COOL Cultural Organization of Lowell

Street Team Blog

This Weekend in Lowell: NEMA and more!

Hello!  This is Ben, I’m sure you have all heard, but Winterfest this weekend has been POSTPONED to March 13-14.  That being said, there is still a lot going on around Lowell this weekend, much of which revolves around the New England Music Awards (details at the bottom of post).

I was able to go to a number of great events this past week including Brew’d Awakening's “Untitled Open Mic Poetry Slam”.  I had been intrigued by this event for a while (it repeats the first and third Tuesday of each month from 6-9pm), mainly because it is not a typical open mic.  While most open mics predominantly feature musical covers, this event considers a cover song to be a crime.  This approach is refreshing to me, as many open mics are filled with the same bland cover songs heard over and over.  The great thing about hearing only originals is that whether the performer is or isn't playing something that I would typically listen to, it always offers a unique glimpse into their personal creativity and ideas that don’t always come across in a cover song.  The other feature that sets this open mic apart is that poetry is the focus, rather than music.  I arrived as the open mic portion came to a close and the poetry slam was beginning.  I immediately noticed the energy in the crowded room.  Upbeat soulful music was playing, the host of the event was extremely enthusiastic and everyone seemed genuinely excited to see what was coming next.  This was the first slam I had watched, but from what I gathered, each poet was given 3 minute slots and rated by a group of judges which resulted in a “head to head” between the two top rated poets.  One of the finalists had a laid back, descriptive style, full of vivid imagery, while the other (who ended up winning), had a more emotional style and used chanting, foot stomps, and quick rhymes to draw the crowd in.

Lastly, the feature poet “Nate Leland” performed a short set.  His experience was clearly evident by his jarring theatrical delivery and witty subject matter that sent the audience into laughter, applause, yells of approval and even provoked a few quiet moments of sad but relatable material.  As I left Brew’d and reentered the cold, mostly-deserted Market St, I couldn't help but notice the stark contrast between the two settings.  In the winter time more than ever, I appreciate events such as this that are full of warmth and energy, and will certainly be making an effort to attend more Untitled Open Mics in the future.

1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month - Untitled Open Mic @ Brew’d Awakening 6-9PM (Free)

2/20 - NEMA Opening Reception: Marina Evans, Grownup Noise @ Cobblestones 6-9PM (Free)

2/21 - NEMA Music Industry Conference @ Durgin Hall, UML Campus  9AM-6PM (Free and open to the public)

2/21 - NEMA Presents The Tymes, Blindspot, Melt @ The Last Safe 8PM ($5)

2/22 - Oscar Party @ The Luna Theatre 7pm (Free)


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