State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Sam

2013 Concert Round Up: Winter Break Philadelphia

The semester is finally over and I think I can speak for all of us when I say we all deserve this nice long break. Some of you may have flocked back home to Philadelphia for the break and you know what that means!?  The holiday show season is among us.  Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite times of the year in Philly because the music scene is booming. Below you will find an extensive list of shows from all genres in the Philadelphia area this winter break. You’ll catch me at a bunch of the pop-punk shows in the area, so if you see me come say hi and I’ll totally give you a State In The Real sticker. Let’s be friends! I stared the ones I’ll be at with an asterisk (*).

At a concert this winter break? Tweet your picture to @StateInTheReal, we want to see where you’re at!

Saturday December 21st

The Barbary: Vanna, State Champs, Sworn In, A Sight For Sewn Eyes*
Doors: 3pm/ Show: 3:30pm

Union Transfer: The Early November “The Room’s Too Cold” 10-year anniversary show, Restorations, Little Big League

Doors: 7pm/Show 8pm

TLA: T-Vice: A Christmas Affair, DJ Diamond Kuts

Doors 9pm/Show: 9:30


Sunday, December 22nd

The Barbary: Major League, Veara, Stickup Kid!, Reward, and The Engine Atlantic*

Doors: 6pm/Show: 6:30pm

Little side note on this show: The two openers of this show are local Philadelphia bands, and supporting local bands is awesome, so come out early!

The first opener, The Engine Atlantic is a 3-piece pop-rock/pop punk band comprised of some of my greatest friends in the world. They’ve recently revamped their sound and have taken great strides this past year to become the best version of themselves. I’m really proud of all that they’ve accomplished this year, and am so excited to see them on this bill.  It’s been a while since I’ve seen their live performance so I’m excited to see what they bring to the table on Sunday.  You can check out their music here:

The other opener, Reward, is a 5-piece pop punk band. Fun fact: a few of the kids in this band currently attend my old high school, which is pretty sweet. Without a doubt, Reward will always have a special place.  They’re young kids keeping the local scene that I hold near and dear to my heart alive and they make me so proud each and every time I see them perform. They have a real rough, and rugged punk sound that vocalist Rob Blackwell captivates really well and the guys in general are all so genuine. You can check out their music here:

First Unitarian Church: Saves The Day (Acoustic), Walter Schreifels, Jon Simmons

Doors: 6:30pm/Show: 7:30pm
Friday, December 27th 

The Trocadero: Ghost Ghang Holiday Charity Show: P64, Mason, Andy Kavanaugh, Champs (21+)

Doors: 8:00pm/Show: 8:30pm

TLA: Dopapod, Swift Technique, Tauk

Doors: 7:00pmpm/ Show: 8:00pm


Saturday, December 28th

The Electric Factory: Zedd, Alex Metric, Lucky Date

Doors: 6:30pm/Show: 7:30pm

Union Transfer: The Infamous Stringdusters, Love Cannon

Doors: 8:00pm/Show: 9:00pm

The Trocadero: Mantis Music Showcase: Makhaira, More To Forget, Chris Rockwell  & The Stickball Social Club, Gape, Transonic, To Help Every Man, Big Stall

Doors: 6:00pm/Show: 7:00pm

TLA: Badfish- A tribute to Sublime, Bong Hits for Jesus, Among Criminals

Doors: 7:00pm/ Show: 8:00pm


Sunday, December 29th

Johnny Brenda’s: MeWithoutYou, The Light House and The Whaler (21+)

Doors: 8:00pm/ Show: 9:00pm

Electric Factory: Dark Star Orchestra

Show: 8:30pm

TLA: Brothers From Another, Illinois & Underwater Window Garden, DJ Skipmode

Doors: 6:00pm/Show: 7:00pm

The Barbary: MYKKI BLANCO, DJ Larry B., T.E.A.M.S.

