Joint Base Balad hosts open mic night
Story and photo by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg
139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers, Airmen and civilians showed off their musical abilities in an open mic night April 12 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, for a chance to introduce hip-hop artist Twista before his concert April 15.
Thirteen acts graced the stage, including a country singer and songwriter, a rhythm and blues band, a cappella singers and hip-hop artists and groups.
"It looked like everyone put a lot of work into their acts," said Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Charlesworth, commander of the 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing and leader of the hip-hop group Rob C and the Boys, that won the competition.
Charlesworth and his team performed a cover of Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere." He said they rehearsed for three days and were happy with how they performed.
"We just wanted to lay down a dope rhyme and entertain folks, so we kicked it old school," said Charlesworth, a Delta, Colo., native.
Rob C and the Boys were an instant hit with the crowd and the competition.
"I was rooting for them myself," said competitor Pfc. Miguel Marrero, a tech support specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and a Brooklyn, N.Y., native.
Marrero said he has been rapping for 12 years, but was disappointed with his performance.
"I thought I could have done better," he said.
Marrero was the only Soldier to represent the 13th ESC in the contest and said he would like to see more participation from his fellow service members in the future.
"They need to get out a little more and show off their talent," he said.
Though he did not win, Marrero said he had fun and was happy with the outcome of the show.
In the end, the crowd picked their favorites in a near-unanimous decision.
"I feel good, and we get to introduce Twista," said Charlesworth.
He said the group was proud to win the contest, but in the end, they just wanted to help the crowd have a good time.
"The crowd was great, and they were having fun," he said.
Charlesworth and the Boys will introduce rapper Twista April 15 at JBB's Sustainer Theater.
Air Force Lt. Col. Robert Charlesworth, commander of the 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing and a Delta, Colo., native, performs a cover of Beastie Boys' "Paul Revere" at the open-mic contest April 12 at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Keith S. VanKlompenberg)