Open Mic Night brings old friends back together for a night of music

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A group from days gone by reunited the night of the Weakley County Open Mic Night's concert recently held on the Martin Public Library stage. New and returning band members include (from left) Kiernan Last, Lane Last, Dave Kim, Steve Bahcall and Markus Righter.

Toddler Conrad Trump is a regular at downtown Martin events, specifically concerts. He is pictured with his dad, Ryan Trump and mom, Caroline Ideus, waving to Lane Last and his band, Deyenasor, as they performed during the recent Open Mic Night concert.

By Lorcan McCormick

Post Associate Editor

The Open Mic Night Crew took to a new venue on July 20, performing and hosting at the Martin Library Concert Stage. With the bleachers before them and in the distance, families playing on the splash pad, a night with an assortment of performers from the quixotic to the urbane trotted onto the stage to liven the Martin public for an evening. Of particular focus was one group of friends: spanning decades, coasts, and careers.

Lane Last is a professor of Graphic Design at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Last speaks in a laid back and thoughtful way with a live wire of dry humor as an alternating current. Dave Kim of Orange County, Calif., and one of Last’s friends who played bass for the performance, has a similar spark of humor pulsating while he mixes in his conversation subjects various to music and business. That is to some effect the power of music and performance, as summarized by Mr. Kim himself, “as soon as we started playing together – it’s a language so when you are playing with four people you are communicating in a different kind of way.” 

The idea for them reuniting stemmed from a night with Last and Steve Bahcall playing at an open mic in Martin in October 2021. As Last explains it, “Steve Bahcall and I played at an open mic here in Martin 2021. It was a blast. Actually the old band has been communicating regularly for a couple years as well through text and photos. I reached out to Dave, our bass player, and he was in the game. He plays regularly in California. This trio was the genesis of the Deyenasor Feathers. Markus Righter was in a competing band in the 80’s, Half Life, but also a great friend and musician. He plays professionally in NYC. I lived with him there for a time. Hence the name Deyenasor Life.”

The full group is Steve Bahcall of Carmel, Calif.; Dave Kim of Orange County, Calif.; and Markus Righter of New York, New York; and there was a new entrant to the group for this performance by way of Kiernan Last, Lane’s son. 

“It was very cool. I know he is interested in the guitar but this was a good way to start.” The group played a set of songs ending the night of festivities, and their music resonated with the old and young alike, as a baby started crawling their way toward the stage and was later hoisted up by their parents and was waved to by Last from the stage. 

As the night ended, the friends, eager to drink and eat at a restaurant across the road, were gracious enough to suspend their hours of revitalized friendship to speak to the press briefly. Reminiscing about youth, Lane remarked, “when you’re that young you can learn a skill and I just played and played and played,” and Dave recalled, “when I was 10 years old we would play the pots and pans with the spoons from the kitchen. So a kitchen drum tech, that’s how I started off.” 

Steve Bahcall recalled their early days of jamming, “we learned a lot about dynamics because we’re all playing one speed and Dave was instrumental in telling us ‘take it down, play with the time volume, let the song breathe.’ When we learned that trick we learned really how to amp up the energy of the song.” Lane remarked, later after the day’s performance, “Music motivates us at our core, no matter what you like. It took a while and I realized it is also math driven in some ways. Steve headed to California to pursue a music career. I stayed and finished a MFA in Art. Music is still my first love, but not a real career opportunity. I tell people that most bands that “make it” don’t have any other options. It is a brutal existence on the road.” Whatever can be said about making or not making it, the language of dynamics and volume was spoken with great earnestness that day by the group of old friends and heard by those in attendance with great receptivity; this included a group of Lane’s students, who brought a sign representing their affinity for the professor. 

The group might not yet be finished performing for Martin. Lane says, “We are talking with the lovely library staff. Nothing confirmed yet. Some of the schedules can not be changed. So I have my fingers crossed. Three out the four of us would be great. Dave Kim, one of the original Deyenasors, has an award-winning BBQ team and they will be in Tennessee two weekends in October. It would be great if they could cook for Martin.” 

Irrespective of an encore, the reuniting of friends and the display of genuine affinity for music achieved what the Open Mic Night Crew strives for in their community pursuits representing musical arts, and a touching reminder of the beauty of communal performance.

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