Noise 101 for Feb. 17, 2011
Jam soothes the student soul
by Carter Arlette
Music is one of the many things that makes our species unique. The ability to take strings, sticks and skins, and arrange them in a manner that can be melodically and rhythmically played together to tell a story is no small feat.
For some people, music is something that they have perpetually plugged into one ear as they walk down the street, like their own day-to-day soundtrack. For others it’s a passion: they spend their free time composing and learning their own songs.
Musical passion is not something that can be read solely from a person’s attire or attitude. For many, their music is an intensely personal subject, and is confined to the walls of their home. Finding and creating comfortable public outlets to share music and interact with other musicians can be a challenge, especially as a student.
Most venues are bars and coffee shops, which can be a fun time, but require the transport of musicians and instruments. This can be a hassle if your primary mode of transportation is public transit, and you have a paper due the next day. However, Mount Royal residence has a “close to home” solution to this.
Jam Night in Res has been running for the past three years. This open-mic-style jam brings musicians together to share their talent with each other and an audience of their peers. There is no formal sign-up process: performers can show up whenever and take a turn in the spotlight. This provides an informal, easy-going environment that draws out our resident artists. Most evenings start with individual acts, eventually ending with impromptu jamming. Organized by the Residence Activity Council, it is one of the most popular events hosted in residence, and is run on a regular basis.
Performances are not limited to just current residents. Local artists are invited to share their experiences and help create a supportive and open environment to foster creativity and collaboration. Past acts have included everything from the bagpipes to piano, violin to vocals, and of course the guitar. Former organizers and supporters have also been invited back to help out and perform.
Every now and then, a resident celebrity will make an appearance. In 2008, James McInnes, also known as Peterpot, astonished judges at the Stampede with his amazing beat boxing routine, which won him the Stampede Talent Search. McInnes then shared his talent with us. McInnes’ skill and presence at Jam Night was an inspiration to other musicians, brought out an amazing crowd and helped foster welcoming and accepting environment.
Usually situated in the middle of the week, Jam Night helps break up the barrage of projects and exams, providing an outlet for both musicians and listeners alike. The event can help boost confidence and relax stressed minds. Long lasting friendships have been formed over the sharing of chords and lyrics. Some of the songs you will hear have never been heard before. Who knows, perhaps you’re sitting beside the next John Lennon or Joni Mitchell?
Jam Night dates can be found through the Residence Activity Council, or by contacting “A Promise to Keep” on Facebook.
To call The King is Dead a departure from the past would be an understatement comparable to calling The Beatles a somewhat popular band.
The Canadian boys of Us & Others make a commanding but belated echo of the sombre and often troubled calls of ‘90s adult contemporary rock on their debut album Patchwork. The weaving of distinctly upbeat, yet tempered electric guitar, and folk riffs combined with a consistent mish-mash of layered drumming characterizes this album as more of a melancholy endeavour. Its sound places it in the field of artists like Third Eye Blind and The Wallflowers, whom lead singer Graeme Cornies subtly mimics.
I don’t usually like EPs. Maybe it’s because most of them are just unmastered or unfinished versions of songs that will sound better on the full album, or because they’re usually throwaway songs that had no hope of making the album anyways. That, and they’re usually only like five songs long, much like The Love EP.