Guitars Unplugged features local artists Nat Fran and Lillian Van Daam

Southern Utah University’s Guitars Unplugged event was held on Thursday, Oct. 12, in the Sharwan Smith Student Center Living Room. Students who attended enjoyed the music of SUU student artists Lillian Van Daam and Nat Fran. The event was hosted by SUU’s radio station, Thunder 91.

Nat Fran was first up on stage. During her half-hour set, she played a wide array of original songs and a few covers. Using a very soft sound, she developed a cozy feeling that fit the intimate setting perfectly. After sticking to an understated sound for the majority of her set, Fran concluded with an energetic fan favorite, titled “Emotional Masochist.” 

Fran used this month’s Guitars Unplugged as an opportunity to debut her latest song, which she had written only three days prior. She praised fellow performer Van Daam, for inspiring the new song.

After the major compliment, Van Daam took the stage to show the crowd her musical talents. Van Daam’s set brought up the energy of the event with lively songs about a wide variety of topics. There was even one song about the mating habits of grasshoppers. 

Guitars Unplugged is now being held monthly instead of once per year. Performers and Thunder 91 employees support the change of pace. 

“This is definitely a better showcase for the artists,” said Bryson Oleson, Guitars Unplugged’s graphic designer. “It gives each one of them more of a stage. The less intense set up makes it an easy event to maintain on a monthly basis for the folks here at the station.”

Musicians are receptive to the monthly format. “I like performing in twos,” said Fran. “It almost lightens the load, right? Like, I went up and showed what I had, but the pressure of the event wasn’t solely on me.” 

Thanks to a large library of local musicians, the station has plenty of performers to keep Guitars Unplugged going strong. 

The next Thunder 91-sponsored event is Battle of the Bands: Thunderground, which will take place on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. in the America First Event Center. The next Guitars Unplugged is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 9. 

Author: Cormick Bone
Photographer: Bryson Oleson
Editor: Nick Stein