Grove coffeehouse cultivates budding talent

John Cherney, junior psychology major, delivered his poetry to the coffeehouse crowd on Thursday. (Photo Courtesy of Chris Lombardi)

WTSR played host to a medley of music and poetry at its coffeehouse, “Decaf,” at the Alumni Grove on Thursday, Sept. 2.

“I perform every couple months, but definitely not as much as I’d like to,” junior religious studies major Jake Ehrlich said. Ehrlich took the second opening act for headliner Cat Cosentino, after the local band Green Paper performed.

“This was the first time this year and I’m glad I was asked to play,” he said.

Ehrlich began playing guitar at age 11 and added singing and writing songs to his repetoire at age 16. In college, Ehrlich began performing his folk-style music at the Rathskeller and now helps to book acts for the on-campus bar venue, as CUB-Rat Co-Chair. Along with his cover of Cindy Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Ehrlich played a cover of one of his close friend’s songs “Freaky Painting” and an original titled “The Gum of Love.”

Before Ehrlich took the mic, though, Green Paper started the night off with a little alternative rock/pop rock. Junior international studies major Tomm Hart sang lead as guitarists Michael Mendonez, senior English major, and 21 year-old Jeff Lane from Parsipanny picked up the background music.

With inspiration from classic acts like The Beatles and The Beach Boys, Green Paper easily captured the attention of the audience. The two guitars were accompanied by an electronic xylophone which created an original sound for the band as they played songs such as “Floating” and “Thanks You.”

“We’re just friendly, funny guys and we want everyone to come see us,” Lane said. The band also played at Café Under the Stars on Sunday, Aug. 29 and they will continue playing campus shows.

Before Cat Cosentino performed with guitarist Jeff Rupert, students performed various forms of poetry.

Freshman journalism major Mike Hassin performed his work for the first time on Thursday, including his poem “Welcome” and short stories from his collection of “Stories from Another Place.”

Junior psychology major John Cherney performed his slam poetry next. The All College Theatre member shared his authentic poems “Levitate” and “Ode to my Bathroom.” Cherney was confident and enthusiastic, despite it being his first time performing poetry.

Freshman open options science major Shari Pollak sang her poem “The Zahir” a capella and received generous applause for her first time performance.

Cosentino finally took the stage as the evening turned to dusk. Her performances of original songs “Parallel” and “You Do or You Don’t” were soothing and mesmerizing. Cosentino’s band, Cat, not only performs here at the College through WTSR, but will be playing at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City on Friday and Saturday nights starting in November.

Considering Cosentino has only been playing the guitar since her freshman year of college, she has come a long way. The singer/songwriter plays weekly paid bar gigs, and even has an EP out called “Cat Live at the Stone Pony.”

“I want to start a No Doubt cover band,” Cosentino said. “I would love to be Gwen. But it’s just really the people I listen to who make me want to sing.”

For more information on any of the artists who performed at “Decaf,” check out Myspace Music. Green Paper has a free EP, “Bookends,” on the band’s page, myspace.com/greenpapermusic.

Jake Ehrlich features more of his folk style music on his page, myspace.com/jakeehrlichmusic, and Cat Cosentino has more music and information at myspace.com/catcosentino.

WTSR will be sponsoring more coffeehouse events throughout the semester. Check out wtsr.org for more information.

Hilarey Wojtowicz can be reached at wojtowi3@tcnj.edu.