A Haven For Music And Hookah: The Music Underground
Downtown State College offers so many avenues for students to enjoy an enticing music scene, but sometimes you have to do a little digging to pinpoint the right oasis for your inner music snob. The Music Underground revealed itself through a concert showcasing local bands. After venturing down to West College and hearing the music come through the doorway of Chronic Town, it was hard not to see the spotlight shine down from the heavens.
The Music Underground, known to most as a record store, also acts as a hookah lounge, concert venue, coffee bar, and eclectic hang-out spot called Chronic Town.
The vast library of records it has to offer is impressive alone. A number of vintage, vinyl records fit in well with albums from bands and artists like Imagine Dragons, Cold Play, Nirvana, Beck, and Eminem.
The lower racks of used (or perhaps just well-loved) records serve as a testament to the wide variety of music tastes around State College, in addition to the amount of times each record was played. Music history is waiting for you when you walk in the door.
For those just beginning their record collection like myself, don’t feel intimidated. The Music Underground might be the safest and the most inviting place to start. The space is a fantastically comfortable environment with patterned carpets, wooden furniture, and the warm haze from the arrangement of hookah flavors floating around in the air. If you’re lucky, the room will smell like vanilla.
Bright neon lights cut through the dim lighting. There’s also a pinball machine and upright arcade game — not exactly one would expect in such a relaxed location, but this unexpected juxtaposition between the chill indie vibe and the gaming machines only add to the vintage vibes and make the spot that much sweeter.
The Music Underground may be a calming environment during the daylight hours, but on a concert night, it’s a whole different story. The haze of hookah smoke still remains, but instead, it’s floating just over the heads of friends and fans of the local bands. When sitting in one of the booths, the best sound thing in the room is either the guitar, bass, or on rarer occasions, the trumpet. Heads in the crowd nod along over swaying bodies enjoying the garage acoustics.
The lack of a perfect set-up adds to the casual, and for lack of a better term, “underground” feel of the space. The stage is about a step up from the ground and it focuses the audience upon the performers. If you’re looking elsewhere, you might miss something.
Music Underground may very well be one of State College’s best kept secrets, which is truly a shame. The formula of friends, hookah, and music you can’t hear on the radio might just beat a night at the bars.