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Festive foolery at the Merc’s Halloween

Big Halloween Showcase at the Mercury Cafe

On the evening of this past Saturday, Oct. 27, the infamous Mercury Cafe hosted its Big Halloween Showcase with a stacked lineup of groups that spanned a variety of genres and styles and other miscellaneous performances similarly wide-ranged. 

The venue provided the apposite location and atmosphere for such a thematic yet diverse event. Nearly every individual—audience-goer and performer alike—attended in full costume, embracing the spooky season tenfold. Complete with string lights, candlelit tables, and live painting, the ambience of the room set the tone for the whole night. 

Moreover, in the spirit of the artistic activities often found throughout the whole year at the Mercury Cafe, the showcase was peppered with poetry readings and flow dance performances, creating a seamless evening of back-to-back entertainment. 

The musical performances were overall groovy and eclectic, and best of all, comprised entirely of local acts. This included a wide range of instrumentations across all the groups, from King Eddie’s pedal-soaked 12-string guitar and keyboard stacks to Twin Flame Medicine’s electric ukulele. 

The most notable of these unconventional instrumentations was that of Ramakhandra, featuring acoustic harp and vocals over a rhythm section with bass, keys, and drums. From this, the group developed a creative synthesis of lurching, irregular beats and mellow harmonic layers with tight bass grooves and tasteful keyboard patches. This made for a roster of tunes that both mesmerized the audience and coerced them to get down on the dance floor. Technically, they stole the stage as well with excellent dynamic control, complex song structure, and cool costumes to boot.

Ramakhandra busted out a full sized harp on stage. Photo credit: John Mazzetta · The Sentry

 

Following this was Twin Flame Medicine, a tight trio consisting of electric ukulele, bass, and drums. While at times repetitive, the group revitalized the laid-back singer-songwriter aesthetic, utilizing an admirably wide dynamic range to accomplish this feat. Each member was also charmingly dressed as their respective Dungeons & Dragons character, adding on to the character of the overall performance. 

Soon after, Kaitlyn Williams took to the stage, wielding a full-sized keyboard and a backing band including drums, bass, and guitar. With an impressive vocal range and dexterous control over the piano, Williams was able to develop a dancey yet expressive Neo-soul sound that further added to the comprehensive variation of the entire evening. Her supporting band was well-refined too, incorporating enough nuance to keep the performance engaging all the way through. Surprisingly, many of the songs opened up to improvisational jams, allowing each member of the ensemble multiple opportunities to act as a soloist. Stylish and purposeful, each one of these instrumental solos did its part in supporting Kaitlyn Williams’ multi-instrumental proficiency. 

The Big Halloween Showcase was an elegant yet exciting evening, and a success for all the bands, poets, and artists associated with it.

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