The Stein saw a night of acoustic guitar and vocals with some surprise freestyle rap, jazz piano and many original songs at the first Stein Night of the semester on Friday, Sept. 16. Those in attendance were likely able to see their friends perform as well as see the talent of peers they had never met, a great mix for an open mic evening.
Michael Harlow ’19 opened the evening with acoustic guitar and vocals, covering songs such as “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith and “Bills, Bills, Bills” by Destiny’s Child. He was then joined by Acia Gankin ’19 in several more numbers. Gankin and Harlow met during the semester before beginning at Brandeis as mid-years, at which point they formed their group, The Downstairs Neighbors.
Harlow and Gankin opened the evening of music fluidly and organically, and the Stein transitioned seamlessly into a space for live performance, good food and conversation with friends. Based on the audience reaction, the Stein seems to be a perfect location for live student music. Both the students who came to support their peers performing and those looking for their usual booth and food on a Friday night were eager to hear the music and be a part of the semester’s first Stein Night.
Other notable performances were freestyle rap by Marcelo Brociner ’18, backed by guitarist Brandon Ferrier ’18 and drummer Dave Matthews ’18. The impromptu lyrics touched on topics that were relevant to many Brandeis students. In another performance, Bryan Rauch ’18 performed three original songs that silenced the crowd. His style and lyrics deeply resembled the mellow, introspective feel of Ed Sheeran, a sentiment expressed by the audience a few times during his performance. These were only a few of the many incredible performers who stepped up on stage last Friday.
The Stein Night on Friday was a tremendous success. Despite the smooth and composed nature of the event, all the preparations were made by one student—Harlow, the opener of the evening. Harlow is not part of any club or organization, but simply arranged for this night on his own. He saw so few opportunities available for students to perform on campus and was dismayed by the talent just sitting around.
Harlow was not only a talented performer opening the show, but an energetic force that kept the performances running smoothly and made sure the audience was always entertained. You can sense his deep respect for his peers and his strong commitment to bringing out the under-appreciated talent that our student body possesses. He kept the event running smoothly, and avoided all of the hectic, last-minute adjustments and preparations of a poorly organized show. He successfully arranged for a large turnout and is sure to impress with the future concerts laid out.
“How do you expect to have a vibrant musical community without bands?” Harlow asked, commenting on his discovery that bands are not permitted to practice at Slosberg Music Center. The lack of space for bands to practice on campus has limited musical potential at Brandeis for bands to form and to play. He said that not only individuals play live music for their peers, but also that talented artists collaborate and form collectives. Harlow urges solo artists to join together, and even made suggestions for some of the groupings at the Stein Night.
Last semester, Harlow went to Student Events with the idea of band performances, creating a “Cozy Concert” night in the SCC Atrium where students performed similar to the Stein, but the audience brought pillows and blankets and got comfortable on the SCC floor. After the success of this performance, Harlow has continued to organize similar events.
On Sept. 29, Harlow is arranging for a night of performances on the Great Lawn, during which full bands will have the opportunity to play. Next month, on Oct. 14, Harlow will host another Stein Night. The only step to take, if interested in performing, is to contact Harlow.
Such organic, open and inviting student-led events with peers as performers are rare to come by. Thanks to Harlow and the many talented artists who performed last Friday, Brandeis is now better disposed to offer unmediated and candid events that best represent our student body.