Face the music

How music affects Big Rapids night-life

Bartender Ann-Marie Hicks serves patrons (Jerilyn Taylor and Johne Datema) a shot at Gypsy Nickel Lounge. Photo by: Cassie Jessup | Multimedia Editor

Imagine you walk into a bar on a Saturday night, you’re with all your closest friends and your favorite song is blasting. You already know you’re going to have a great night.

Cece Bouyer, a senior at Ferris, spends most of her weekends going to bars in Big Rapids with her friends. The kind of music she prefers to listen to in the bars she goes to is mainstream hip hop, rap and EDM because it’s happy music to her.

“EDM is just something that’s really fun, you can just kind of dance around like a goofball and do whatever you want to do,” Bouyer said. “It’s different [and] it just keeps the energy really high.”

When she’s getting ready to go out and party, she listens to Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B to put her in her “bad girl energy mood.”

“They’re just a bunch of powerful women as rappers, and I feel like their lyrics really hit home and make you feel very empowered,” Bouyer said.

To Bouyer, music is important because it sets the tone and mood for everything.

“Music has a lot to do with how people act when we’re about and out at bars and clubs,” Bouyer said.

Country isn’t Bouyer’s first choice to listen to when she is at a bar, but she understands how others can enjoy it and dance to it.

“I’m just being biased because I don’t prefer country, but I do see the way certain songs make people act,” Bouyer said. “They start dancing [in] the little line dances, and it’s a really good environment.”

Different genres bring out different moods in Bouyer, and she acts according to what kind of music is playing. If the DJ plays a song she doesn’t like, she takes that time to go get another drink at the bar. If they begin to play the kind of music that puts her in the party mood, she will make her way to the dance floor.

“If they’re playing a really promiscuous, feisty song, I’m definitely more prone to approach a man, or if someone approaches me, I’m really quick with my words,” Bouyer said.

According to Bouyer, music is important, but at a certain point in the night, it sometimes just becomes background noise to her.

“When you’re with your friends, [the music] kind of drowns out, and you’re more in tune with what [they] are saying to you,” Bouyer said.

The different variations and genres of music also keeps the energy up.

“[Shooters has] a really good DJ on weekends. He does a good job of mashing up, like, the mainstream music [and] all the things to really keep everybody up and going,” Bouyer said.

Music volume also contributes to the environment of the bar. Usually, the music is played at a decent volume, which allows you to have conversations, but the busier it gets, the louder the music gets.

“If the music is really loud, it’s frustrating because you can’t really talk to [anyone],” Bouyer said. “But, I will say, I feel like because the music is loud, you do less talking and you do more dancing.”

McKenzie Feldpausch, a senior at Ferris, goes out to bars with her friends on occasion.

She likes when the bars play pop and rhythm and blues music from the 2000s because it keeps her happy, and, in her opinion, it is the easiest to dance to.

“[Music] brings people together because it’s something you can talk about,” Feldpausch said. “It brings you into a better mood, so you’ll be more apt to talk to somebody and bring on more conversation.”

The kind of music that plays is important when it comes down to dancing. Some music is hard to dance to, and it gets harder when you don’t know or like the song.

“When you don’t really know a song, or it’s a slow song, it’s kind of hard [to dance to], and a lot of people will just stand there awkwardly,” Feldpausch said.

Feldpausch does not like when sad and slow songs play at the bar because they’re hard to dance to and they kill the mood.

“If you play a sad song, people are obviously going to get sad,” Feldpausch said. “And when you’re out and about, you don’t want to be sad, especially when you’re drunk.”

At a bar, sometimes dancing is the only thing to do, and, in that case, if the music playing is not something Feldpausch wants to listen to, she will just leave.

“If there was music [playing] and pool, or other things to do, then I’d stay,” Feldpausch said.

Feldpausch would rather listen to a DJ instead of live music because of the versatility and originality that DJs have.

“[DJs] can play songs that I like and know…, whereas live music isn’t going to be exactly the same as what the actual songs are,” Feldpausch said.

It is a scientific fact that music has a huge effect on a person’s whole body, including their mood.

According to the North Shore University Healthcare System, “[Music] elevates mood. Music can boost the brain’s production of the hormone dopamine. This increased dopamine production helps relieve feelings of anxiety and depression. Music is processed directly by the amygdala, which is the part of the brain involved in mood and emotions.”

The genre of music and the atmosphere of where you are is important because they are both tied to how you’re feeling.

Discover your own music style by going to Shooters or Paz in Big Rapids.

Shooters is located downtown in Big Rapids and is one of the major college bars. Photo by: Marianna Searl | Freelance Photographer