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Sara James and the Hess Brothers Prove the BJC Loves Rock and Roll

Sara James and the Hess Brothers traveled from South Jersey to perform on stage at THON 2016. The five-piece band started off their Penn State debut with students crowded around the Four Diamond stage to hear a performance of rock ‘n’ roll throwbacks and contemporary folk rock.

To start the show off right, Sara got the crowd clapping along to “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” by Jet. Followed by the unmistakable guitar riffs from the No Doubt hit “I’m Just a Girl,” the crowd remembered the good old rock ‘n’ roll from the 90s.

Sara James and the Hess Brothers THOn 2016

The band kept the crowd head banging with the Blondie original “One Way or Another”, especially when Sara whips out her own guitar to amp up the layered melodies.

The enthusiasm of the musicians bled into the crowd, and everyone was dancing along when the lead guitarist took to the microphone to belt the lyrics to “The Wolf” by Mumford & Sons. They even gave the Foo Fighters a run for their money with a cover of “All My Life.”

The energy was heightened once they started Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll.” And other favorite from the Foo Fighters, “The Pretenders”, but their talent shows they are nothing close to pretenders.

Just after so great throwbacks, the band starts to play “Gold On The Ceiling” by the Black Keys. This song got some people in the back dancing along.

Sara James and the Hess Brothers

Both singers took on “Harder to Breathe” by Maroon 5 and then shocked the BJC with an electric guitar solo to compete with the best of them. After was a unique rocker spin on Bruno Mars’ pop song “Runaway.”

Sara switched up to a tambourine, and the band played another pop turned rock rendition, this one of One Republic’s “Counting Stars.” It evoked the audience to sing and dance with their neighbors.

The build up into “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence in the Machine was intoxicating, and it got the crowd dancing and screaming along to the lyrics they know so well. Sara calmed the tone of the performance with her soulful voice as she sang “Riptide” by Vance Joy. Though it was a slower song from the set list, you could still hear the echo of the crowd singing along to the popular summer jam.

“Little Talks” from Monsters and Men led the band in to their last song.

Sara James and the Hess Brothers THON 2016“Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars was a great pump up song to end the performance and propel the BJC into more THON shenanigans. The guitar riffs with the strong drums were the perfect background for everyone singing and dancing along to the band’s final song.

Just before leaving the stage they tried out the classic “We Are…” And of course, the BJC responded with a resounding “Penn State!”

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About the Author

Emily Davis

Emily Davis is a writer for Onward State, who is currently a junior majoring in English. She is an avid Spotify enthusiast, occasionally wears colors other than black, and will devour an entire box of Gushers with pleasure. You can easily stalk this rad person on Twitter and Instagram @emily_davis56 or contact her through email at [email protected]


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