After a long day of classes, exams, and one of the Humans Versus Zombies missions, I was only expecting to relax and play cards at the Underground Coffeehouse the evening of May 9. Of course, I had forgotten it was Wednesday night.

Wednesdays are usually when bands perform at the Underground Coffeehouse in the Viking Union. These events are usually free for students and coordinated by the Associated Students on campus.

My friend and I went to the coffeehouse to relax and play some Rummy after the HvZ mission, and we found the place packed. We decided to stick around and found a seat in the back of the shop, with a small view of the stage. Regardless of seating, I am very glad we stayed. 

The band playing was local band Ravenna Woods, from Seattle. During the last-minute sound checks, the audience was given a taste of what was to come–everything from piano, acoustic guitar, keyboard, chimes, xylophone, and vocals. Once the sound was tuned and the lights were dimmed, Ravenna Woods took us all for a tour of their music.

The music was a fantastic mix of drawn out vocals, piano and keyboards, fast string plucking, and unorthodox drum rhythms. There were many times during the performance that I caught myself and other audience members drumming or clapping along to the beat. All of this coalesces into a haunting sound that stays with you hours later.

The audience was almost instantly taken by the band. They remained quiet and attentive during each song, and were liberal with their applause afterward.

I was so drawn in that my sense of time was thrown off. It wasn’t until the baristas at the counter called for last drinks that I realized it had only been about fifty-minutes of playing. It was during the second song that I realized I wanted to buy their music, but I was transfixed in my seat until their set was almost done.

The album they had on the merch table (along with shirts) was a clean $10, which I readily accepted. I figured it was definitely worth stumbling upon a new band and seeing a great performance, for free. Plus, it helped out a local band, which I am all for.

The moral of this story is that I highly recommend going to the local coffeehouses more often for serendipitous live shows, and to keep an eye on upcoming AS events, as they can really take you by surprise.