Student musicians unite against violence

Good music and a good cause came together at the Rathskeller on Feb. 8 when Women in Learning and Leadership (WILL) presented a benefit concert that raised $300 for V-Day, a nonprofit global organization that works to end violence against women.

Musical acts The Steamboat Project, The Gobbler’s Knob and Jason and Jordan performed.

“The money from this event will help V-Day build safe houses in Kenya to protect women there from female genital mutilation,” Maya Eilam, senior English and women’s and gender studies major and the concert’s organizer, said.

“It will also help with their work in Iraq, where they are setting up an organization for women’s freedom,” she said.

Eilam stressed the event was a fun way to get the College involved in activism. “Our production of the Vagina Monologues later in the semester is designed to raise awareness about violence against women,” Eilam said. “Tonight is more about raising funds and having a little fun. We rounded up a few bands so we could appeal to a broader audience.”

The Steamboat Project, a primarily acoustic act aided by trumpet and piano, opened the show.

Driven mostly by the guitar, piano and vocal talents of senior English major Anthony Milici, The Steamboat Project serenaded the crowd with thoughtful, passionate music and prose-style lyrics.

Beneath its mellow indie exterior, The Steamboat Project displayed shades of the folk genre. The band’s 40-minute set mixed Milici’s haunting vocals with reverent, almost hymnal music.

The Gobbler’s Knob followed The Steamboat Project and immediately played up the “fun” aspect that Eilam had mentioned with a microphone check that turned into a catchy little number.

The band switched back and forth between a pop/rock style reminiscent of Fountains of Wayne and a slower, more emotional style of soft rock.

After a set devoid of errors and chock full of on-stage chemistry, drummer/guitarist/vocalist Kristofer Disharoon, a College alumnus, said that he had first practiced with the band the night before.

The duo of Jason and Jordan, made up of senior biology majors Jason Morgan and Jordan Kaplan, closed out the night with a set of tambourine-infested acoustic covers of classics that included “Total Eclipse of the Heart” and Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire.”

The tandem also performed several rap/R&B covers, including a well-received version of R. Kelly’s “Ignition.”

The bands weren’t merely there for the exposure. Members from all three acts had a stake in WILL and V-Day’s cause. Milici is active in groups that advocate gay and gender rights. He is also involved in the Vagina Monologues and was formerly the president of Voices for Planned Parenthood (VOX) and the Bod Squad.

Pat Burns, bassist of The Gobbler’s Knob, was vocal about his band’s performances for several women’s foundations in the Washington D.C. area. The band has also performed at benefit shows for Habitat for Humanity and the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

“It’s a great cause,” Greg Stryker, frontman for The Gobbler’s Knob, said. “I’m just glad we were able to have a part in it, and I think that goes for everyone else involved.”