The new Guitars Unplugged

If you were in the Student Center Living Room around 7:30 on Thursday, Sept. 14, you might have heard Corbino and Grace Parke performing during Guitars Unplugged.  

Corbino was the first to perform, and during his half-hour set, he played a mixture of slow and fast songs, hoping to immerse the audience in what he called “energy whiplash.”. He started with a modified cover of a fast-paced song to get the audience into it, but then transitioned into two of his original songs, “Breathe” and “Sad Boy.” He went on to play “Vincent” by Don Mclean before finishing  with Shakey Graves’ “Roll the Bones.”

Corbino said, “Performing is like walking on a tight-rope or taking a timed test with no eraser and an audience.”

Before he stepped down, Grace Parke joined him onstage for a performance of Shakey Graves’ “Dearly Departed,” which showed off how well they harmonize together.  After the duet’s conclusion, Corbino took a bow and stepped off the stage, to give Grace Parke the spotlight.

While Corbino’s style has a quiet intensity that forces the audience to listen, Grace Parke’s grabs hearts in a way that makes you sit up and pay attention.

She began her set with the first song she ever released “Let You Down” before playing another original song, “Glitter-Glue.” She intended to let the audience sing along if they knew it, but had to end the song abruptly after one of her friends in the front row put on a pair of funny glasses and she couldn’t stop herself from smiling. 

Once she regained her composure, she sang her original song “Luna” before moving on to the two covers she prepared. The first was a modified version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” and the second was one of Alanis Morissette’s songs. She capped off her performance with a song she called “Shirley Temple.” 

The evening concluded with a raffle to give away three KSUU radio t-shirts and a note of sincere thanks to everyone who made the evening as great as it was. 

“Thunder 91.1 has been doing the Guitars Unplugged competition-style concert for at least 25 years. It went away for a couple years, and then, three years ago when I started, I said: we have to bring it back,” said station manager and professor, Ryan Steineckert. “We started doing Battle of the Bands in the fall and then an acoustic battle in the spring — Guitars Unplugged.” 

Things were going pretty well until they discovered a small snag with the way the Battle of the Bands was organized.

“We realized that bands and solo artists don’t really compete the same way, so we decided that we’re going to have Battle of the Bands as a bands-only event in the fall, and then we’ll have the Thunderground Throwdown in the spring, and that’ll be a solo artist competition,” explained sound producer Sarah “Graveey” Hutchings.

But KSUU still wanted to hold an event for local acoustic artists; they still wanted to do Guitars Unplugged. So, they racked their brains and came up with a solution: instead of having a large performance with multiple artists at the end of the spring semester, they would have a small performance once a month that would feature two of them. This was the first month-to-month performance of Guitars Unplugged.

With a small town open mic feel and a family-friendly atmosphere, Guitars Unplugged is an event geared toward familiarity and audience interaction. If you missed this event, mark Oct. 12 on your calendar so you can catch the next one. 

Article By: Kaylee Condie

Photographs Courtesy of Audrey Gee