The new music initiative at The Mat has been filling Parker Commons with sound since it began this past January. Now, the series is growing and bringing the music into downtown Hamilton with The MatX series.
On Thursday, April 25, The Mat partnered with FoJo Beans to host the first ever MatX event. At the start of the show, senior Mark Sibold, one of The Mat’s senior committee members, explained that the name is a play on the famous TEDx events that bring TED talks to smaller communities.
“We are trying to create a more vibrant music scene [in town] and this is the beginning of that,” Sibold said.
Sibold and the other students organizing The MatX series kept the spirit of the original initiative by hosting both student and professional artists. The night began with an hour of student performances. The coffeehouse overflowed with cheers as each student took the spotlight.
First up was first-year Emily Cope who skillfully sang and played the acoustic guitar for three original songs. Next was senior Tabitha Gomez, who performed three spoken word poems, the last of which elicited cheers from students who related to the message to relax and live life in the face of the intellectual and monetary pressures of college. The final student performer was senior Esteban Dardani, whose stage name is Stev-in. Dardani sang and played the electric guitar on three original songs.
After the opening acts, singer Devin Hobdy and guitarist Corey Smith-West, also known as performing group Bathe, started their set. Despite the fact that Bathe’s debut EP “I’ll Miss You” is still in the works, the Brooklyn duo already has over 9,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and their songs have been played at H&M stores for shoppers to hear around the world.
Before beginning their set at FoJo Beans, Hobdy led the crowded coffeehouse in a meditation, a tradition that he and Smith-West repeat before every show to clear their minds. The mediation created a quiet in the room that Bathe immediately filled with their Surf R&B style songs.
Several of the songs were from their upcoming EP, giving the Hamilton community early access to their music.
Bathe kept the audience engaged throughout the entire show by prompting the audience to snap to the beat during the first song and sing a call and response line during the last.
Although FoJo Beans warned that their capacity was limited, students and community members filled the space as much as they could; several audience members even enjoyed the two hour duration of the show while standing, seeming to love the intimate setting.
“It was awesome. This is something that I feel like has been missing at Colgate for a while,” senior Drew O’Hara said.
When the music ended, several students sang the songs they heard throughout the night on the way back to campus, making it clear that both The MatX and Bathe will see even more success in the future.
Contact Marissa Volkman at email@example.com.