee House

Amidst all of the weekend hubbub, something exciting was brewing in the Marylow Coffee House Saturday night—and no, it wasn’t just coffee. One of Colby’s favorite jam bands, The Moist Bandanas, graced the stage for their first performance since JanPlan. From 7 to 9 p.m., the coffeehouse was filled with students and a few faculty members, sipping hot drinks and grooving to the band’s latest tunes.

Band members Craig Ballard ’17 (drums), Lucas Hickock ’17 (keyboard), Casey Romeo ’16 (guitar), Justin Waligory ’17 (bass), and Matt Weeks ’17 (keyboard and occasional bass) attracted quite the crowd, eventually the coffeehouse was almost overflowing with people. A large group danced from start to finish, despite the lack of floor space taken up by seated audience members who didn’t arrive early enough to get on the couches.

The entire set was instrumental with no vocals, and they stayed consistent with the funk/rock genre that they generally associate with. Ballard says, “We go into shows with a loose plan of what we’re going to play but when it comes to actual gig time, we like to change it up and play what feels right.” Saturday’s set was a combination of two of the band’s original songs and two Grateful Dead covers (“Shakedown Street” and “Bird Song”). Hickock wrote one of the original songs which he calls “Mini Canvas”, and Romeo came up with the other. According to Hickock, they plan on playing more of their own music in coming shows.

It was almost as fun to watch the Moist Bandanas perform as it was to listen to their music. For example, Waligory was playing the bass while sporting a blue cast on his left wrist, which broke when a ball hit it while he was playing lacrosse. “Playing with a cast is basically the same except my hand hurts about six minutes into each song,” he said, but it didn’t seem to faze him too much. Also, Hickock’s shoes were off for the entirety of the show—it’s always comforting to see other people in mismatched socks. At some point during the show, he put on sunglasses. When asked what his favorite part of the night was, he replied, “Switching instruments on ‘Shakedown Street’ and looking up and making eye contact with my jazz instructor.”

I have written before about the lack of shows on campus (not including the many music and dance events put on by Colby’s own groups), and I think it’s really important that we recognize that the revamping of this space could create a higher demand for live performances. There have already been awesome things happening, like Express Poetry and the band Populace’s show on February 11. Hopefully we can keep this going. As we know, the reopening of the Coffe House provides for students not only a wider variety of coffees and teas in a traditional setting, but also the opportunity to gather for more cultural experiences beyond what the school already has to offer.

Whether this means music, poetry, spoken word, or open mic sessions, students should take the Coffee House as a chance to share their creativity in a more laid-back setting than say, LoPo or Page. What’s more is that the relatively small size of the space facilitates an intimacy that can bring students together and strengthen feelings of community.

The band says that the whole process of getting an event scheduled is simple. Moreover, it’s a quick set up since there is no need for any complex sound or lighting system. “It’s really easy. We just lug all the equipment from the band room in Bixler and our individual rooms to wherever we are playing. We then set up the amps and drums and do a quick sound check,” said Romeo. So for those who are interested in sharing their art and ideas, don’t be discouraged!

It’s safe to say that the Moist Bandanas’ show last Saturday was a success both for the band and for the Coffee House as a venue for entertainment. And if you missed out on the Moist Bandanas do not fret, you can say goodbye to February with them this Friday in LoPo. End your month the right way.

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