by JONATHAN BROOKSHIRE/Social Media Coordinator
Incredible duets, awesome guitar solos, and wonderful displays of musical talent made the newest edition of Thursday Nite Live a huge success.
The TNL ensemble performed on March 10 at Tom T. Hall in the Commercial Music Building on the Levelland campus.
The main focus of TNL is to showcase the musical talent at the college. This semester’s cast features: Monique Ford and Carly Durham, vocalists and tambourine players; Robert Higgins, guitarist; Jason James Barocio, drummer; Corbin Burget, guitarist and vocalist; and Rian Castillo, vocalist, guitarist, and pianist.
The TNL cast performs songs, new and old, giving each song a unique turn. Some of the songs they performed were from The Eagles, Meghan Trainor, Brad Paisley, Black Crowes, Adele, Elvis, and The Who.
Each young artist put in a variety of songs which they built the set upon. After many rehearsals later, the total of about 30 songs had dwindled down to 10.
“We picked some songs that we liked and went from there,” Ford said. “Some songs didn’t fit in, so we omitted them.”
The show is influenced by the better-known show, Saturday Nite Live. TNL is less comedy centric and doesn’t have acting skits, but jokes and comedic relief come into play every now and then.
The night started out with Wade McNutt, instructor of commercial music, thanking the audience for coming and also prompting them to cheer when the countdown hit zero. Then a video introduced the cast, and the night was on.
The lights went dark and Burget came out strong with a guitar solo that set the tone for the entire show. With Burget still playing the guitar, the rest of the band began to play as well as Durham rocks the audience with her vocals on “Those Shoes.”
“I had been going to West Texas A&M for three semesters, and I had no idea what I was going to do,” said Durham, who is from Shallowater. “I had gone through five different majors, and finally decided that I really loved singing.”
After the first song, the lights turned off and the next song began.
Burget began with another guitar solo. He started off slow and then really started tearing the strings off his guitar. After his short jam session and a dedication to everybody who likes camo, he began to sing the Brad Paisley song, “Camouflage.”
Burget says that Joe Satriani and Brad Paisley are some of his favorite guitar players, and Josh Turner, Chris Young, and Eric Church are some of his influences for singing.
He said he also enjoys every part of performing.
“When playing live shows, I’m able to really get into the songs and get the audience’s attention,” Burget explains. “I love working the crowd and even pausing for brief seconds during a guitar solo, just to make sure people really turn their ears towards what I’m playing.”
Barocio says that his favorite part about the show was that it all came together because of [their] drive, passion, and professionalism.
“The best part of a show happens when you’re expecting something to go wrong,” Barocio explains. “But the final product is better than you thought it could.”
Also bringing the successful sound of this semester’s TNL show was Higgins, who also played the guitar. At some points during the performance, Higgins was doing windmills on the guitar, really getting into the music.
According to Higgins, music is a peculiar avenue of expression.
“It’s cool how music can manipulate someone’s emotions or trigger certain memories,” Higgins said. “It’s just a fantastic medium for creating art.”
A beautiful example of just how music can trigger emotions came from the duet of Ford and Castillo, singing the song, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You.” The soft lyrics and the two singing to each other instead of just singing the song gave the live performance an extra dimension.
However, the most amazing part of the night featured the Adele song, “Hello.”
The stage was pitch black and the two video screens were playing the YouTube video “Adele Carpool Karaoke.”
The interviewer, James Corden, and Adele began to sing her song “Hello.” Just before the song gets to the chorus the screens turn off and a single stage light shines on Ford as she bursts out the chorus of the song.
The transition from Adele to Ford blew away the crowd.
Following one of the songs, McNutt and Castillo had a battle on the piano. Castillo began striking keys. Then McNutt jumped into the seat next to him, taking over the left side of the piano and strutting his fingers across the keys, showing what he can do.
After each turn, the two got more intense, both racing their fingers on the piano. While the other was playing, the other would make faces and react to the display of talent the other had. At the end of the battle, Castillo kicked McNutt off the piano and off the stage, smiling and showing the crowd who had won.
This scene was just one of the many that showcased the talent of the TNL cast.
The lighting and audio crews also did a wonderful job, setting the mood and atmosphere for each song. During rock sessions and guitar solos, the lights flashed around the stage. During the soulful songs such as “Hello” and “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” the lights were soft and focused on the singer to really set the mood.
“We really tried to play to the performers’ strengths,” McNutt said. “And it was one of the top two shows we have ever done, according to long-time audience members.”