A Music Lover’s Guide to State College

So I’ve ranted and raved about the current state of the music scene in Happy Valley, but no one has defended the fact that State College actually has a thriving assortment of venues and musicians. From local bands to superstars, both new and old, State College actually has some decent aspects.

Ideally, we’d have clubs and shows on every corner on the weekends, musicians would want to play State College instead of getting re-routed through our area to stop and play an unlisted show, and everyone would be jamming out 24/7. But let’s try to be happy with the few things that we do have that make State such a budding music town.

1. Music Underground
Right below Metro on College Ave lies my favorite place to go between classes: The Music Underground. It’s a great spot to wander into and discover some new music or rekindle some of your old favorites. Music Underground is perfect for fans of anything between mellow and obnoxious. Recently picking up the first ever Animal Collective album for something like seven bucks proved that this place will solidify itself as an important part of where we get our music from. Whether you were a fan when it was called City Lights, or like it better now with the arcade in the back, one thing is for sure: underground record stores aren’t dead yet in State.

2. The Bryce Jordan Center
While tickets to shows in the BJC aren’t always cheap, they do have have a one-up on every venue in the area. They have the ability to book pretty much anyone short of a Madison Square Garden performance. Some of the big names that have performed here in the last year include Drake, B.o.B, and Sugarland, but this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the rest of the semester. We’re soon to be graced with shows by the Eagles, Dane Cook, Passion Pit and Bob Dylan. No matter what you have to say about distance from campus or ticket prices at the BJC, they are a vital part of where we get our music in State College.

3. Student IDs
Who would have every thought that just having to pose for a cheesy picture in front of a blank screen at FTCAP would ever pay off? Yes, we use our IDs for exams and Lioncash, but how about some of its other more musical uses? First and foremost is the fact that student discounts are given at almost every venue in the area. Sometimes it helps get a better ticket price at the aforementioned BJC, and sometimes it gets you in free to SPA’s events. Despite the (relative) annoyance of having to remember to carry it around all the time, it sure has its benefits and advantages. That’s one thing you won’t see at Terminal 5 for your next dub-grime show.

4. Headphones
If you have ever walked across campus, you know that the majority of people either have some sort of earbud headphones hanging out of their jacket or have a huge stereo headphone wrapped around their neck. No matter the size (that’s what she said), it’s evident that people who go to Penn State love their music. You hear everything from Weezy to Vampire Weekend blasting from students’ ears. It’s no wonder that McLanahans and other grocery stores around have headphones displayed like candy. Next time you almost run into someone trying to change the song on their iPod, take a deep breath and realize, it’s all a part of our music scene.

5. DJs
I’m not talking about Girl Talk or anyone else specifically for that matter. I’m referring to that self-proclaimed DJ of the apartment building in which you are partying. There is always that one guy (or girl) who feels the music playing just doesn’t suit the environment and takes it upon themselves to change it. Sometimes it’s necessary but other times it may be annoying. No matter how intoxicated he or she may be, that one DJ still loves the music as much as the next person and is just trying to keep the party going. Next time you make a party playlist, leave a few necessary songs off and see if anyone has any requests, or, in this case, changes it while you’re not looking.

It may not seem like a lot, but we have to be optimistic sometimes to keep our hopes, or our buzz, high. Next time you you criticize the music scene in State College, make sure you’re doing your part by supporting what we have around us. That’s all the music scene could ask for, or ever need.

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