Shark student band continues legacy of live performances
Passed down through the years, Shark remains a key element of Dartmouth’s music community.
Courtesy of Ryan Yong '24
Student bands are an enduring aspect of Dartmouth’s musical community, which is composed of students from across class years. The most current iteration of the student band Shark is made up of Jacob Donoghue ’22 on keys and vocals, Patrick Howard ’23 on guitar and vocals, Kirusha Lanski ’23 on drums, Bo Farnell ’26 on guitar and Ian Moore ’26 on bass and backup vocals. In an email statement to The Dartmouth, Nick Deveau ’16 wrote that he co-founded the band with Pablo Marvel ’15 and Zach Wooster ’15 in the fall of 2014.
Donoghue, Howard and Lanski said they joined the band last year. After two upperclassmen members of Shark graduated last year, the three said they began recruiting new members. The newest members include Farnell, who “shreds guitar,” as well as Moore, who was recruited “as soon as I saw him pull out a five string bass,” Lanski noted.
Shark’s musical style is varied as its band members are diverse: Because each member of the band comes from different musical backgrounds, the musical result is what the band calls a combination of “rock, pop, funk-influenced music, disco, pop rock, rock pop and some alternative music.”
While keeping a wide repertoire, Shark is best known for their performances of “The Wolf” by Mumford & Sons —frequently their first song of the set — “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen, a personal favorite of Howard’s and “Gimme Gimme Gimme” by ABBA, a favorite of Farnell.
Donoghue said his favorite song to perform is “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon, while Moore said his is “Locked Out of Heaven” by Bruno Mars. Lanski said his favorite song to perform is a funk cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears for Fears — “I love funky stuff,” he said.
These favorites are shared by some self-identifying fans of the band. After attending a show, Lauren Zanarini, ’26, cited “Kilby Girl” by the Backseat Lovers and “Use Somebody” as some of her favorites performed by Shark.
“Everytime they would have a show, [my friends and I] would get excited to go,” Zanarini said. “At a school like this, it’s cool to have a band that you see perform on stage, and then see them around campus, like in class or in Foco.”
Moore and Farnell said they both played in bands in high school, respectively, and knew they wanted to continue playing music in college. Moore described playing in a band as his “biggest priority” on campus. Farnell said he has felt very fulfilled by the experience of playing in a campus band.
“In high school, I’d have to convince people to come to shows,” Farnell said. “Now, people come up to me and ask when the next show is.”
Despite their different musical backgrounds, playing in Shark has pushed some band members to explore new musical territory. Lanski said he was new to the drums when he started playing at Dartmouth, while Donoghue said he grew up playing classical piano and was able to transition his skills to play Shark’s repertoire of songs.
The band rehearses twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays late in the evening, and sometimes late into the night, according to Lanski. Lanski noted that some of the band’s best moments are in rehearsal, when someone “does something spontaneous, and everyone is there to appreciate it.”
Howard said the band sometimes has trouble focusing during practice because they have so much fun hanging out together. Lanski added that he thinks Shark has a good balance of “goofing around and jamming.” Donaghue also emphasized the lighthearted nature of the band’s practice sessions.
“Sometimes we’ll play through 10 songs, [and] sometimes we’ll only play through one in the same amount of time,” Donoghue said.
Both Howard and Donoghue are members of the Dartmouth Aires, an all-male a cappella group, and all band members are involved in various musical projects on campus. Howard said his practices with the Aires are quite different from Shark’s in that the Aires will frequently run a full set, while Shark seldom does, preferring to stay flexible.
In addition to performing at different venues, the band has to gather their equipment, set it up before the show and take it down afterwards. Some members of Shark noted the challenge of this large time commitment. When asked whether it can be hard to balance the band with academics and other activities, each member of the band responded with a resounding “yes.” However, both Moore and Lanksi cited their gratitude for being in Shark.
“Many times I think, ‘wow, I’m really grateful for these guys,’” Lanski said.
Howard and Donoghue played their last show with Shark at Friday’s Block Party at Phi Delta Alpha fraternity, but they both said that the connections they’ve made from playing in the band will last forever. Some current members of Shark, including Moore, Farnell and Donoghue, in addition to Shark alumni, have also produced their own original music.
Because Shark is a generational band, its members are always engaged in recruiting new members and keeping the tradition alive. The band constantly evolves but continues to remain a key group within the campus band scene.
Correction Appended (May 22, 10:47 a.m.): A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the name of courtesy photo photographer Ryan Yong '24 and omitted band member Jacob Donoghue's role as vocalist in addition to keys. The article has been updated.
Correction Appended (May 23, 11:10 a.m.): A previous version of this article stated that Shark was founded by 2016 at the latest. The article has been updated to clarify that the band was founded in the fall of 2014.