By Nadine Tester
During the school week, Rider is thriving with life and excitement. There are people to talk to, lectures to hear and concerts to see. When Friday rolls around, however, people high-tail it out of here faster than I can blink. Granted, Bronc Bingo can gather a crowd, but showings of fairly recent movies by the Student Entertainment Council and buses to Princeton have never interested enough students to stay on campus all weekend. But, perhaps, that is about to change — and for the better.
Rider definitely struck gold when it started hosting a Starbucks Live Series, which selects different musical artists to play in the Student Recreation Center (SRC) lobby in front of the new Starbucks. I attended the most recent Starbucks concert on Saturday, Oct. 6, which featured Andrew Vladeck, a singer/songwriter/banjo player who really impressed those who showed up. Vladeck and his drummer and producer, Kyle, were extremely friendly and down to earth. They broke up their music with friendly banter and jokes, really making the whole experience very relaxed and enjoyable. Andrew’s music ranged from real deep south country music to trendy, hip songs about love in New York City. His guitar and banjo playing were top notch, and his songs were short and easy on the ears. Vladeck and Kyle set up the couches and tables in front of Starbucks into a cozy semicircle in front of them, and encouraged everyone to sign their mailing list and take free buttons and bumper stickers.
During the intermission, Starbucks treated the audience to free oatmeal cookies, which were delicious, and the band members sat on the couches with the audience in an attempt to get to know us better, break the ice and create a comfortable atmosphere. Vladeck divulged to us that he and Kyle had actually never practiced together, and this was their first live show since Vladeck usually plays without a drummer accompanying him.
On the advertisements you can find in Daly’s and around campus for the Starbucks Live Series, they say that people who show up early could get free coffee. I didn’t get any free coffee when I went, but I also didn’t go early. What Starbucks should do is serve shots of different types of coffee. During the first set maybe a pumpkin frappuccino, during intermission they should offer a sample vanilla latte and in the second set serve espresso. This would entice people to stay through the entire thing, not just come early and leave early.
Rider and Starbucks are doing everything they can to get students to come to these free concerts. They have signs everywhere and they’re offering free caffeine to people who show up early. However, only a handful of people ended up going. At the beginning of the show, there were around 15 people, but by the end of the show there were eight, one of whom was an actual Starbucks employee. The Starbucks Live Series when I went was enjoyable and relaxing after a long week of quizzes, exams and reading long chapters of psychology.
The concerts are a good idea, and lucky for students who haven’t been to one yet, there are different acts scheduled every Saturday, same time, same place. And if you ask me, there is no better way to spend a Saturday night on a crisp fall night than sipping a steaming cup of java as you listen to some tunes with a group of friends. Dare I say, it’s a chance for students from both campuses to come together for an evening and embrace what should unite us — music.
The Starbucks Live Series continues this Saturday night, featuring HelenaMaria in the SRC Lobby from 8:30-11 p.m.