State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Nate Spilman

Movin' On RECAP: Aloe Blacc lifts our spirits

photos by Aizya McGee

After his soulful performance at Movin’ On last Saturday, we can all agree that Aloe Blacc is most certainly The Man. He is a master showman with a voice just as smooth and powerful live as on recording.

Blacc opened his set with “I Need a Dollar”, his first hit from early 2010. Blacc, here to have fun, then remixed his own song by singing it in a grooving reggae style. Blacc instantly got his audience engaged and he held our attention the rest of his 45 minute set.

The cheers of excitement from the audience were enormous for both “Wake Me Up” and “The Man”, and you could here “Aloe, Aloe!” being chanted half way through the set. Audience participation was a key part of Aloe Blacc’s set. Not only did he have us singing along, but he had the audience in two-part harmony during “Love is the Answer”.  Blacc then jokingly reminded us that when he says “Love is the answer”, he doesn’t mean for us to put “love” down for every answer on our final exams.

The audience participation did not stop there. During the extended chorus of “You Make Me Smile”, Blacc instructed us to grab on to the special someone who makes us smile and sing the chorus to them. “And if you see someone who’s not hugging someone”, continued Blacc, “Go sing to them.” During “Can You Do This?”, Blacc told us of watching Soul Train as a child, and instructed us to form two aisles for bold audience members to dance down. The audience obliged without hesitation.

Aloe Blacc encouraging the audience to sing along


Aloe Blacc was kind and humble throughout his performance. He credited other artists for their work on his songs and openly confessed the great honor it was to work with them. He gushed about working with Pharell Williams on “Love Is the Answer”,  Avicii and Mike Einziger of Incubus on “Wake Me Up” and Elton John on “The Man.”  He also expressed his gratitude for being able to perform music that makes people smile.

Near the end of his set, Aloe Blacc had us all raise our hands high. He preached love and we responded, promising our master of ceremonies that we will go out and make the world a better place.

On behalf of State in the Real and the student body, I want to thank UPAC and everyone involved in Movin’ On for booking such a talented and uplifting performer.

Teaser Trailer released for upcoming movie Dear Old State

Penn State students have released a teaser trailer for their upcoming film Dear Old State. 

Dear Old State is a film working to change the negative post-Sandusky perception of Penn State, and to show the world who We Are. It’s a student-created film that is not about what went wrong, but instead is about what is right with the Penn State and State College community.

Co-director and Penn State student Griffin Boustany said every scene in the film depicts positivity surrounding State College. Dear Old State interviews business owners, students, athletes, and other community members and sheds a positive light on central Pennsylvania.

“We realize everyone is sick about hearing about the Sandusky scandal and the community in a negative light,” said co-director Ryan Blaschak. “Our film isn’t the typical negative story people have been hearing. Instead, we’re looking at the best that Penn State and Happy Valley has to offer.” The directors stress that this movie isn’t only for Penn State students or the state of Pennsylvania. This movie is for the world because everyone deserves to know what the community stands for.

In February, Penn State’s THON raised more than $13 million to help fight pediatric cancer. Earlier in the semester, a Penn State men’s hockey player donated bone marrow to an anonymous recipient. The directors hope to pull in these types of events to paint the picture of Happy Valley that only those closest to the community see.

“Some people leave behind a park bench. Some people leave behind a tree. We want to leave behind this movie as a gift to this community to show the world who we are,” said co – director Griffin Boustany. The crew of Dear Old State is working with the same production company that brought the world 365 Days: A Year in Happy Valley and The Joe We Know.

With the film almost completed, the crew is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10,000 to finish shooting to help fund the film started by Penn State students. Dear Old State is planning to be released in May.

Support Dear Old State on Kickstarter HERE!

Lenina Crowne talks upcoming THON 2014 performance

We caught up with indie rock and roll band Lenina Crowne last Friday before their fantastic performance at the Darkhorse Tavern to discuss their upcoming performance at THON 2014.

With seven members, Lenina Crowne is ready to take THON stage and keep the dancers moving! The band is quite the ensemble, consisting of Eric Faust on guitar on vocals, Mike D. Mulligan on keys, Emma Ripp on cello, Blake Gifford on ukulele, mandolin, guitar and vocals, Nick Rudenko on saxophone, Eric Seidle on bass and Gred Ford on drums.

The band got the opportunity to play at THON by being scouted by THON Entertainment, through the bar shows they consistently play. Eric Faust told us that they were first contacted by THON at the Darkhorse Tavern, after playing a show with a minimal set list and a small crowd, months ago. Faust says the THON Entertainment committee “Seemed to really like us, and were really cool.” The THON entertainment committee came out to a Lenina Crowne show at Café 210 in December, when the band had a much more robust set list. Over break, the band received the email that they were playing in THON.

Lenina Crowne says the focus is on covers to keep the dancers going with songs they know, but will be playing two high energy original songs that they’re sure will keep the crowd excited. Faust says that they have been averaging two or three shows a week, and has a good gauge of which songs are crowd favorites to play at THON. For a sneak peak at their setlist, the band tells me to look out for Jumper by Third Eye Blind, Hey Jude by the Beatles and Float On by Modest Mouse.

“The whole band feels honored to be a part of THON weekend, even as just performers”, says Greg Ford. When discussing their thoughts on THON, Eric Seidle says “”I think THON is really cool because it’s organized by students. It’s so impressive the scope and the scale that they pull off, and they succeed! It’s incredible. Experiencing that organization from the inside and how they’ve treated us has been really fun, and really impressive from all angles.”