Show: 8:00pm


Monday, December 30th

Electric Factory: Lotus, Risky Disko

Show: 9pm

TLA: The Lost Tape Collective Holiday Show With Man Overboard, Fight Amp, Young Statues, Modern Baseball, Real Friends, Fireworks*

Show: 6:30pm


Tuesday December 31st

TLA: Baauer, Swizzymack, Xaphoon Jones

Doors: 8:00pm/Show: 9:00pm

Union Transfer: DJ’s: Dave P, Sammy Slice, Mike Z, Dave Pak, Rock Tits & SnKpaK, In The HYPERCAGE (21+)

Show: 9:00pm


Saturday, January 4th

The Trocadero: Voletta, Tenderkill (21+)

Doors: 8:00pm/Show: 9:00pm

The Barbary: Misser, Elder Brother

Show: 5:30pm


Sunday, January 5th

The Trocadero: Alustrium, Another Vendetta, Shattered Sanctity, Prosper Or Perish

Doors: 7:00pm/Show: 7:30pm

Macklemore And Ryan Lewis World Tour 2013 Review

It was one of the first State In The Real meetings of the Fall 2012 semester when I first heard about Macklemore. We did an icebreaker where we had to submit a song to one of the officers and the next meeting we played them  and tried to guess who submitted what song. Mike Renahan submitted Macklemore’s “Ten Thousand Hours” as The Heist had just been released and from that moment on I researched everything I could find out about Macklemore.

I am by no means a hip-hop person so to speak. But I’m the type of person who can appreciate good music when I hear it, regardless of genre and Macklemore has that indescribable spark. I fell in love with his entire discography, but I strongly believe The Heist was absolutely one of the best albums to drop in 2012.

The first time I saw Macklemore live was in May at Skate and Surf 2013. Despite the malfunctions of Skate and Surf as a whole, Macklemore put on one of my favorite sets of the entire festival. I thought that said a lot about the fact that my favorite act from a festival that comprised mostly of the pop punk, alternative rock bands that I love, was indeed a rapper. From then on, my appreciation for Macklemore grew even more.

Fast-forward to June 2013 and the Bryce Jordan Center announced Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s World Tour would be hitting University Park. I couldn’t believe it and knew this show would be one I couldn’t miss.

Now to present times. November 7th, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. the doors open and the Bryce Jordan Center began to fill. This was my first full on hip-hop show I’ve ever attended, and I had no idea what to expect. I’m used to full band performances, with a lot of crowd surfing, and a lot of angry pop punk pointing.  Sitting from my section of 124 and taking a birds eye view of the floor, I could quickly tell I was out of my element.

The first opener of the night took the stage around 7:30. Big K.R.I.T. a Mississippi native, started the night and from what I could tell, people were excited just to get the night started. Personally, Big K.R.I.T. was a little too hip-hop for my taste. At one point, I could literally feel the bass in my throat leaving me uncomfortably unable to breathe.

I couldn’t really get into his set, but one of my favorite songs he did perform was “Hometown Heroes”.  Before starting the song, Big K.R.I.T explained to the crowd how blessed he’s been to go out on tour especially with Macklemore. By performing in other cities and towns outside his home of Mississippi, Big K.R.I.T. feels like a hometown hero and enjoys that he’s making a name for himself.  It was a truly beautiful moment in the BJC when Big K.R.I.T. asked the crowd to put up their phones or lighters to conclude his set.

Next up was Talib Kweli. Anyone who starts their set with a remix to “Zombie Nation” can expect to win over any Penn State crowd.  Talib Kweli did just that and the moment he stepped out on stage was absolutely electric. The level of energy in the BJC multiplied when his set began.

I have never seen someone with so much stage presence and energy. Watching him was such an experience and he definitely gained a new fan out of me.  He truly commanded the entire arena flawlessly and it was just so fun to watch him.

One of my favorite moments from the set was when Talib Kweli brought out friend and indie soul artist Res during his set. Res, a Philadelphia native, walked out on stage and said it best, “I should have went to Penn State, I went to Temple but I should have came to Penn State.”

I always enjoy seeing female vocalists breaking the norm. I think that’s why Hayley Williams from Paramore holds such a special place in my heart. It takes guts to pick up a mic in the hip-hop genre just as it is in the punk genre and be female, so I respect that. The two did a couple duets, including a remix on the Beetles “Eleanor Rigby” which was by far my favorite number of the night. Talib Kweli’s set concluded and the Bryce Jordan Center was getting ansty to pop some tags.

