Following last week’s Philfest, A&O Productions teamed up with Dance Marathon to bring indie rock bands Magic Man and Cheers Elephant for Benefit 2014 on Saturday.
Magic Man, a synth rock band from Boston, took the stage shortly after 2 p.m. to a small crowd on the Norris East Lawn. The five-piece band performed songs from their recently released EP, You Are Here, as well as songs from their first EP and debut album. The crowd nearly doubled halfway through Magic Man’s set and students began to dance in front of the stage during aptly named “Chicagoland.” Another highlight of the set included an energized, synthed-up cover of John Legend’s “All of Me.”
But one of the most entertaining aspects of their set was lead singer Alex’s bounding stage presence – the young vocalist expertly revved up the crowd with dance moves that appropriately reflected the energy of the drum and synth-driven music. By the end of the show, he was drenched in sweat (it didn’t help that he was wearing a denim shirt and black skinny jeans) but was still willing to take photos with students. After individually introducing each of the band members, Alex transitioned to their final – and most popular – song, “Paris.”
Following a brief intermission, Philadelphia-based rock band Cheers Elephant took the stage to a slightly smaller crowd. As their name would suggest, Cheers Elephant matched the level of energy set up by Magic Man with upbeat, cheery rock music that was much more guitar-driven. In fact, a band member's guitar strings broke after their first song and had to be quickly replaced during a brief instrumental interlude.
This incident proved that Cheers Elephant is a band comfortable in its own skin. Lead singer Derek Krzywicki has a unique, eccentric stage presence that was characterized by goofy dance moves. The song “Party on Darwin” began with the line, “Ay yo! Let me wash your windshield!” The majority of their songs featured impressive guitar solos and riffs that accentuated the summery vibe of Benefit 2014. Before concluding the set, Cheers Elephant struck a dramatic pose for everyone to Instagram the show.
With the help of two equally energetic indie rock bands and beautiful weather, Benefit 2014 helped Northwestern students enjoy a perfect early summer day and raise money for Dance Marathon.