Loyolans Drop the Mic at WLUW Open Mic Night

Hosted by WLUW 88.7, Loyola’s student-run radio station, students were given the opportunity on Feb. 23 to show off their musical talents at Ireland’s Pub 10 during an open mic night. From acapella to rock to pre-recorded beats, Ramblers of all ages and musical talents were encouraged to perform.

From humming microphones to the buzz of eager students, Loyola’s student-run bar Ireland’s Pub 10 was booming with excitement Feb. 23.

The bar, located in the lower level of Damen Student Center, was the site of Loyola’s radio station WLUW’s open mic night. Offering mingling and music, the event brought together student spectators and singers.

From 7 to 10 p.m., students of all musical abilities were encouraged to perform. Performances ranged from pop covers to original songs. Led Zeppelin, Niall Horan and Elliott Smith were a few artists whose lyrics were given a new rendition throughout the night.

Grant Hartzell, a first-year history major, performed original songs and a few covers, including “Dreamin’ Slow” by Mac DeMarco.

The event drew in student musicians and spectators, while enlivening Loyola’s Ireland’s Pub 10. (Holden Green | The Phoenix)

Hartzell, who practices regularly with his bandmates at Loyola, describes his music as “whiny alt rock.” Although he performed solo at the open mic session, he said he’s interested in performing at Ireland’s with his band, which hasn’t yet decided on a name, in the future. 

On Thursday night, Hartzell’s friends cheered him on from the audience, crowding near the pool tables. He said his friends made him feel welcome, especially for his first time performing at this venue.

During the event, music enthusiasts sat at tables and ordered drinks from the bar while others danced along to the tunes.

First-year Sarvi Nalla said she attended the event to support several of her friends who were performing.

“It’s nice being able to see your friends do things like this and see their talents,” the cognitive and behavioral neuroscience major said. “It kind of made me a little emotional.”

She said Ireland’s was a great venue for the open mic night because of the dim lighting and relaxed environment.

“No one was expected to be absolutely extraordinary, even though there were a bunch of people who were absolutely extraordinary,” Nalla said

The night began to wind down at 9:30 p.m., but not before one of the final performers, Lucas Ochoa, enlivened the room with his rap performance.

As the only rapper of the night, Ochoa performed several original songs, interacting with audience members throughout.

“There’s a certain stigma when you come on stage and say you’re going to rap,” Ochoa, 21, said. 

However, he said he was comfortable because the crowd at Ireland’s was supportive.

“Even if I bombed today and everybody hated it I’d still get to go home and say I experienced that,” he said.

After rapping his first song, Ochoa revealed another talent — he’s a bird enthusiast.

Ochoa then performed an impression of a cardinal to the audience’s surprise, receiving cheers and lighthearted laughs in response.

After rapping a few more songs, Ochoa started an impromptu jam session, calling on anyone who wanted to play a beat for him. Hartzell volunteered to play in the background while Ochoa rapped for a bit longer.

Performances from students ranged from rap to acoustics, in a 40 year tradition of WLUW’s open mic night. (Holden Green | The Phoenix)

The night ended at 10 p.m. with the WLUW hosts thanking the crowd and performers for an enjoyable evening of music.

WLUW 88.7, which broadcasts 24 hours per day seven days a week, has been playing music and hosting events like the open mic night for the last 40 years, according to their website.

Megan Ybarra, a first-year multimedia journalism major, has been involved with WLUW since she came to Loyola and is currently working as a DJ for the Sunday night shift.

“College music never dies and we keep that going,” Ybarra said, “It’s a great way for Loyola students to get involved in music and the community around it.”

While she has attended open mic events hosted by other organizations before, the open mic night on Feb. 23 was Ybarra’s first time attending one hosted by WLUW.

Ybarra said she saw the event as an opportunity to meet musicians from Loyola because she hopes to collaborate with other students in the music community.

“I’ve been trying to create together with people I know,” she said.

Although the radio station has not yet announced any future open mic sessions, Ybarra said the organization hosts several music-related events each semester, including giveaways and radio marathons.
WLUW 88.7 events and updates can be found on their website where listeners can also find a link to the station’s live stream.

featured image courtesy of Holden green

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