WESS Sponsors First Sherman Showcase Open Mic Night

(From left to right) WESS DJs Geoff Ioannidis, Isaac Oxford, Mick Tillson, and Devin Heffernan of The Guest Forms opened up for their first sponsored Showcase show. (Photo credit via Liam Kieselbach)

Riley Sardinha & Emily Egan

Editor in Chief & Student Life Editor

The WESS radio station hosted its very first Open Mic Night at the Sherman Showcase on February 23. The Sherman Theater allowed WESS to organize and sponsor this show to support local acts in hopes of making it a regular event.

Open Mic Nights are hard to come by for performers so early in the year, but luckily, the Showcase promises them a space with a hundred-person capacity, great acoustics, and a tight-knit community of locals in the audience. 

Many friends of the WESS council were invited to perform or attend as audience members, but there were a few out-of-towners on stage that night. We managed to fill up three hours of the night with a variety of acts.

First up was a supergroup of WESS members known as “The Guest Forms,” made up of program director Geoff on bass, station manager Isaac on drums, and Fidelity Mountain cohosts Devin and Mick on guitar and vocals, respectively. Their playlist included three songs from Peach Pit, Future Islands, and a spectacular cover of Songs: Ohia’s “Farewell Transmission”.

Next was ESU freshman Rachel Bailey with a solo acoustic performance of a few country songs of her choosing. Bailey hopes to connect more with WESS as a future council member, showing off her passion for the music industry. 

After her, Rissan took the stage with some original rap songs, walking throughout the venue and engaging with the audience on the ground.

Maddie Pearl Band is a self-proclaimed pop-punk group from the Lehigh Valley, who heard about the event from the Showcase website. They blew a lot of us away, so much so that a few of the WESS council members approached them afterward to get contact info for future in-studio interviews. Due to time constraints, their new single had to be left off the setlist to make room for the rest of the performers.

Geoff took the stage again for his own band, Mushhh, playing some psychedelic jams for the crowd. This was also the debut of their doom metal-tinged single, “Heavy Buscemi,” which really excited the crowd.

Edgar Gorre and the Nevermores were the next familiar act to many Stroudsburg natives, frequenting the summer Open Mic events at the Josie Porter Farm down the road. The horror punk band are close with Geoff the DJ, and was one of the first acts interviewed by him and myself in the WESS studio.

The Artist Guild members in the audience, along with Maddie Pearl’s drummer, showed their appreciation by starting the first mosh pit of the night.

Vincent Romano only did one song, a cover of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” It was an acapella and allowed the audience to embrace the song in the silence where the backing instrumentals would normally be. 

The second to last act was Max and Revak, two performers who played a power ballad to the dismay of Maddie Pearl Band, who were making fun of these types of songs earlier in the show. 

Last but not least was WESS’s own Liam “DJ Space” Kieselbach, doing an almost karaoke-style performance with a few songs of his choice from pop rock to rap to emo. He excitedly and rather appropriately ended the night with All Time Low’s “Dear Maria, Count Me In,” who will also be coming to the Sherman Theater on June 10.

When asked about his experience, Liam said: “The Open Mic at the Sherman Showcase was some of the most fun I’ve had during my time here at WESS. I loved every second, even if they were slightly terrifying.”

“I thought the event was a fantastic way to showcase a ton of super awesome artists including, but not limited to, Maddie Pearl Band, Mushhh, and The Guest Forms. As a performer myself, it was incredible to see all the positive vibes and reciprocation up on stage. Frankly, it was terrifying to get up there but after a song or 2, I felt great. I’m an anxious person but at the same time, I love being able to perform,” added Liam.

Students seemed to enjoy the night just as much as the performers. Senior Kelsey Bowman said, “It was a very fun experience with an unexpected turnout… The music fit the vibe of the room perfectly and I’ll definitely be coming back if they plan another event!”

“I hope for another Open Mic soon, and to return as a performer for the people of the Sherman,” said Liam Kieselbach.

This event was a huge accomplishment for WESS, so much so that we’ve already organized another event on March 24 for a show featuring Mushhh, Food Truck, and HAMO. WESS hopes this can be the start of a new era for the station to build up the local music community.