Lawrence Jams celebrates Burstein

On Friday, Oct. 27 in Esch-Hurvis, Lawrence hosted “Lawrence Jams,” a fun event celebrating Mark Burstein’s official installation as the 16th president of the university. Besides the fun opportunity to take a photo with a cardboard cut-out of Mr. Burstein while decked out in a Viking helmet and to participate in a raffle-draw that included fantastic prizes, such as dinner with four friends at the President’s house, the event showcased several local acts that included Snort, LU’s Improv group “Optimistic Feral Children” and Porky’s Groove Machine, as well as Holy Sheboygan.

The first musical act that night was instrumental band Snort. Made up of seniors guitarists Addy Goldberg, Joram Zbichorski and Nick Waldner; bassist Ian Terry; and drummer Kelson Zbichorski, the Snort sound came across as a whole lot of awesome distortion with a certain atmospheric quality thrown in there, as well. Occasional nifty finger-tapping by the guitarists and some effects on the pedals were also brought into a few songs, including “These Doors Have Motion Sensors,” that they performed that night. They were a great introduction to the rest of the night’s events as people were settling in.

Following Snort, LU’s Improv group “Optimistic Feral Children” took the stage to inject some laughter into the event. They played games like “Ding,” with categories that included “Dealing with trustees” and other games like “World’s Worst” that included categories such as “World’s Worst Slogan” and “World’s Worst University President.” Some students sat on the floor while others offered suggestions for other categories.

From there, Lawrence’s own fun and fresh funk band Porky’s Groove Machine performed. The fast tempo funk band was a real hit that night as many danced to the up-tempo grooves and fast beats provided by the tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, trumpet, bass, two guitars, percussion and drums. They played several originals and a few covers, including the Beegee’s hit “Stayin’ Alive,” which was very much enjoyed by the audience.

The last musical act of the night was Holy Sheboygan, a band that describes themselves as “junk-step,” according to their official Facebook page. While I may not necessarily have any idea of what junk-step music entails, their sound is fun and unique. The band played with a ton of great energy and donned ice blond wigs, which was a fantastic sight. Holy Sheboygan started their set with some stomping and indistinct yelling, at least to my ears. This, as it turned out, was just a prelude to their overall musical sound. Their set was filled with songs that were backed by a nice hard thumping drum that added a lot of overall bass to the music when it was combined with the double bass and baritone saxophone. With the occasional viola solo, the Holy Sheboygan sound was unlike any other I had heard before.

The combination of Snort, Optimistic Feral Children, Porky’s Groove Machine and Holy Sheboygan ensured that everyone, young and old, had something to enjoy. Lawrence Jams was a fantastic way to celebrate Mark Burstein’s official inauguration while enjoying some fun music and great company.

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