Coffee shops and live music go together like cheese and fine wine, a wonderful age-old combination that just makes sense, and students won’t have to look far to find this experience as Auburn’s very own Coffee Cat is starting a new monthly Open Mic Night that will please people’s musical appetites while they sip on lattes and cold brews that will please their palate.
An Open Mic Night might sound reminiscent of karaoke amateur hour, but thanks to Elephant Barn Productions, a local Auburn grad-run business, the talent lined up for these events will be nothing less than spectacular entertainment.
“It’s technically an Open Mic Night but we like to line everybody up a little in advance, so that we can curate the show and make sure that everybody has a great time and can come appreciate the music,” Erin Redd, Coffee Cat’s event coordinator, said.
This is a great opportunity for students to experience a variety of music and hear up-and-coming bands, as every month will hold a new lineup of fresh musicians.
Tuesday, Sept. 10 marked Coffee Cat’s first Open Mic Night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. as they partnered with Elephant Barn Productions to bring in six exciting acts. The lineup included local Auburn and Opelika bands: Sky Bells, Kaniya & Miss Unique, Freddie Lane and Fong7 as well as two traveling bands, Height Keech from Baltimore and Mister from Detroit. The lineup offered unique sounds from a diverse group of bands, so there was sure to be something for everyone to enjoy.
“We want to start to cultivate a musical community here in downtown Auburn so we can have musicians come and appreciate other musicians and have people who want to come appreciate the music, not just have sound while they’re having a beer,” said Redd.
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The night opened with Auburn alum, Marie Robertson, the owner of Elephant Barn Productions, who is a musician herself as well as an independent business owner. Robertson was a part of the music program at Auburn University and after graduating, her musical talents gave her the opportunity to perform all over and meet a variety of other artists in the industry.
Robertson’s personal connection to the music industry has given her a long list of contacts which is how Baltimore-based band Height Keech became the headliner of Coffee Cat’s first show.
“The headliner, Height Keech; I knew him from playing shows. We met on the road, and he was booking his current tour that they’re on, The Raw Roots Tour 2019, and was looking for a venue in this area, so he contacted me,” said Robertson.
Robertson framed the lineup around Keech and hand-picked some local acts she knew would fit well with his work to create a nuanced selection of talent for the night.
Both headliners, Height Keech and Mister, are hip-hop artists which added a fun twist to the typical sounds people expect to hear at a coffee shop.
Robertson and her boyfriend, Daniel Webster, opened the night with their acoustic folk band, Sky Bells. With its soft tunes and chill vibes, Sky Bells was more along the lines of what people might expect to find in a coffee shop environment before transitioning into something a little more hype with Height Keech and Mister later into the evening.
Next on the lineup were the two local openers of the night with the first being Kaniya & Miss Unique, a female singer-songwriter duo with amazing harmonies, an electro vibe and inspired lyrics. Following Kaniya & Miss Unique was Freddie Lane, who brought slower track beats while also combining that electro sound with original pop.
In between sets, Auburn DJ Fong7 played some of his original beats to keep the night one of organic music all the way through rather than playing the usual miscellaneous Spotify playlist songs while transitioning.
Mister came out with the unique hip-hop sound the night had been leading up to. His songs incorporated alternative hip-hop and rap which created a perfect segway into the music of the main headliner, Height Keech.
Height Keech is the stage name of Baltimore rapper and hip-hop artist Dan Keech. Keech said of his music, “It’s hip-hop with a bunch of rock and roll and R&B and other stuff thrown in there.”
Keech played two new songs that he mentioned being especially excited about called “Desert Racers” and “The Joy You Made Will Never Fade.” These songs were slower ballad type melodies and added a variety in genre to his normal repertoire while also tapping into that coffee shop mood.
This event showcased talent from near and far, and Coffee Cat is excited to continue holding these events each month as they strive to build a venue for artists to share their works with the Auburn community.
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