Co-Op hosts music, food

Cameron Carrus

“My name is Darrin Bradbury and I live in a Ford Focus,” said the traveling musician at the Co-op house last Wednesday. The McCarthy Co-op hosted a “Food and Folk” event, bringing Bradbury and two other musicians in for an intimate evening of music, accompanied by a varied and delicious spread of food.

Bradbury, part of a three-piece traveling band, was excited to return to the Co-op after having played a show there the previous year. He mentioned that he enjoyed the house members’ hospitality and good energy, which is essential to the kind of music that he plays.

Multi-instrumentalists JP Merz and Steph Courtney warmed up the crowd for the evening with some of their original songs. The instrumentation consisted of guitar, clarinet, a xylophone and a stomp box that produced a bass drum sonority, along with vocals. The arrangements were heartfelt and creative.

It is stunning how much emotion Bradbury and his crew, consisting of songwriters Matt Benjamin and Mike Fabano, can draw from the audience with only a couple of guitars and some stories. When asked what kind of music he plays, Bradbury responded with “adult campfire music.”

Think “Kumbaya” with an edge. From sentimental ballads such as “True Love,” which likens love to “the meth lab in your grandma’s basement,” to fun sing-a-longs like “Let’s Get Stoned and Go to the Zoo” and a few choruses of shouting “I’m So Glad that She’s Not Pregnant,” Bradbury and company were able to strike a chord in every heart in the room at some point.

Just as alluring as the sweet melodies and quick wit was the spread of food that the house produced. On the menu were black bean hummus, fresh vegetables, baklava, baked asparagus, focaccia bread, rosemary garlic bread and a cheese ball rolled in mixed nuts, among other delicacies. Take that, Bon Appétit!

After Bradbury, Fabano and Benjamin’s sets, the show did not officially “end.” Some of the members of the house performed a few originals of their own for the remaining crowd. The crowd changed later into the night, with new people showing up.

It didn’t matter that they had missed the “official” show; Bradbury was happy to replay the highlights for them. Soon an open jam for some of the previous audience members ensued; they were handed guitars and encouraged to experiment, no matter how extensive or limited their knowledge.

This event was a great showcase of what the Co-op house is all about. Guests were able to indulge in food and arts, two things that the house values greatly, and acquaint themselves with Co-op’s location on campus.

Bradbury said before his departure that this place means a great deal to him, and that he and the guys would love to return later this year for another show. Keep your eyes peeled and your appetites up!