Brendan Descamps, Staff Writer
The KAUG Open Mic, which took place on Friday Sept. 25, was an exciting and successful way to close out Homecoming Week. The student lounge was full of attendees who clapped and cheered for the various acts. The performers themselves were great and were well received by the crowd. There were rappers, musicians, poets and even a stand-up act (a rarity at KAUG open mics).
The headliners of the event pumped nothing but positive energy into the air. Annika Henry opened the night with a very simple introduction: “I write gay songs.” Henry was a strong solo act who performed feel-good, acoustic pieces about self-love, romantic-love, tough breakups, and friendship. Henry, being the first headliner, effortlessly filled the space with a feeling of inclusivity. One of the songs that tugged at the heartstrings of the audience members was about Henry’s “first gay-heartbreak.” Attendees clapped along and cheered happily at the end of the performance. The overall energy that Henry brought to the open mic was positive and the room was left chattering in anticipation for the next act.
Following these performances, the next headliners were a group-act called Vial. They kicked off their set with an apology about how loud their music is. Vial proceeded to blow away the audience with a high-energy performance. Their volume proved without a doubt that they had been either lying or joking (I think both) about the apology they introduced themselves with. Vial consists of two vocalists (one playing a keytar and the other an electric guitar), a bass player and a drummer. The group meshed so well together that their chemistry could be felt throughout the lounge. The audience was, in some instances, dancing along, and those who weren’t dancing tapped their feet or bobbed their heads. Vial rocked the student lounge and energized the crowd for the rest of the night.
The last, but most certainly not least, headliner was Kate Malanaphy. Malanaphy introduced themselves by saying that they go to Hamline and perhaps they shouldn’t have told us before the performance. Hamline student or not, Malanaphy’s soft and slow solo piano/keyboard act was worthy of waving your lighter (or phone flashlight) in the air. The songs performed by Malanaphy were low energy, but that did not stop the crowd from excitedly cheering after every piece. Malanaphy successfully captivated the audience with heartfelt keynotes and warm, soft vocals. This performance was well-placed in the lineup, blanketing a sense of closure over the event.
Numerous talented Auggies took the stage as well. There were a few rap performances that had the crowd bobbing their heads. The stand-up comedy act had the crowd laughing and it dispelled many reservations the audience may have had about interacting with the performers. Finally, there were a few spoken word/poems performed, which were jarring and eye-opening to say the least. These performers delivered their words deliberately and with conviction and had those in attendance on the edge of their seats. The KAUG open mic was truly an exciting event and I am glad that I, and so many others, had the chance to attend.
This article was originally published in the October 4, 2019 issue.