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Twin Cities’ musician performs on campus

February 7, 2008

Musician Ari Herstand helped to kick off the Univeristy Center’s birthday bash at the Falcons Nest Jan. 28. The event also included activities for students to work on suh as decorating your own picture frame, eco-friendly canvas grocery bags and making friendship braclets.

According to Tanya Hartwig, the Student Events Manager, about 125 students came out for the concert and crafts.

Herstand is a musician from Minneapolis who has been performing a solo act for the past three years.  In that time he has released two compact discs: his debut “Baby Eyes” and a live CD called “One Take.”  He has opened for Cake and Sister Hazel and is a frequent performer at regional venues such as The Varsity Theater in Minneapolis and SummerFest in Milwaukee.  His songs have also been used in hit television shows such as “The Real World.” 

Herstand is part of a growing group of solo musicians that use loop stations in their performances.  This allows him to play one instrument and record it so he can pick up another instrument and layer the sound.  This can make one musician sound like an entire ensemble. 

“It helps incorporate the beat box and trumpet for live shows,” Herstand said.  “It helps bring everything together.” 

Besides beat boxing and the trumpet, Herstand sings and plays guitar and piano.

Although the wind chill reached a low of minus 27 that night, an audience began lining up for Herstand’s show before the doors opened at 7 p.m.  When asked why they would brave the severe weather, students had different reasons.  Shawna Fritz said, “Make your own grocery bags!”  Chelsea Thompson was excited for the performance, saying, “I heard the music was really good.” 

Some of the students in attendance had become fans of Herstand after seeing him perform elsewhere.  Melanie Preiner had seen Herstand’s performance in Dinkytown. 

“He’s just so original,” she said.  “I like all of his songs.” 

Herstand performed an hour and a half set with songs from his two albums as well as a few tracks from a new album that he has not named yet, but will be released in April.  The song “Last Date,” which will be included on the CD, is scheduled to be used in a future episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“If the freakin’ writer’s strike ever ends,” Herstand said.

The musician did not perform with a set list in mind and took requests from the audience.  After a few shout-outs for standard rock songs, Herstand joked back. 

“There will be no Tom Petty, Billy Joel or Lynard Skynard played tonight.” 

Herstand played one cover song.  His jazzy version of “Wonder Wall” by Oasis received the biggest applause of all the songs he played. 

Some members of the audience requested to hear Herstand’s original work.  “Poster Boy Celebrity” is one of the most popular songs on the “Baby Eyes” CD.  The song is heavily influenced by Ska music, which got some concert goers tapping their feet and dancing.

“He’s fantastic and cute too,” Holly Knudtson said.  “Its nothing like anything I’ve seen before.”

The male members of the audience also applauded Herstand’s performance.

“It takes a lot of guts to be just one person on stage,” Alex Wahlberg said.

The audience began to leave the event around 9 p.m. after Herstand performed his last song, “Center of a Kiss.”  However, many stayed after the lights came on to chat with the musician and purchase a CD or t-shirt.