At Spigel Hall for the Residence Arts Council coffeehouse last Wednesday, the room wasn’t too decked out and the lights were dim, but it was full of enthusiastic students who had lined up at the door before it opened at 8:15 p.m.
The night opened with a goofy MC who tried too hard to be funny but had hit-or-miss jokes. He introduced Megha Manvi, who sang a beautiful cover of “Valerie”. She was definitely one of the best of the night.
Next on stage was Alice Li, a dancer. She was dressed in a lovely white skirt and a tight red tank top, and her attire flowed with her. She had some pretty impressive moves.
After her was Christopher Luey, another one of my favourites. Performing solo on the harmonica, he did his own rendition of “If I Ain’t Got You” and it was really refreshing. You don’t hear too many young students play the harmonica quite as well as he did.
Next up was Rachel Currie. Twice during her song, she asked the DJ to turn up the volume, which made her performance very loud and bass-heavy. It was unfortunate—she had a nice voice but the bass rocking the room took away from that a bit.
Frenielle Frias and Matt Lee were next; a cute duo who sang “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. The only thing about these two was that Lee overpowered Frias when they sang together and it was more evident towards the end of the song for the longer notes.
Singer Anna Bonato followed them. She belted out a slower version of “Nobody’s Perfect” by Jessie J that fit really well with her deep, jazzy voice. For that reason, her range didn’t quite stand up to the highest notes, but she nailed the rest of the song. She was one of the best of the night.
UTM’s own Delores Lanni and Sean Kinsella were next. They performed three songs: “Falling Slowly”, “Disarm”, and “Everybody’s Got Someone but Me”. And it was beautiful. They both had great folksy voices that blended well together. Kinsella then performed a few songs on his own; he reminded me of an acoustic Dave Matthews and it was great to listen to him.
After a 10-minute intermission, Luey came back on stage for another amazing performance. The MC introduced him and embarrassed Luey’s friends, who showed up late and missed his first performance. He totally rocked it and even received a standing ovation.
Following him was another duo, Miranda Scharf and Meredith Dodds, who sang an acoustic version of “Mamma Mia” by ABBA. They were both pretty good singers but it was another duo where one overpowered the other, albeit slightly.
Irene Chukwu came next and was easily another one of the night’s best performers; she reminded me a lot of Beyoncé’s singing in slower songs, especially “Halo”. She rocked the high notes, earning herself cheers and whistling from the crowd even before her performance was over. She received a standing ovation when she finished.
The UTM Music Club’s Katherine Nader and Jason Selvanayagam were up next—another great performance. They performed together before inviting another club member, Mohamed Mansour, onstage for a Red Hot Chili Peppers cover.
The MC returned and had everyone stomp their feet and cheer for Roberto Linqui, the only electric guitarist of the night (and a skilled one).
Bryce Hedden was the second-last singer of the night. He opened with a joke and was really outgoing and fun. His voice was raspy but warm and sounded a lot like a rock vocalist trying some acoustic numbers.
Liyana Johan and her friend Tiffany from the band Nebula performed last. Johan excused their drummer’s absence and cracked a few jokes during the technical difficulties. They did a medley of four recent pop songs: Sam Smith’s “Stay with Me”, Tove Lo’s “Habits (Stay High)”, Beyoncé’s “XO”, and Sia’s “Chandelier”. Their performance was absolutely amazing and Johan’s rendition of “Chandelier” sounded better than Sia’s version, in my opinion. They were a fantastic end to the night.