Smushie is a Smash Hit at Rodrigue’s Coffee House


Chicago-born and energetic, Smushie is a familiar Rod’s favorite. (Courtesy of Claire Krieger/The Fordham Ram)

On Friday, Nov. 18,  Rodrigue’s Coffee House hosted a mini concert right on campus. The headlining artist was Smushie, an independent Chicago-born artist, who was accompanied by a new Fordham-filled band, Crotana. Smushie’s music leans towards the Indie Pop genre. I listened to his hits on Spotify and my two personal favorites were “Suepuff” and “Complete Annihilation,” but all the songs carried the same melancholic and easy-to-listen-to feel. 

I reached out to the artist via Instagram before the concert to find out how he came about playing at Fordham. According to Smushie, this is not his debut at Fordham. He has performed on our campus twice now, the first time being when he was just 18-years-old. He played with a friend of his in another band, and then last year he came back again to do a proper show with his band Berta Bigtoe. Smushie was able to keep in contact with the presidents of Rod’s, and they managed to set up this show. He was super excited to come back and be able to perform at Fordham again. He commented, “Every show feels different, but I’ve been enjoying going kind of nuts on this new track called ‘Kernel Shmegegge.’” 

Smushie’s passion for his music was apparent in how enthusiastic and energetic he was during his set. However, when asked what his favorite track was he remarked he did not think he had a favorite song. He said, “I’m having a ton of fun playing this other new song called ‘Field of Dreams.’ I wrote it after watching the movie, which is a freaking ridiculous movie, and I really resonated with the line ‘ease his pain,’ so I developed my own story based on that and laid a lil demo to the tape.” I was lucky enough to be able to hear “Field of Dreams” during the performance, and the song definitely deserved the hype. There wasn’t a single person who wasn’t at least nodding their head along to the song.

One of the Rod’s Presidents, Beckett Zinn-Rawthorn, said the opener Crotana is new to the scene with Friday night being their debut performance. However, they did not appear to be new to performing at all. The group’s music was splendid acoustics paired with the melodic voice of the lead singer, falling in line with the same genre as Smushie’s. Vice President of Rod’s, Aine Mullaly, was one of the guitarists for the band and was cheered on by her peers in the audience. One of the best parts of the concert was the true community that was present in the coffee house during the set. 

President Zinn-Rawthorn commented on the community of Rod’s, saying that, “The community effort that goes into the concerts is integral to the spirit of Rodrigue’s.” Any member of Rod’s can pitch a concert idea, and Zinn-Rawthorn said there are rarely ever objections to anyone’s ideas. From there, it is purely a community effort to put the show on. Whether it be publicity or the sound system for the shows, it is all coordinated by Rod’s members. The music scene at Rod’s has been around for years, and it brings joy and lots of awesome noise onto campus. 

The concert itself was a smashing success. Crotana’s opening music got the crowd amped with their eerie and melodic cover of Drake’s “Just Hold On We’re Going Home” and a few other songs they wrote themselves. Crotana’s music was a lot more drum heavy than Smushie’s, making it the perfect music to move along to, even though we were all smushed into the main room. After Crotana, there was a quick 15 minute intermission, and then Smushie started their set. 

The community of Rod’s that Zinn-Rawthorn spoke to me about was truly prevalent as I watched the show. Everyone there was dancing, laughing and fraternizing with each other and every single person had a content smile on their face as we all listened to the merry music that Smushie was playing. With the spotted graphics being projected over the band, it was a euphoric image of the band while they played. That paired with the groovy, laid-back songs made for a truly invigorating set. The member on the keyboard even pulled out a saxophone and a flute for a couple songs, two instruments I didn’t know could get a crowd so excited. After finishing the set, and doing one final encore, it was safe to say that everyone could have listened to the band for hours more if given the opportunity. 

If you haven’t taken advantage of Rod’s free concerts, I wholeheartedly recommend going to at least one. A free show paired with the fun care-free ambiance of Rod’s is a breath of fresh air compared to the usual steep prices that come with activities in the city. Be sure to be on the lookout for the next free concert, or just stop by the coffee shop to take part in the beloved Rod’s community. And of course, be sure to listen to Smushie’s music on whatever streaming platform you use; his music is out-of-this world and is great to listen to if you are looking for new music.