Donkey Coffee may not seem like the premier spot in Athens to catch fresh beats and sharp rhymes. What a sorry misconception. This Saturday the coffee house will be shattering that mistaken belief by hosting several hip hop dynamos from Columbus as a part of their U Drop Entertainment showcase.
Even though you wouldn’t think that the close quarters and dim lighting of Athen’s favorite coffee spot would kinder to anyone who doesn’t pluck on an acoustic guitar, a couple of minutes with the stars of the upcoming event will quickly prove otherwise.
“It’s a more intimate setting, closer to the crowd. It’s like they can actually hear you, can actually understand and feel you.” said Terence Robertson, who will be taking the stage on Saturday. Troy Gregorino, the booking manager at Donkey, couldn’t agree more.
“Donkey has established a solid reputation as arguably the best venue in town for acoustic music, but I’ve discovered that the atmosphere there also lends itself to really memorable shows of all sorts.” Gregorino said. He went on to say that the decision to include a more diverse array of performers on Donkey’s docket has a lot to do with his observation that there is a lot of untapped musical talent in the region, and not all of that talent strums guitar.
So maybe Donkey is an unusual place for a hip hop showcase, but it is certainly not an unwelcome change for Robertson.
“Usually you’re on a stage five or ten feet higher than the audience and they’re all looking up at you, and there isn’t that connection.” He said, commenting on how performances are usually set up for U Drop.
Those kinds of shows, which are the majority of what Robertson performs at, are simultaneously very different and fundamentally alike to the kind of gig he’ll be taking on in a couple of days.
“Because of the university, the community in Athens is very diverse, like Columbus is. And even though the music scene here is different, there is definitely still an interest in hip hop.” Robertson commented.
“When you play in Athens people will travel to see you,” he added, “and they really make an effort to support you.”
Regardless of whether you are traveling from the big city of Columbus or simply from West Green on Ohio University’s campus, a trip to Donkey coffee Saturday night will no doubt be worth it. The show opens its doors at 9 p.m. and expect a small cover charge, which is yet to be determined. Bring a few bucks to get into the show and maybe buy a cup of fair trade coffee, and be sure to tip your hard-working barista.