Mike D Mulligan admitted “I’m pretty nervous, I’m not going to lie. But it’s going to be really eye-opening. Definitely going to be something that 20-30 years down the road I’ll be like “hey kids, I played in front of 20,000 people in college.”

Seidle told us that cellist Emma Ripp, who played with the band all last semester, has been student teaching this semester and has not been able to play with the band. She will be playing with the band for their THON weekend performance, which Seidle says is “going to be an extra layer of specialness for her to be playing with us again during THON.”

Faust says he has 15 friends who are dancing, and is excited to send them shoutouts throughout the set.

We cannot report the time that Lenina Crowne will play for the sake for the dancers, but we are excited to see them play! Look out for a special surprise from the band during their set this weekend.

Soviet Bibles release debut album!

State College’s own Soviet Bibles has released their debut album, Against the Dawn on Bandcamp. Soviet Bibles’ sound is a wonderful amalgam of 80’s metal, classic punk rock and modern hard rock with some electronic sounds thrown in. To quote their sound Bandcamp, “[They] play rock and fucking roll.”

The band consists of  Alex Wypijewski on vocals, Michael Garrett on guitar and production, and Brian Wengert on bass. As their EP released last fall, the album is self-produced and recorded. but with vastly improved recording quality and production techniques, according to Michael Garrett. Against the Dawn was released on February 7th of this year, and can be streamed and downloaded for free on the band’s Bandcamp here.

Stay tuned for more to come from Soviet Bibles in the future!

Winter Break Concert Roundup: New York City

In the New York City metro area for the holidays? Here’s our list of local concerts, so you’ll always have something to do!

Saturday, 12/21/2013

Thievery Corporation Tickets (18+) – Webster Hall 7:00PM

God Street Wine (Under 16 requires an adult) – Gramercy Theatre 8:00PM

Phosphorescent (18+) – Music Hall of Williamsburg 8:00PM

Dillon Francis (18+) – Terminal 5 9:00pm

Benny Benassi – Pacha 10:00pm

Sunday, 12/22/2013

Emily Kinney – Gramercy Theatre 7:00pm

Brand New (18+) – The Bell House 7:30pm

The Mrs Carter Show World Tour starring Beyonce – Barclays Center 8:00pm

Thursday, 12/26/2013

Pitbull with Prince Royce – Barclays Center 7:00pm

Friday, 12/27/2013

Gwar – Irving Plaza 7:30

Disco Biscuits  – Best Buy Theater 8:00pm

The Front Bottoms – Bowery Ballroom 8:00pm

Zedd – Pier 94 9:00pm

Satuday, 12/28/2013

The Front Bottoms – Shea Stadium BK 8:00pm

Phish – Madison Square Garden 8:00pm

Hardwell – Pier 94 9:00pm

Baaur (19+) – Webster Hall 10:00pm

The Spring Standards (21+) – Mercury Lounge 10:30pm

Disco Biscuits – Best Buy Theater 11:00pm

Sunday, 12/29/2013

Patti Smith – Webster Hall 7pm

Punch Brothers (18+) – Bowery Ballroom 8:00pm

Phish – Madison Square Garden 8:00pm

Knife Party (21+) – Pacha 10:00pm

Disco Biscuits – Best Buy Theater 11:00pm

Monday, 12/30/2013

Patti Smith – Webster Hall 7:00pm

Gogol Bordello – Terminal 5 8:00pm

Punch Brothers (18+) – Bowery Ballroom 8pm

Phish – Madison Square Garden 8:00pm

The Felice Brothers (21+) – Brooklyn Bowl 9:00pm

Big Gigantic (18+) – Roseland Ballroom 9:00pm

Major Lazer and Boys Noize – Pier 94 9:00pm

Tuesday, 12/31/2013

Winter Galactic with Dada Life, Porter Robinson, W&W, Bassjackers and more – Hammerstein Ballroom 6:00pm

Clutch (18+) – Music Hall of Williamsburg 7:00pm

Andrew W.K. – Irving Plaza  8:00pm

Phish – Madison Square Garden 8:00pm

Alesso – Pier 94 8:00pm

Delta Spirit (21+) – Brooklyn Bowl 9:00pm

Big Gigantic (18+) – Roseland Ballroom 9:00pm

Gogol Bordello – Terminal 5 9:00pm

Punch Brothers (18+) – Bowery Ballroom 8:00pm

Disco Biscuits – Best Buy Theater 11:00pm

Monday, 1/06/2014

Neil Young – Carnegie Hall Stem Auditorium 8:00pm

Tuesday, 1/07/2014

Neil Young – Carnegie Hall Stem Auditorium 8:00pm

Wednesday, 1/08/2014

Haerts – Music Hall of Williamsburg 8:00pm

Thursday, 1/09/2014

U Kiss – Best Buy Theater 7:30pm

John Newman – Bowery Ballroom 8:00pm

Neil Young – Carnegie Hall Stem Auditorium 8:00pm

Against Me – Rough Trade NYC 8:00pm

Friday, 1/10/2014

Action Bronson – Irving Plaza 7:00pm

Jake Bugg – Terminal 5 7:00pm

Self – Gramercy Theatre 7:00pm

Weekend (18+) – Bowery Ballroom 9:00pm

Saturday 1/11/2014

Action Bronson – Irving Plaza 7:00pm

Rusted Root – Gracercy Theatre 7:00pm

Sammy Adams – Webster Hall 7:30pm