October 29, 2020

Student soloists rock out in Traditions Lounge

By Michelle Lampariello
Managing Editor

Despite a late start and a few technical difficulties, three student musicians showcased their vocal and instrumental talents at Student Soloist Night, hosted by the College Union Board in the Traditions Lounge on April 10.

Condon opens the night with indie music. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor)
Condon opens the night with indie music. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor)

Freshman psychology major Jake Condon kicked off the night with an acoustic rendition of “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes, followed by Elliot Smith’s “Say Yes.” Condon worked hard to make his voice heard above his strumming, as his microphone failed to pick up his vocals. The microphone did carry the sound of his acoustic guitar, which became the focal point of his performance.

As Condon strummed the final chords of “Say Yes,” several members of the intimate crowd that gathered in the lounge cheered in appreciation of Condon’s choice of songs. But just as the crowd celebrated his indie selections, Condon shook up his set.

“This song is actually by a lesser-known band — Coldplay,” Condon said sarcastically. “So if you know it, please sing along.”

Several audience members obliged, including one Traditions waitress, as Condon enthusiastically sang Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida,” accompanied again by his acoustic guitar.

After switching back to lesser-known music with Eddie Vedder’s “Society,” Condon followed up with another popular rock song — “No Surprises” by Radiohead.

“I don’t care what anybody says, Radiohead is the best band ever,” Condon said, before concluding his set with Oasis’ “Wonderwall.”

Ethan Crasto, a senior statistics major, performed several original songs, as well as some covers, accompanied by his keyboard.

In his first untitled original, Crasto made the audience question technology’s role in society with lyrics like “will people become obsolete?”

Continuing the theme of critiquing the “talking heads” on TV and those who choose to “document everything” on social media, Crasto covered Ed Sheeran’s “What Do I Know?” which had several audience members nodding and singing along to the familiar beat.

The same Traditions waitress who appreciated Condon’s selection returned, exclaiming “I know this song! I don’t know the lyrics, but I know it.”

Crasto then performed another untitled original, though this piece was a love song with lyrics like “When I’m with you, you always take my breath away” and “There isn’t a thing I won’t do to get you back.”

Though Crasto occasionally stumbled and apologized to the audience with an “oh geez, Louise,” the supportive crowd was quick to cheer back, saying “It’s OK!”

As Crasto covered Kesha’s “Praying,” he stopped abruptly.

“I don’t know the rest of the lyrics,” he said. “Classic rock songs that I actually know? Let’s try that.”

Crasto then confidently sang “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey before providing the audience with his last original of the night — an emotional ballad about getting ghosted. He then concluded his set with John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

Seizing the opportunity of an open microphone and a captive audience as CUB members prepared the stage for the final soloist, the Traditions waitress returned to the lounge. She dashed up to the microphone and sang the hook of “My Neck, My Back” by Khia Shamone to the audience’s amusement before she ran off, consumed by laughter with a coworker who caught the incident on Snapchat.

Chris Moncado, a senior communication studies major, finished off the night with a series of original pieces, including upbeat rock songs like “Reciprocate” and “Stay a While.”

With plenty of ups and downs in volume and pace, Moncado kept the audience on their toes during his high-energy set. His electric guitar created an edgier vibe than that of the previous two soloists.

Moncado’s fast strumming built tension in his songs that made the audience eager for the chorus. As he chanted “Lies! Lies! Lies!” during his final song, several audience members chanted back “Salt! Salt! Salt,” in humourous support.

As Moncado strummed his final notes, the small crowd applauded loudly, not only for his electrifying performance, but for the hard work and talent of all three soloists.

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