What’s nice about hip-hop shows, and something I wasn’t used to, was the lack of load in and load out between sets. It was nice to be able to transition easily between artists and only really having to switch out a few pieces of the set. I thought the stage crew executed it extremely well for the show and kept things moving nicely.

Before we knew it, Macklemore’s set was upon us. An instrumental song from his latest release The Heist titled “Bombom” began playing as the curtain rose revealing a full band and Ryan Lewis behind the disc jockey table. That’s one of my favorite elements about a live Macklemore show. It isn’t just him, a loop track, and a mic. He intricately incorporates trumpets, cellos, violins, and keyboards, in addition to Ryan Lewis’ incredible beats.

That’s the thing about seeing Macklemore live. He makes his show so theatrical. When you see Macklemore live, you aren’t just seeing a rapper. You’re seeing a performer. You’re seeing an artist in more ways than one. The stage design was absolutely beautiful and tied right into the theatrical feel. Macklemore rose through the stage with fireworks and started the night with the first track of his album The Heist “Ten Thousand Hours”

For being a headliner, Macklemore surprisingly only played ten songs, and three in his encore. This strikes me as a little odd but Macklemore spends a lot of time connecting with his audience and I personally think that says a lot about him not only as a performer but as a person. He tells his story about his struggle with substance abuse, and how he’s been sober since 2008. He tells jokes. He sincerely smiles and takes in the moment. His fame literally happened over night, and I don’t think it’s gone to his head at all. He remains so humble as he performs for full arenas and that’s what’s so special about seeing a Macklemore concert.

Macklemore performed all the hits including “Thrift Shop”, “Can’t Hold Us”,  “Same Love”, “Other Side”, “Irish Celebration”, and “White Walls” just to name a few. Confetti shot from cannons. Streamers flew from the sky. Fireworks lit up the BJC.   And in the words of Macklemore himself: “And we danced, and we cried, and we laughed and had a really really, really good time.”

All in all, the only thing I can say after that concert is this: if the chance ever arises where you can see Macklemore live, do it. Don’t second-guess it. Just do it. Whether you’re a rap fan or not or whether you only know the lyrics to “Thrift Shop”, see him live. It’s an indescribable experience, and well worth every penny spent. This was absolutely one of the best concerts I’ve seen the BJC put on yet, and for that, I tip my hat off to them.  Another great night of music put in the books for Penn State. I give this concert a grade A, without a doubt. Until next time Penn State…keep it real.

Photos by: Alanna Yao

SPA Student Showcase Auditions

Think you got what it takes to perform at Student Programming Association (SPA)’s semester annual Student Showcase? Can you sing?  Can dabble with the guitar? Can you play a mean ukelele? Think you got what it takes? If you said HELL YEAH to any of these questions, you should audition for the Fall 2013 SPA Student Showcase!

 SPA Noontime is looking for student musicians to showcase their talent! Come out and audition for SPA Noontime’s Student Showcase.  Those who are chosen will get a chance to perform during one of the Student Programming Association’s Noontime concerts!

The Student Showcase will be on Friday Dec. 6th from 12-2pm! Artists are not required to perform for the whole event, but you must arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled time slot.

The Student Showcase auditions will be held in 223 HUB on November 10th ,11th, & 12th from 8-10pm.

If you are interested in auditioning email Autumn Strausbaugh, the Noontime chair, at! There will also be a sign-up sheet outside SPA’s office (223 HUB).

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to show Penn State what you’ve got!

SOMA Presents: The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die

Students Organizing Multiple Arts (aka SOMA, as most of you may know them as) are bringing a different sound to the Penn State music scene. The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, currently signed to Boston’s Topshelf Records, is an atmospheric emo/indie punk band from Willimantic, CT and will be gracing Penn State with their presence on Thursday November 7th, 2013 in Alumni Hall in the HUB at 8pm.

The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is comprised of  Derrick Shanholtzer (guitar/vocals), Josh Cyr(bass), Steven K Buttery(drums), Greg Horbal (guitar/vocals), David Bello (vocals), Chris Teti (guitar/trumpet)
Katie Shanholtzer-Dvorak (keyboards/vocals) and Julia Peters (cello). The band just finished up some dates with Brand New and are currently out on a short run with The Front Bottoms. At first listen, their sound instantly reminded me of the bands like Lydia and maybe even a little bit of Fireworks with their very slow, soft, melodic punk sound. I’m pleasantly surprised by the musicality of this band and am extremely excited to catch their show on November 7th and I hope you are too!

