Musicians Compete to Open for Bowling for Soup

Photo by Tom Mannion

Many students are probably familiar with Open Mic Nights, hosted every other Tuesday in the Linden Coffeehouse. The bi-weekly event serves coffee and snacks, including cookies and brownies. It plays host to all sorts of acts, this week's included metal, glam rock, acoustic singer-songwriters, stand-up comedy and many more.

However, this week's installment was different than the usual fare. The first hour of performances was dedicated entirely to auditions for the school's upcoming free concert, to be held on May 1 at the Bandshell. The winner will open for Bowling For Soup, the headlining act. Bowling For Soup is a pop-punk band from Texas, known for the hit songs "1985," "Girl All the Bad Guys Want" and "Almost."

As a result, there was a rather large, eclectic crowd drawn, with everyone hoping to get a shot at the spotlight. One particularly interesting act, and apparent Open Mic favorite, was Roshambo. The glam rock five-piece performed their hit single "Beat the Meat" to major positive crowd response. When asked about their roots, Roshambo said that, although they "formed in 1989," they've been playing at Open Mic since September. According to Jay J. Skoopz, lead guitarist, they are influenced by "…metal bands and Stevie Wonder."

Certainly their stage presence was a noticeable one, with almost the entire band donning wigs and eye makeup and singing explicit, off-the-wall songs. "The crowd generally likes us, although we've had some complaints" said Skoopz. Roshambo plans on recording their debut, titled “The Morning After,” this summer.

Singer-songwriter Alyssa Puccio, freshman, said that she likes Open Mic because the College Programming Board manages to draw a pretty large crowd, unlike at a lot of other on-campus events. She has performed at the event more than once, and has also performed on campus as the Alyssa Puccio Band. Alyssa is happy that there's "always new people coming to show us what they've got."

One local alternative rock band, Halogens, said that it was their first time performing at the event, although they have played at larger venues. When asked about his expectations for the performance, drummer George Saives said that "I just want to play some music, whatever happens, happens." They were only able to bring out half the band (the half that attends Ramapo), but they managed to perform a rousing rendition of “Swimming Pool” by fellow Ramapo alumi the Front Bottoms for their audition.

They stuck around for a few other acts, because according to Zach Henry, Halogens lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, "some guys said that we rocked, so we're watching them. It's important for bands to support each other."

Halogens mostly performs in their time off from school. They recently played the Meatlocker in Montclair over spring break as a four year anniversary show, and plan on several bigger shows this summer, as well as releasing their next EP. The two also praised the performance by Roshambo, saying they had been looking forward to seeing them and they did not disappoint.

The winner of the audition will be announced this Friday, April 10.