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Valentine's Open Mic Night lets students express darker side

By Kindle Ivey
On February 20, 2013


Valentine's Day is always filled with candy, roses and love all around, but at Open Mic Night at the Paul Meek Library this past Thursday, a completely different theme was shown for the day with performances showing the "Dark Side of Love."

The night began with senior Philosophy major Ryan Carney who truly embraced the theme, playing an original song, "She Calls From the Shadows" on guitar. He followed with covering two darker songs by a death metal band called Thanatos.

"I write almost all my songs; tonight was the first night I've played cover songs, and it's because they just seemed real appropriate for tonight," Carney said.

Despite the dark nature of his songs, Carney still enjoys Valentine's Day, and simply performed the songs because of his love for darker music.

"I love Valentine's Day, but I'm a gothic type person so I enjoy scary, evil and dark stuff," Carney said.

Carney is known as a regular by the audience and participants of Open Mic Nights.

"I've been coming about a year, and I wanted to come to Open Mic Night, because it's really the only place around here that I can be heard. I live in Dyersburg, Tenn., and there's a coffee shop there, but there's hardly anyone ever there so I like coming here," Carney said.

UTM English Professor Dr. David Carithers, who also played the guitar, was the second person of the night to perform; he started with covering a Bob Dylan song and then a song by The Rolling Stones. He closed his set with an original, "February Snow," written by him and Jim Nance, the Open Mic Night host.

The third person, freshman Communications major Jared Polk, continued the night with a meaningful hip-hop song. He began by saying he knew there was a theme for the night, but he was dedicating his song to someone he knew who had lost someone recently. Polk has been attending Open Mic Nights for a little while now and always confidently performs.

"I started last semester, and it was my first semester here. One day I was just curious when they were out by the fire pit having it and decided to go check it out. I beat-boxed that night but mostly I perform R&B, a little bit of hip-hop, beat-boxing and really just anything I'm feeling at the time," Polk said.

The next participant, a high school visitor, LJ, performed "Cups," from the recently released popular movie, "Pitch Perfect" and originally sung by Lulu and the Lampshades. This song involves sitting on the floor and using a plastic cup to supply the beat while singing.

Keeping with the fact that it is Valentine's Day, another high school visitor, Jaclyn, gave a heartfelt performance of Celine Dion's song "Because You Loved Me." After that, another high school visitor, Bre, finished the night with reading an original poem called "Time."

Host and UTM librarian, Jim Nance, started Open Mic Night a few years ago.

"When we opened the coffee bar I said, 'When I was a kid we went to a coffee bar and listened to music,'" Nance said.

Nance and other participants believe that Open Mic Night is a great event for students to attend while on campus at UTM.

"It's a way to meet new people and see what different talents people have," Polk said.

"It's something to do one night a week; it's free and safe and it's different. There's nothing else on campus like it," Nance said. "If you listen to these performers, then maybe it'll make you think 'I can do that,'" said Nance.

Nance himself performs by reading poems between acts.

Open Mic Nights are usually every other week in the Skyhawk Café from 8 to 10 p.m. and open to everyone interested in showcasing any talent they possess.

"If you're brave enough to get up in front, then you're pretty darn good," Nance said. 

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