By Setota Hailemariam
This university’s campus is pretty typical, compared to other schools of its size. There’s a student center, multiple libraries, a gym and a football stadium — every box has been checked on the list of generic features every Big 10 school must have.
However, there are a few spots on campus that glimpse into another world, a world where creativity, expression and reflection are valued more than test scores or season records.
One such place is WMUC, the school’s radio station and safe-haven for the misfits of Maryland. Located on the top floor of the South Campus Dining Hall, it gives a voice to anyone with something to say.
Many in the WMUC family are artists themselves, so the station decided to put on a showcase of their talent Feb. 17. The lineup included 12 bands and solo artists, with each act featuring at least one WMUC member, according to the event’s Facebook page.
Every room of the station is covered in graffiti, like tattoo sleeves with four panels, they bear nonsensical phrases such as “sea knuckles” and “top nachos.”
The art served as a punk-style backdrop for the showcase as artists like Sweet Peach commanded the audience’s attention.
Vocalist Yvette Meyers, from Baltimore, Maryland, said the rest of her bandmates couldn’t be there that night, but that didn’t stop her from putting on a riveting set of pop-punk-inspired tunes.
Armed with a loop pedal and flower-adorned guitar, she ripped through the band’s catalog of ironically titled songs, like “Everybody Needs a Song Called Untitled” and “I Don’t Drive,” never letting the absence of drums or bass bring her down.
Although the showcase audience was small, it didn’t make performing any less nerve-wracking, said Meyers, who has been playing music since the eighth grade and performing under the Sweet Peach moniker since June 2017.
“I don’t think it ever doesn’t make you at least a little bit nervous, unless you’re just the cockiest person alive,” she said.
The following act, Waffleboy, faced a similar issue of missing bandmates, but powered through it just as wonderfully.
Tadiyah Danforth, a junior history major and vocalist of the band, held his own as he sang and accompanied himself on the guitar through his set of newly-written songs. The band, he said, was only formed around three weeks ago, and the songs all composed this month.
With lyrics like “please don’t stop loving me anytime soon” and “incorrigible sadness” (extra points for SAT vocab), his music is best described as emotive alt-rock, drawing clear influence from the artists he fawned over in between songs, like King Krule, and covered later on in the set, AJJ.
The covers were a particular highlight, especially after Milo Paul, a member of the next band to perform, Turb, jumped in from the audience to play drums with Danforth.
Though they had never played together before, the two worked perfectly, performing a cover of FIDLAR’s “I Feel,” and demonstrating the beauty of live music — which was really the point of the whole event.
“I like intimate [shows], because I can mess around,” Danforth said. “We haven’t existed long enough to play any real shows yet, but we on the come-up.”
WMUC is doing something great by giving small artists “on the come-up” a platform to get their name out there, and its musician showcase left you walking away feeling like you just discovered the next big thing.
Featured Photo Credit: Tadiyah Danforth performing at WUMC’s Showcase. (Setota Hailemariam/Bloc Reporter)
Setota Hailemariam is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.