-Layla Bozich, Staff

I emerged from the pouring rain last Wednesday and dried myself off during the annual Arts Night at the Brantford Arts Block, hosted by Laurier Brantford students Victoria Currie, Sarah Moore, and Eric Elliott. The small yet welcoming space was warm and colourful, with art from Brantford residents decorating the walls. I warmed up to the smell of hot chocolate and the sounds of chatter and microphone checks. A wide array of acts were scheduled to perform, including bands, poets, and singers.

First to confidently take the stage was second year student, Michael Lyn. He read aloud a selection of poetry, including a poem that was inspired by the video game, Call of Duty. I was interested to see where Michael’s writing career began. “My grade 12 teacher was pretty influential on me,” Lyn said. “He got me started on some projects that I actually enjoyed, where I could write anything I want, and no one is going to judge me about it. I like that part of it.”

As a last minute addition to the set list, fourth year student Chris Tang made his way to the stage to sing Death Cab for Cutie’s “I Will Follow You into the Dark.” “This is my first [time] singing on stage, ever,” Tang announced before beginning the song. After his performance, I asked Chris how many times he had practiced the song. “At least five,” he said. “All [were] today. I practiced until my throat went dry, and then I drank a glass of iced tea. Then I practiced a little bit more,” he laughed.

Safe, Then Sorry, a band featuring guitarist Alex Maich, bassist Chris Tanaka-Mann, and drummer Ryan Luke entertained the crowd with some raw and powerful tunes. Ryan insisted on taking a break from the playing the drums so he could play guitar for a song he wrote entitled “Bungalow.”

“First I thought of ‘Gung-ho in my bungalow.’ And then I found every word in the world that rhymed with ‘O,’” Luke explained of his comical masterpiece about “a guy who’s scared to leave his house.” The band asked the crowd to sing along to Bungalow’s chorus, a simple yet hilarious repetition of “B-b-b-b-bungalow.”

Near the end of the night, the band Riff Raff, comprised of guitarist Craig Dafoe, drummer Ryan Luke, and bassist Patrick Benton-Roy, breezed through a few jams, most of which are currently unnamed. “Did anyone think of any lyrics?” Dafoe asked the crowd after their first song. I asked Craig what he thought Arts Night brought to the students of Laurier Brantford. “It gets people out for the arts,” he said. “A lot of Contemporary Studies [students] need something like [Arts Night] because their courses are so vague.”

Eric Elliott, one of the hosts of Arts Night, read his poetry and played a few melodic tunes on the guitar, one of which he simply calls “Spanish Song.” I had a chance to sit down with Eric after the performances. Eric is an avid poet, and I was eager to ask how comfortable he was with reading his poems to a crowd. “I do enjoy sharing them, I just need to perfect the art of saying them out loud,” he explained. I was curious how Eric thought the show benefitted Laurier Brantford. “I think it’s just another way for musicians and artists to showcase their work, because we don’t get a lot of chances like that. We like to grab them when we can,” he said.

It was evident that after three years of the annual event, talented students from Laurier Brantford are not hard to find. With another Arts Night being planned for second semester, the hosts are hoping to see new faces, new talent, and with luck, nicer weather.

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