Heads turned from watching the Olympic Games on the fifth floor of the Marvin Center Tuesday as GW rock band Waterstreet kicked off the first night of GW Unplugged at the Hippodrome.
Will Stewart, GW Unplugged series coordinator, said he began the series because he noticed the music scene at GW consisted mainly of bands playing in big auditoriums, for a big crowd and at a big price. To Stewart, a GW graduate, something wasn’t right with that music scene.
So, he started GW Unplugged with help and support from the Student Activities Center and the Hippodrome.
A singer and musician himself, Stewart said he hoped to find a place where students could sit in an intimate setting and check out local talent free of charge.
Stewart said the small size of the Hippodrome, where all concerts will take place, creates a relaxed atmosphere for audience members and student bands.
They are in your face and you have a better link with your audience, he said. You can look in your audience’s eyes and see if you are getting to them.
Stewart said he believes the opportunity will give student musicians an opportunity to play music and possibly get discovered.
The program is designed to entertain and broaden students’ horizons in music, he said. There is so much more to music than just what you hear on the top-40 stations.
The four members of Waterstreet are GW students who met in Thurston Hall their freshman year and have played together for three years. Bass guitarist Bob Nashewaty and drummer T.J. Brunner describe the band’s music as purple with a dash of fudge royale and a hint of Radiohead.
Waterstreet members said it is difficult to bring local music to campus. GW isn’t as musically oriented as it should be, Brunner said.
In addition to playing concerts around D.C., Waterstreet performed at Colonial Inauguration and Spring Fling. The band also organized last year’s Battle of the Bands. Waterstreet plays free concerts Wednesday nights at the Le Petit Shoe on Wisconsin Avenue.
Stewart said GW Unplugged performances will take place every first and third Tuesday of the month. Each performance will have its own theme. Some themes, such as Latin night, will have educational pamphlets set out to teach students about the history of the musical genre, he said.
We want to educate people as well as entertain them, Stewart said.