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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Tapping into the live music of Aggieland

Photo by Neha Gopal

Danny Smith plays the Piano at The Tap on Wednesday, April 26, 2023. 

One musician you may see on Wednesday nights is Danny Smith, a Plano entertainer and piano player.

“We play an all-request, sing-along show,” Smith said. “Because the crowd calls the songs, every week is a different show.”

Along with the saloon-like atmosphere, The Tap is permeated with an Old West vibe accentuated by clinking glasses, dusty boots, scuffed plank floors and the pressurized flow of bubbly beer taps, making the place an even more inviting venue for Smith.

“A&M students have always been a big-ass party,” Smith said. “They know how to let loose without being too caught up in what everyone else in the room thinks.That makes it the perfect crowd, and it doesn’t hurt that they’re friendly as heck too.”

Like many entertainers and musicians, Smith was bitten by the music bug at a young age.

“I’ve played piano by ear since I was 2 or 3, [and] I picked up a lot of other instruments along the way, but the piano was always the most natural to me,” Smith said.

Along with entertaining visitors, Smith noticed that the piano was a magnet for other worthwhile interactions.

“Being funny and performing is something I’ve done since I was a little kid [since] I’ve always loved making people laugh,” Smith said. “Okay, yeah, and maybe I noticed in elementary school it got me attention from girls, too — inspiration never hurts.”

Unlike most musicians with organized music sheets, Smith and his bandmates approach their sets with a clean sheet every Wednesday night.

“We never know what we’ll play until people request it,” Smith said. “We don’t start with any kind of plan.” 

Whether you are nostalgic for bands like the Rolling Stones, a country music fan or a Cardi B fanatic, the piano bar is open for all requests.

“Some popular requests you will probably hear are ‘Don’t Stop Believing,’ ‘Crazy Rap (Colt 45),’ ‘Sweet Caroline,’ ‘Sugar,’ ‘Living on a Prayer,’ ‘WAP’ and ‘Hollaback Girl,’” Smith said. “If it’s popular, we probably know it.”

Of course, no bar is complete without friendly bartenders behind the counter. Communication sophomore Angela Parr was one such drink connoisseur, pouring a rainbow of cocktails with a warm smile on Wednesday night.

“We have two musicians who come out, and they can either request a song, or you can jump over, and they’ll sing songs like Taylor Swift songs in their own format,” Parr said.

Parr bounced around the bar, maneuvering through orders and drinks while sharing positive vibes with fellow bartenders.

“Honestly, this place is pretty random … for people, it’s a good place just to come to sit down,” Parr said.

As the Tap continues to entertain today’s youth, it has long served as a gathering place for lively conversation, cold drinks with condensation and exciting nights for generations of Aggieland residents.

According to Tap’s website, “The Tap’s foundations started with the old Waller train depot, which was built in the 1930s and moved to College Station in 1975 to be converted into a restaurant.”

The Tap’s historic spark continues to blaze on and create new memories.

“What I love is running into A&M alumni at other shows around central Texas who tell me about their favorite memories from the piano shows at The Tap,” Smith said. “They usually tell me that those nights are some of their best memories of their time at A&M.”

For Smith, TGI Wednesdays at The Tap are ripe for a jovial and lively evening.

“Anyone who’s been there knows it gets crazy on Wednesdays,” Smith said “Many people have stories to tell the next day. Or maybe they don’t remember and have to listen to their friends tell stories the next day.” 

For students or residents who may be bored and restless on a Wednesday evening, Smith urges people to attend The Tap’s piano bar for a fun evening out.

“Every night after the show, people talk about how much fun they had, especially the ones who were there for the first time,” Smith said. “I think it wasn’t what they expected often.

Don’t come if you don’t like getting stupid, if you are offended by bad words or if you’re not into laughing … And for crap’s sake, don’t sit at the front if you aren’t ready to sing loud and be part of the show!” Smith said.

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