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  • Lane Shaffer, Staff Writer

Student bands fill the Bistro with song

Updated: Nov 22, 2023

Lost In October. Photo by Lucy Devlaeminck.

On the evening of Nov. 2, three performances from Willamette bands were featured in a special event that drew an audience of over 70 students to a “Night out at the Bistro.” The Bistro has been struggling to keep business profitable, and this event from the Willamette Events Board (WEB) provided an opportunity to drum up business while highlighting student performers.

The campus has been lacking musically centered community events since the demise of Wulapalooza, a student-run music and arts festival. While many Willamette sponsored groups like Up Top and Tandem provide opportunities for musical expression on campus, for student bands there are not as many options. All three of the bands that played at the Nov. 2 event noted the importance of giving young artists a platform.

The event was organized by the WEB President Audrey Ely (‘24), who said that this year WEB wanted to be more student centered. “We have a very musical, very creative campus, and we really wanted to include a lot of student voices in our events.” The concert also served as a way to bring in business for the Bistro: “It’s really dead at night, so getting some more sales in for the Bistro because they’ve been struggling was part of it,” Ely explained.

The one-man-band Lost in October started the night off. River Hosten (‘26) played the guitar and sang some covers and some original songs. He has been writing songs since he was 12 or 13 and playing guitar since 2020 and was excited to be a part of this event in the Willamette community. 

“I’m really glad that I got to perform at the Bistro,” Hosten said. “The Bistro is definitely a gathering place on campus, so similar to how music brings people together through different languages, I think the Bistro also brings people together because it's so warm and comforting.” 

The array of free Bistro pastries, lemonade and tea provided at the event certainly brought people together as well. Audience members cheered Hosten on from the floor as the venue filled to capacity. 

Phucemol. Photo by Lucy Devlaeminck.

The next band to take the stage was Phucemol, who played a variety of covers such as “Zombie” by The Cranberries and “Tear in My Heart” by twenty one pilots. Henry Dobesh (‘26), a member of the group, started the band in July under the name Men of Virtue. It has since morphed into a larger band under the name Phucemol.

Dobesh said that the group has only performed once in the past and appreciated the opportunity to play at the Bistro. Turning the small coffee shop space into a music venue was a very unique experience.  “It was amazing. I think we pulled it together. There were moments where my guitar was too loud, but I think it was good,” Dobesh said.  

Uncertainty Principle. Photo by Lucy Devlaeminck

The last group to play was Uncertainty Principle, who closed out the night with a few covers including “Brazil” by Declan McKenna. Aiden Dopson (‘25) said the band played one Bistro show in 2022 and were excited to be back for another. Unfortunately, some technical difficulties and a lack of crowd engagement made it difficult to perform the way they usually do.

Dopson said it was “not our best show.” He explained, “It’s hard to play for people that aren’t interacting with you. We definitely appreciate more of a fun environment and here, you can get in your head about it.” 

If you missed this event or want to hear more, you can follow the bands @inoctoberlost, @phucemol.theband and @uncertaintyprincipleband on Instagram to stay updated on new music and shows.

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