By Adam Bergeron
Lexie Buiel was seated in the center of a bright stage at the front of a dimly-lit room packed full of students. She held a ukulele in her hands and was halfway through her performance of “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons, when her nerves got the best of her.
Buiel had finished her first performance on the piano to enthusiastic applause then she switched over to the ukulele.
“I can’t even tell you how many times I practiced ‘Radioactive’ and then up on stage I had no idea. I completely blanked,” she said.
“That was awesome,” Buiel said, thinking back to her performance. “I started blanking and in my head I was swearing profusely and freaking out. Then out of nowhere everyone is egging me on and saying ‘it’s ok, you’re doing great.’ That was incredible.”
Buiel was unsure if she would perform again but said she was happy with what she did considering how “freaked out” she was. She continued by saying she likes the positive and supportive environment of the venue.
Buiel was performing at The Grind, a free, once-a-month coffeehouse put on by the Campus Activity Board on Friday nights. The sounds of music and hearty laughter echoed from the MUB basement where this mixture of pure wildcat talent and coffee could be found.
Fifteen minutes before the show began at 8 p.m., the hall outside the MUB’s Entertainment Center was buzzing with a crowd of students. An open mic awaited anyone with comedic or musical talent to share.
Angie Foley, the CAB member in charge of running the show, said she originally got involved with The Grind as a performer. Now as the event chairperson, she and the other CAB members are responsible for setting up the room and preparing the refreshments.
In the kitchen, Jennifer Tanto, a freshman member of CAB, helped handle the coffee, hot apple cider, pizza bites and various other snacks that were up for grabs.
Friday’s show began with a skit performed by Sketched Out Comedy Troupe. In addition to their skit, the group was this show’s host, a newly-introduced position at The Grind. As the hosts, they were responsible for introducing performers and calling for applause. The rest of the night was filled with stand-up comedy, singers, guitarists, pianists and even slam poetry.
At The Grind, however, breaking the silence was not left up to crickets. What started with shouts of encouragement from the audience turned into rhythmic clapping, and then the entire room singing along, providing the words Buiel needed.
The next edition of The Grind is scheduled for the first Friday of November. Performers are asked to show up 15 minutes early to add their name to the event’s schedule.