As I ventured into the back room of Donkey on Friday night, I was feeling a little bit concerned. You see, the last time I went to a show at everyone's favorite coffee shop, it was fall quarter of my freshman year. I was there to see an open mic night, and during my somewhat lively game of Scrabble, my group was yelled at by the hippie musician on stage for not paying adequate attention.
So, yeah, Donkey and I don't have the best track record for shows. However, I decided to put our differences aside and go out to see Kaitrin McCoy for her C.D. release show. My friends and I arrived a little early, paid our very reasonable $2 cover, and sat on a back couch to chat with the lady of the evening. Before we all knew it, the nine o'clock hour had come and opening act Dawn Parker took the stage.
Armed with a guitar, the opening act started in to her first song. Her smooth and soothing voice overtook the reasonably-sized crowd for the first song and a half. Unfortunately, Parker's string broke halfway through her second song. It was a little awkward as she finished out the song, but the situation was handled as well as it could have been. Instead of finishing out her set with only five strings, the guy handling the sound offered to run home to grab his guitar so she could display her songs as best as she could. Parker took him up on his offer, and a spontaneous 20 minute intermission was taken, as the crowd listened to Radiohead songs and chatted amongst themselves.
When the guitar was retrieved and Parker retook the stage, she replayed the entirety of the song that was interrupted at the request of her musical savior. And it was a good thing too. This track was easily the most memorable of Parker's set. With the interesting, yet powerful lyrics like "He's my brother just as sure as you are mine / But I only eat and drink with my own kind," she certainly had the audience thinking. Parker continued her set to the attentive audience with more of her sing songy acoustic jams, including a cover of Neutral Milk Hotel's "King of Carrot Flowers Pt. One." Parker then rounded out her set with a Christian hymn, which was simple and pretty.
The opening talented songstress must have brought a lot of support with her. Because as Parker left the stage, many people left the venue. That's just unfortunate for them, because the next act, Kaitrin McCoy, showed that she has a huge amount of talent. As she sat down on the piano bench, her bubbly personality was super evident. McCoy chatted with the audience for a second and thanked them for coming, took a sip of her water, and busted into her first song.
The small, yet attentive audience, was then wowed by McCoy. She displayed an impressive range both vocally and on the piano. Her songs were mainly on the more serious side of the spectrum, with honest lyrics about life and love. This was then offset by her bouncy little stories between songs, including an adorably failed joke, and the overall positive vibes she sent out. This aspect of her personality, however, was displayed when she sang "The Silly Song," a Ben Folds-y, well, silly song about how boys suck. McCoy also successfully tackled a Regina Spektor cover, which is certainly no small feat.
Finishing up at 10:30 to "let [the crowd] get drunk in true OU fashion," McCoy left the Donkey piano bench to sell copies of her CD, Icky Romantic (an anagram of Kaitrin McCoy). I suppose I can't speak for the rest of the crowd, but I left feeling jealous of all the singer-songwriter talent that oozed from both Parker and McCoy. 'Twas a night of simple, pretty music, which is really the best kind.
And while Donkey as a venue is still a teensy bit too quiet for my taste, I found myself re-accepting it as a venue. Particularly because I didn't get a stern lecture from any shoeless hippies.
--Carolyn Menyes, Staff Writer