The venue was packed. No chairs, stools or couches were left vacant. The carpet in front of the stage was lined with rows of students, their knees pulled tightly to their chests so that more and more spectators could squeeze in amongst them. Those who still couldn’t find somewhere to sit found refuge in any nook or corner that remained available. The show was about to start.
On Wednesday night, the crowd in the Associated Students Productions Underground Coffeehouse waited anxiously in anticipation for the Well Wishers and Kevin Long to fill the room with music.
The Well Wishers is a five-person indie and folk style Bellingham-based band that has been together for no more than a year. They are composed of Western students Nate Marley, Gary Wiley, Mika Zeta, Carly Roberts and Marshal Powell. As the opening act and they couldn’t have done a better job of setting the stage than they did that night. As soon as the first chord was strung, the crowd was mesmerized.
Even the most studious members of the audience turned an ear towards the stage. Some put away their game of cards; others closed their books or shut their laptops. Even if it was just for a quick moment, everyone had to know where the glorious harmony was coming from.
The Well Wishers’ style of music is very unique with all five members contributing their beautiful and diverse voices in various songs. With every member of the band switching between different instruments throughout the night, it was hard to tell who exactly played what. Some songs were held together by nothing more than a bass and a guitar, while others incorporated flutes, ukuleles, mandolins and even trashcans for percussion.
“We’ve been together since February,” Marley said. “We all actually lived in Nash, all the original members. We met just jamming with a bunch of people.”
For one of the final songs of their set, Powell, a guitarist and singer asked members of the crowd by their own names one by one to stand up dance. Before long everyone was on their feet singing and dancing along. It was impressive how much direct encouragement the Well Wishers had from their close nit group of friends and supporters.
“I’m actually more comfortable to play with our friends. It’s not too much different than just jamming around,” Marley said.
When the Well Wishers’ set came to the end, the headliner, Kevin Long took to the stage. Long, who traveled all the way up from Seattle to perform at the Underground came to the stage impressed by the previous set.
“The Well Wishers were great. I hadn’t met any of them before, but they certainly set a tough act to follow,” Long said.
Long finished off the night with a series of his own songs. His musical talent was flawless, and the emotion in his music was deep and genuine.
Both were impressive, but judging by the crowd’s excitement, the Well Wishers’ won the night.