Band night turns into McMahon tribute

Senior history and secondary education double major Danielle Steward was not only the sole female performer at Student Band Night but also the only one to play all original songs. (Matthew Mance/Staff Photographer)

The first Student Band Night of the semester strayed from its title, as two soloists and only one band shared the stage Friday evening in the Rathskeller. The night quickly became less of a showcase for student songwriting and more of a love letter to artist Andrew McMahon, whose work was covered throughout the night.

According to members of the College Union Board, a few of the scheduled bands canceled, resulting in the impromptu trio of artists.

Ryan Manheimer hadn’t even planned on playing until he received an email from the event organizers at 2:30 p.m. earlier that day.

“I’m a freshman. This is like my eighth day here, but we had a hurricane, so weird things can happen,” the physics and mathematics double major said upon taking the stage.

Though it was his first time performing, his ability to engage the crowd made him seem like a regular. Personality and enthusiastic piano-playing enhanced his performance.

Manheimer also attracted fans  from his freshman floor. At one point, he gave a shout-out to Cromwell 3, which brought uproarious applause.

He played a few originals during his set, but a connecting thread of the evening was the recurrence of covers of  Andrew McMahon.

These included songs from McMahon’s band Something Corporate and his solo act, Jack’s Mannequin.

Manheimer concluded with a cover of “Konstantine,” by Something Corporate.

Passing the stage on to band Dear Konstantine, he said, “Thank you, guys. It was awesome.”

Dear Konstantine, named after McMahon’s work, was the last to take the stage and played the songs “Punk Rock Princess,” “Space” and “I Kissed a Drunk Girl” — all by Something Corporate.

They also played “The Resolution” (a song Manheimer also performed) and “Bruised” by Jack’s Mannequin.

Tom Seaton, junior communication studies major, provided vocals while Dan Lisi, junior marketing major and Signal business manager, played the guitar with Zac Wong, junior psychology major, on piano.

After seeing the documentary “Dear Jack” last year — a film that explores McMahon’s life and his battle with cancer — the three decided to form a band.

Dear Konstantine announced that they plan on collecting money for The Dear Jack Foundation at each of their shows to help fund cancer research.

While it was the first time performing in public for the other two acts, Danielle Steward — who started the show — is a seasoned performer, having played at coffeehouses and past campus events. The senior history and secondary education major writes her own songs and plays guitar — two things she’s done since middle school.

Steward described her style as “folk-acoustic music,” and said in a pre-show chat that her musical influences include Bob Dylan, Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michaelson.

Her musical style reflected her influences, and she played original songs, including “Savannah,” “Joan” and “A Seed in the Snow.”