Below you can stream the band’s latest album titled Whenever, If Ever right here:

The other acts for the show on November 7th include: Sandy Alex G and Kirby Derp & The Hobby Horse both from Philadelphia, PA

For more information on the show click here for the Facebook event and I hope to see you in the crowd!

The Tragic Thrills Release First Single "Tears"

The Tragic Thrills, previously known as Allstar Weekend, has finally released a new song under their new name. The Tragic Thrills, comprised of Michael Martinez, Zach Porter, Cameron Quiseng and Brent Schneiders took their last and final run as Allstar Weekend this past summer on the Vans Warped Tour and  that was the last time any Allstar Weekend music would be played live. The band decided to change their name and go a different route with their sound completely and while I’m really sad that Allstar Weekend’s bubble gum pop sound is no more, this sound isn’t too shabby. In fact, I absolutely love the single they released at midnight titled “Tears”. It’s raw. It’s real. It’s mature. And I think this is exactly what the guys were looking for.

Take a listen below and let me know what you think!

NeW BeAt FuNd Set To Open For Blink-182


Penn State, get ready for a totally new sound to pop music. Break out artists NeW BeAt FuNd are making a name for themselves and 2013 their year. The band is fresh off a successful run on the 2013 Vans Warped Tour this past summer and ready to finish out the year strong. I even got to catch their set for a song or two at Warped Tour’s Holmdel, NJ stop and can vouch for their incredible stage presence.


NeW BeAt FuNd is comprised of BuRNie BAkeR, BuTToN, SiLkY and SNaPz all of whom are proud to announce that they have been tapped by the one and only Blink-182 to open up for their short run of small intimate shows along the northeast, as well as festivals out in the midwest and California. Yes, you read that right, NeW BeAt FuNd is opening for Blink-182. Casual right? The band is super stoked on this, and can you really blame them?!

Personally, I find that NeW BeAt FuNd has an extremely unique and different sound which really sets them apart from a lot of alternative pop bands out on the market right now. At the start of this past summer, the band re-released its “($) CoiNz” EP.  Drawing on the energy of the group’s dynamic live show, the self-produced EP includes their off-the-wall track that put them on KROQ/L.A.’s influential “Locals Only” show & in “Kat’s Box” —“ScArE Me”— as well as  “CeLibATe CeLEbRiTy,” “HeLEnA” and  “GeT uP.”

Think NeW BeAt FuNd is your style and want to see them live? Well, you’re in luck! State In The Real will be giving away two tickets to their show September 12th in Bethlehem, PA where NeW BeAt FuNd will be opening for Four Year Strong and Blink-182! Want to win? All you need is a twitter account, to follow us on twitter and to tweet this or retweet this to be entered to win!


The official tour dates include:

Sept. 6                 Montclair, NJ*                 The Wellmont Theater

Sept. 7                    Atlantic City, NJ*               Revel Ovation Hall

Sept. 8                    Uncasville, CT*                                     Mohegan Sun Arena

Sept. 10                 Sayreville, NJ~                     Starland Ballroom

Sep. 11                   Brooklyn, NY~                       Music Hall of Williamsburg

Sept. 12                 Bethlehem, PA*                 Sands Bethlehem Event Center

Sept. 14                 Chicago, IL #                          Riot Fest at Humboldt Park

Sept. 18               Santa Barbara, CA #        Santa Barbara Bowl (KJEE Summer Round Up)

Sept. 19                 Las Vegas, NV *                   The Boulevard Pool at The Cosmopolitan

Sept. 21                 Irvine, CA ^                             Epicenter at Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre

Sept.  22                Denver, CO #                         Riot Fest at May Farms

* supporting blink-182
~ benefit show with blink-182
^ festival date
# festival date with blink-182

Check out their official music video for the band’s single: “Scare Me” and let us know what you think!

Interested in finding out more about NeW BeAt FuNd? Check out these links below and follow them here: