Friday night, Open Mic host Jonathan Bowman cracked intentionally bad jokes to a packed house in between folksy love songs, top 40 covers and the occasional unforeseen rap on the Barefoots Joe stage.
Bowman, sophomore biology major, began the night by poking fun at himself. As a first-time host of Open Mic, Bowman joked that he did not belong there, comparing hosting to basketball and himself to a kid playing in the sandbox next to a basketball court.
“I’m building a little sandcastle,” Bowman said. “One of the guys on the basketball team hurts his leg. It’s not like I want to play basketball. I was just kind of forced to play basketball. Without me they would have to forfeit the game.”
Angel Claudio, sophomore engineering major, and Abigail Hamblen, sophomore psychology major, kicked off the first performance of the night, covering “The Man Who Can’t Be Moved” by The Script.
“It was pretty nerve-racking going up first,” Claudio said. “But I am so glad I got to do it with Abigail finally.”
The pair would sing and play together in their dorm freshman year, joking about one day playing for Open Mic.
“We decided this year that we would actually do it,” Hamblen said. “It was so fun!”
Reed McLean, senior computer science major, provided harmony vocals and guitar accompaniment to a performance of Destiny’s Child’s “Bills Bills Bills” with junior voice performance major Paula Nestico and junior communication studies major Gina Nestico. The trio’s tight harmonies and R&B flair prompted explosive applause from a grinning audience.
The band Free Space performed an original song called “I Wish I Was Plural,” composed by Josh Mays, freshman wildlife biology major and band member.
“We’ve got plenty of material written,” Mays said. “Be on the lookout for an album pretty soon.”
Mays and Shea McCollough, freshman music major, lulled the crowd in a heart-wrenching rendition of “Blue Bucket of Gold” by Sufjan Stevens, asking, “Friend, why don’t you love me?”
Caylee Duggar, senior psychology major, and Hannah Johnson, sophomore intercultural studies major, didn’t let the crowd stay somber for long. After a mashup of “Turning Tables” by Adele and “Apologize” by OneRepublic, Duggar broke into a flawless rap of “Can’t Hold Us” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis.
“I just enjoy rapping because I can speak thoughts as quickly as they come to my mind,” Duggar said. “It’s a style of music that I’ve learned to appreciate and love because of the freedom it brings as a vocalist.”
Tanner Cherry, sophomore computer science major, closed out the night with “Steamroller Blues.”