A little before 8:00 p.m. on Friday Nov. 13, a small but attentive crowd began to gather inside the Art Barn behind Skoglund. They came down from the hill in order to see the two bands MEC had brought in for an evening show: St. Olaf’s own duo, Single or Married, and the Twin Cities-based indie folk quintet, Fox & Coyote. They didn’t have long to wait before Mary Haasl ’16 and Isaac Maier ’16 took to the corner of the floor marked out by by cables and microphones as an improvised stage.
Although their set consisted mostly of covers of well-known indie songs like Family of the Year’s “Hero” and Band of Horses’ “No One’s Gonna Love You,” Single or Married brought their own unique subdued harmonies to the performance. The duo came most alive as the show went on, relaxing, joking with the crowd and performing an original piece before closing out their set. This audience member looks forward to when Single or Married will bring more of their original songs to the stage and give themselves the creative space that their talent deserves.
The buzz of conversation filled the Art Barn during the interim between acts. Additional people filed in, and the crowd moved nearer to the stage as the members of Fox & Coyote took their places. Fox & Coyote jumped into their set without a pause, playing with an energy and warmth ideal for an otherwise chilled fall night. The group balanced their energetic sound with a couple of their more contemplative slower-paced songs.
“We have a bunch of Friday night songs, but we have some Sunday afternoon songs too,” vocalist and one of the founding members of the band Ryan Evans ’12, said between songs.
This type of tongue-in cheek banter continued throughout Fox & Coyote’s performance and furthered the casual intimacy that a small space like the Art Barn encourages. The band’s enthusiasm and easy excitement were reflected by the increasingly tangible investment of the audience.
Not only students, but several alums and individuals who had made the trek down from the Cities made up the audience. While this may be out of the ordinary for such a small-scale performance, Fox & Coyote’s local ties and origin as a St. Olaf band attracted a diverse crowd.
Many of the students present were well aware that all but one of Fox & Coyote’s current members previously attended St. Olaf.
“It’s really cool. I would’ve liked to see them as a campus band, but it’d still be a fun game now, you know? Guess the [Ole] imposter,” Doug Carmody ’16 said.
Speaking with Evans after the show, his easy laugh and open expression showed the comfort with which the band performed to be more than an act. As the other band members chatted and packed up their equipment, we had a moment to chat.
“This building wasn’t here then, for one thing. We’ve come back to Olaf almost every year since graduating, but it still feels new,” Evans said, gesturing around him.
While Fox & Coyote may have played here at Olaf several times since the band first got together, their performance certainly felt fresh and new to those present on Friday night.