Student soloists perform covers and originals

A student soloist performs at the Rat.
A student soloist performs at the Rat.

Student soloists lined up to perform at another edition of the College Union Board’s Student Soloist Night at the Rathskeller on Friday, Oct. 5.

First to grace the stage was singer/songwriter Katie Miller, junior history and political science major, whose soft voice and acoustic guitar seemed to turn even the dirty Rat into a corner coffee-shop.

While playing covers of Bon Iver, Dawes, Bright Eyes, Ray LaMontage and Bob Dylan in addition to an original song, Miller’s cool stage confidence never faltered, laughingly confessing that she “forgot the chords there” at one point, and “you win some you lose some” when making her only other mistake.

Completely changing the vibe on the stage, Matt Layton strolled onto the platform after Miller, dressed as if he were attending a garage rock-and-roll band practice, with a backwards baseball cap, flannel plaid and well-worn jeans. He sang and played multiple original songs; one entitled “Cute Kittens,” and also performed some songs from an old repertoire of his band, The Dundees. Only playing the guitar seriously for six months, Layton’s audience was oblivious, bobbing their heads to the stronger beats of his songs. Layton is a junior math major.

Warming up with “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” Kristina Ali began her vocal-centered performance, gently strumming her guitar, sans pick. Hitting, and holding, the most incredibly high notes, Christina again introduced a different genre of music to the stage, singing a few originals mixed among acoustic covers of hit pop songs, including Maroon Five’s “Payphone” and Justin Bieber’s “As Long as You Love Me.”

“I feel very blessed to be able to do this,” confessed a smiling Kristina, who is also a junior, and a psychology major.

Last to broach the stage was Gary Kehoe, a senior English major, who, like Layton, was also once in a band. Bringing upon the stage a whole new set of sound equipment and an array of different guitars, Kehoe then played for the audience like only a seasoned senior could; with an air of music knowledge and self-assurance. He played covers such as Zac Brown Band’s “Keep Me in Mind,” Bruce Springsteen’s “Rosalita,” and took his own spin on Fun’s “Some Nights,” satirizing the lyrics to instead be about “he who makes bath time fun;” the one and only rubber ducky. Taking another original risk, Kehoe pulled Emily Witcowski onto the stage with him, and what was supposed to be a night of solos included duets, as the melodic pair harmonized with hits such as “Little Talks” and “We Owned the Night.”

Amid cries of encore, Kehoe still left the stage at the prescribed time of 8 p.m., taking along with him the majority of the Rat’s clientele. It became eerily quiet as the smells of the deep-fryer again began to overpower the almost silent restaurant.