Year after year, local bar band My Hero Zero proves to be a crowd favorite at THON — and this year, it was no different. The five-member band brought some crowd favorites to the BJC and kept the crowd engaged until the very end of their set.
Even though they are veterans of THON, the band always takes the performance seriously. “We were trying to figure out the set list and we kept asking each other for the pen — at the end of it all we had a sheet with so many scribbles on it just to get the perfect set list for THON,” Olcese said.
Front men Jason Olcese and Donovan O’Rourke started off the performance by leading the band through “Shout” by the Isley Brothers. And indeed, the audience shouted along with the band and bobbed their signs and letters up and down. Next, they transitioned into “My House” by Flo Rida, which sounded just as good live as it does on the car radio.
My Hero Zero then led the crowd through “Wake Me Up” by Avicii; during the performance, he urged the crowd to jump up and down during the musical break, which electrified the BJC and got everyone moving. Without even pausing, the band launched into a mash-up of “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz and “California Gurls” by Katy Perry. The crowd loved the throwbacks and even helped the band sing the jams.
The crowd couldn’t get enough of the hits, and the energy was still awesome when the band transitioned into “Raise Your Glass” by P!NK. The band then paused to say, “What’s really incredible about this is that you guys are doing something together. That’s when you guys are most beautiful.” Following that statement, they launched into an intense cover of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”
My Hero Zero started into a newer hit, “Ride” by Twenty One Pilots, which had everyone swaying back and forth. However, the real crowd reaction came when they brought out an old school jam, “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer — when Olcese paused after the line “Work sucks…” the crowd chanted back “…I KNOW!” Following that, the band effortlessly transitioned into a chorus from Mest’s “I Melt With You.”
After they finaly stopped to catch its breath, the local favorite started playing a little Third Eye Blind — “Never Let You Go.” They continued the throw back trend with “My Own Worst Enemy” by Lit and kept the crowd alive by unexpectantly launching into a verse from Grouplove’s “Tongue Tied.”
My Hero Zero continued the trip down memory lane by blasting out a powerful rendition of “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne — complete with a guitar solo and all.
Olcese brought the Penn State spirit in by leading the crowd through a classic Blue Band “Let’s Go State” chant that eventually morphed into “Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes. My Hero Zero capped off the moment with “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars (which has its moment in the 2017 line dance).
From there, they launched into “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas to get the crowd revved up. “We’re gonna ask you to be serious for just one song,” Olcese said before starting on The Backstreet Boys classic “I Want It That Way.” He asked the crowd to sing along with him, and sing along they did. O’Rourke then took the crowd through Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want To Be.” The band then came full circle by performing the One Direction hit “Drag Me Down.”
The band then burst into “All I Do Is Win” and needless to say, everyone’s hands were in the air. O’Rourke then paused and asked everyone to put their arms around one another before playing the slow jam “Iris” by the Goo Goo Dolls. My Hero Zero finished strong with Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar We’re Going Down” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ On A Prayer.”
The crowd didn’t want the band to be finished just yet though — the band agreed to an encore performance and they finished it off with “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz. The final song had the crowd brandishing their cell phone flashlights into the air.
At this point, the crowd has come to expect that My Hero Zero will be great.