PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Mixing Uppers and Downers at Chronic Town

Like the roller coaster concoction, Four Loko, a mixture of spastic lo-fi and coffeehouse acoustic filled the dungeon-esque walls of Chronic Town last night.

Buzz-band Emperor X and ambient singer-songwriter Annalisa Barron took to the stage for a show sponsored by the Lion 90.7-FM, Roustabout!, and Students Organizing the Multiple Arts (SOMA).

Barron opened and combined Route 66 blues riffs and Regina Spektor-like vocal harmonies to trick the crowd into thinking someone laced their hookahs with Oxycontin.

Hazy glow of LED lights through plumes of cigarette smoke perfectly ebbed with Annalisa Barron’s muffled tone and spontaneous bouts of raspy high notes. She danced through riffs of gentle finger picking on a pale wood acoustic but busted out a ukelele for a song chronicling travel stories where she was “that person in line for a plane playing a ukelele.”

The chorus rang out her wanderings tales with the line “my love is coming to town.”

In one song she was even accompanied by a cello player. The bass notes rumbled like a passing train while the high notes rang with the feeling of a Gothic cathedral–all while Annalisa Barron moaned soulful vocal arrangements.

The married scent of double apple shisha and craft brewed teas only furthered the relaxed atmosphere of kids in ugly sweaters, drinking Coke from glass bottles. However, the true downer (I say that with all due respect) was the bone-tingling melodies escaping from Annalisa’s guitar.

Noisy guitar buzz and pounding bass drums broke the calm of Annalisa Barron’s performance once fringe indie band Emperor X took the stage. A chaotic culmination of estranged groans and screeches, spacey synthesizer, and the unusual addition of a trombone made listening to Emperor X feel like self-inducing an aneurysm that kind of got you off.

Operating through noise and rumbles, the lead vocalist looped falsetto woos and bassy do-wops. When screaming in or away from the mic, however, his voice had the stale refinements of a pre-Simple Math Andy Hull.

The lyricism followed Emperor X’s nerdy style with lines about oxygen, RNA, the LSATs and Shariah Law. The I Got Picked On In High School appeal also bled out into between-song conversations about the Hebrew language and an odd fascination with “nerd alley” or Fraser Street downtown.

“That’s where the comic book store and the D and D place is, right?” asked the lead vocalist before comically adding, “they had to stop me from going in there.”

Emperor X created a lull in the storm with a group chant of the repeated word, “together,” and an echoing thump of drum sticks on a snare and an empty guitar case. And we were together–a crowd huddled Indian style, chain smoking and bobbing to the haunting rhythm.

Where Annalisa Barron’s style was best described by the Lion 90.7-FM’s Ryan Kappy as “fucking soothing,” Emperor X made you constantly itch for a cigarette dipped in codeine. The concoction, unlike in Four Lokos case, is not going to make you wake up pantsless. The clash of genres and moods actually worked really well like a car crash you can’t turn away from.

About the Author


More by Evan

Penn State Students Ask Willard Preacher for a Little R-E-S-P-E-C-T

A group of Penn State feminists combated the Willard Preacher’s hateful rhetoric about sexuality and women by staging a flashmob to the tune of “Respect” by Aretha Franklin. Watch the video and weigh in after the jump.

#MusicMonday: Spring Break-It-Down

Artists Announced for Largest Outdoor EDM Concert to Hit Happy Valley


Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Former Women’s Gymnastics Coach Files Lawsuit Against Penn State Over Handling Of Abuse Allegations

Men’s Soccer Trio, Reading United Win PDL Eastern Conference Title, Fall Short Of National Championship

Penn State Hockey’s Evan Barratt, Aarne Talvitie Participate In World Junior Summer Showcase

Ally McHugh Wins 400 Medley National Championship

Student Life

Girirajan Lab Seeks To Bridge The Gap Between Fly And Human Genomes

The lab uses a combination of human genomics, computational biology, and functional studies, using Drosophila and human cell lines, to understand the risks caused by genetic mutations and to grasp how gene disruption leads to altered neurodevelopment.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Pennharmonics To Hold 25th Anniversary Reunion Concert

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Join Onward State: Fall 2018 Application

Onward State is hiring for the fall semester and we’d love to have you join us.

Incoming Penn State Track & Field Athlete Kristian Marche Shot To Death In Philadelphia

The incident surrounding Marche’s death is “under investigation,” according to the Philadelphia police department.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Madden NFL 19 Ratings For Nittany Lions

For the second consecutive year, Sean Lee is the highest-rated Nittany Lion in the Madden video game.

Send this to a friend