Hawks Coffeehouse features "The Voice" contestant, Nelly’s Echo

By: 
Reno Waswil
Date: 
Friday, September 30th, 2016

As the reader may know, Union Board's fortnightly Wednesday event, Hawks Coffeehouse, invites musical artists and poets to perform at the MTCC Welcome Center from 7-8 p.m., offering drinks and pastries for the patrons. Last Wednesday, September 28, saw a rainy return to the classic Hawks Coffeehouse style that had been experimented with somewhat on the previous few nights. This particular week featured artist Nelson Emokpae of Nelly’s Echo, a touring musician who can attribute his current notoriety to being a contestant on season 3 of National Broadcasting Company (NBC)’s hit show “The Voice.”

Emokpae’s performance was expert. Though most of his set featured the popular covers attendees may have come to expect from events like these (such as Jason Mraz’s “I'm Yours” and Leonard Cohen's “Hallelujah”), much of his set had him doing unintuitive mash-ups of these sorts of songs that might not be expected to work together. He also would often, sometimes in the middle of songs, implant observations of the audience and otherwise cheeky and spontaneous alternative lyrics into songs for the sake of humor. Such examples of this were his polite references to what audience members were doing and looked like, his traffic upset upon arriving in the city, and where he was off to on his tour after Illinois Tech.

His performance, along with Alien Sound and Lighting’s, compared to past weeks: a more stripped-down and classic sound setup made this Hawks Coffeehouse its usual positive and relaxing experience. It was only made better by the catering for this week, which featured both chocolate and raspberry walnut biscotti. This was also the first of this series of events this semester to feature apple cider along with the usual coffee provisions by Sodexo, a seasonal mainstay for the recent autumn equinox on Thursday, September 22.

A great upset to the event, and perhaps to many of the other events that were planned for that Wednesday night, seemed to have been the extensive storming and rainfall that day. At the beginning, the usually packed Welcome Center venue was nearly vacant, a feature on which Emokpae couldn't help but humorously comment. Furthermore, upon arriving at the university, Emokpae, wishing not to get his clothes and guitar wet, elected to camp out in his car until the rain let up enough for him to make a swift break for the MTCC entrance.

By the closing however, there was a sizable crowd of over 30 people to see the very last few minutes of the show, and Emokpae graciously went over his allotted time ever so slightly to give them something for their time.

The intrigued reader is advised to come to the next Hawks Coffeehouse featuring musical artist “Lakin,” 7 p.m. October 14th in the MTCC Welcome Center; coffee and apple cider will, once again, be making a welcome appearance.