“It’s gonna be weird,” said Karl Bernhardsen, a senior majoring in English, before the start of the Binghamton Underground Music Presents (BUMP)/WHRW 90.5 FM Student Showcase. And weird it was, after a night filled with morph suits, synth-heavy sets and the most distinct student musical acts Binghamton University has to offer.
The showcase, which was held in the Mandela Room Friday night, featured some of BU’s most talented and creative student musicians, who came together and played under the smiling visage of the late Nelson Mandela to donate directly to Operation SAnta, the Student Association gift drive which distributes toys and clothes to needy children during the holiday season.
Student musician Carl Schrecongost, a senior majoring in cinema, set the tone for the evening, opening with an eccentric synthesizer-heavy set complete with two student background dancers sporting Vonnegut-esque masks and morph suits. Bernhardsen, later revealed to be one of the masked dancers, regaled the audience with his sweet moves.
Mike Shapiro, the frontman of the popular campus band DreamReel, played a toned-down acoustic set that had the audience tapping their feet and singing along.
“It’s great to see everyone out here supporting this good cause,” said Shapiro, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, to the crowd in between songs. “Thank you so much for coming.”
The event was particularly special for Andrew Williamson, a graduate student studying business, who performed his first set as a solo artist. Williamson alternated between layering and looping sounds on his keyboard, drumming, singing and playing his guitar, creating an ambient and impressive sound for a one-man band.
“Thank you WHRW and BUMP for giving me my first opportunity to perform as a solo artist, while helping the children at the same time!” Williamson said after his set.
Laura Keim, the frontwoman/bassist of the popular student band Liberty Belle and the Union Boys and a junior majoring in music, gave a spectacular vocal performance, singing some original songs and rocking out on the electric guitar.
The event was well received by students, who popped in and out throughout the night to enjoy some music in between studying for finals.
“It’s nice that BUMP and WHRW put this together,” said Isabella Castiglioni, a freshman majoring in anthropology. “We get to hear great music from the students, all for a good cause.”