Open mic takes a new turn at Northtown Coffee

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By Savanna VandenHeuvel
Flapjack Chronicle

Joshua Masada, a 30-year-old Arcata resident, played his colorful, dream catcher, painted guitar and within a few chords, the vibe was set.

“Roll it up, twist it up. You heard what I said. I said roll it up, twist it up. Pass it to me my friend. Come on roll it up, twist it up. Pass it on over to me,” Masada sang.

The audience was immediately captivated and began rhythmically clapping to the beat.

Upon Masada’s arrival, HSU students requested that he play “the high song.” This initially puzzled Masada, but the song known to audiences as “the high song,” was actually Masada’s song “Roll it up, Twist it up,” which is still a work in progress.

“I wrote it three weeks ago,” Masada said.  “I feel like it’s not finished yet.”

“Roll it up, Twist it up,” got the energy flowing within the audience. The audience was small in comparison to past open mic nights at Northtown Coffee, but there was no small amount of enthusiasm.

Northtown Coffee played host to its weekly open mic, Friday night. Two performers, Masada and Travis Palmer, 20, filled the evening and entertained both the customers and audience throughout the evening.

Masada and Palmer interacted with the audience and had little conversations and took requests between songs. This showed how comfortable they were with the audience and with sharing their story through their music.

Masada’s music has a Humboldt vibe: Mother Nature, loving the earth and, of course, ganja. “Roll it up, Twist it up,” was just one of a handful of songs that Masada performed.

Palmer, on the other hand, had a completely different style. He was going more for a classic rock feel with lyrics based on the trials and tribulations of life. He produced this musical feel by playing both his guitar and harmonicas throughout the set.

“I’m so confused about what to do about you,” Palmer sang. “Mixing signals in my brain, what could you possibly have to gain?”

Open mic is hosted every Friday at 7 p.m. and coffee shop owner Jimmy B is always looking for talent to fill the evening. Open mic doesn’t have to be limited to music. The audience welcomes any talent, including poetry and skits.

Northtown Coffee went under new ownership in October and was previously known to Arcata locals as Couple Cups. With new ownership, Northtown Coffee is heading towards a different feel. It will still have the same artsy, eclectic, coffee shop theme, but in late spring, Northtown will be host to a whole slew of events.

“We’re looking into hosting salsa night, karaoke night and even kids’ karaoke night,” Jimmy B said.

Plus, for those over 21, Northtown will start serving beer on tap so that customers can enjoy the evening entertainment with a cold glass of beer.

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