Lowjack Blazes Through Hard Rocking Set At THON 2020

There’s getting hyped at THON at 3 a.m., and then there’s listening to Lowjack blasting “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” at THON. The latter is far, far more exciting.

With Jason Davoli on guitar, Daniel Collins on fiddle, Joseph Tombasco on keyboards, Alex Sterbenz on bass, and Steve Archer on drums, the popular State College bar band had a full roster on display for THON early in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys was the first track of an energetic set. Collins distinctive fiddle was on full display, adding a bounce to Lowjack’s performance.

“What’s up THON?” asked Davoli once they’d finished warming up the crowd. “You’re doing an amazing thing, keep going.”

Next came “Seven Nation Army.” If you’ve never heard the White Stripes’ stadium classic done with a fiddle, well, you missed you’re one and only chance if you weren’t in the BJC (probably). Archer pounded away on his drum set as the band made seemed to become a favorite among the BJC crowd.

No Lowjack performance is complete without “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” and they did not disappoint. Collins, unsurprisingly went hard on the fiddle. As soon as those string made contact with the bow, magic was made — the BJC crowd’s reaction made it clear.

But Lowjack wasn’t done, using that momentum to go right into one of their better known originals, “One Last Kiss” off their 2010 album Homegrown. Working an original song into a THON set isn’t easy. But not only was the BJC ~vibing~ to it, they were singing along. Impressive work on the band’s part right there.

Already a common selection for bands at THON 2020, Train’s immortal middle school feels tune “Drops of Juniper” was given a Lowjack spin. Davoli is normally the main vocalist, but he gave his vocal cords a break and jammed on a tambourine while Tombasco serenaded the crowd with an emotional performance.

Davoli would come back in with some guitarmanship and and backing vocals, but it very much remained Tombasco’s show. Following that was the set’s second-best fiddle-based song — “Wagon Wheel” — which inspired another sing along.

The band then brought Beaver Stadium to the BJC with “Sweet Caroline.” As expected, it was an instant crowd favorite. Next was Archer’s time to shine on vocals, nailing his best John Fogerty impression as the band absolutely nailed “Have You Ever Seen The Rain?” While every other song got some impressive crowd participation, the crowd was especially there for this one.

Archer remained on vocals as the band unleashed a solid rendition of “Oh What A Night.” Tombasco’s synth work was a welcomed surprise, along with Bon Iver’s Archer’s on-point falsetto.

Next came another original called “In My Head” — streaming service debut pending. The crowd picked up on it quickly, singing along as Collins switched his fiddle for a guitar and proving that he can shred on both.

While not his best by any means, (I much prefer Van Morrison’s beautiful “Streets of Arklow” off Veedon Fleece) Lowjack did Van the Man’s uber-hit “Brown Eyed Girl” serious justice. Followed up with “Won’t Back Down” Davoli made sure to add some motivation, hearkening to the title.

“Just like you THON!” he said after the chorus.

More Petty followed with “American Girl” as Archer took over again.

“We hope we got you moving and grooving a bit,” said Davoli. “You’re doing an awesome thing, keep going.”

Davoli concluded things before the band finished things up with the ultimate duo by the Killers: “All These Things I’ve Done” and “Mr. Brightside.” Both gave the band a great note to end all, especially the latter, to which the entire BJC seemed to sing along.

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Since graduating from Penn State in 2021, Matt is (hopefully) manning a successful job and (hopefully) living a happy life by now. In a past life, he was a writer for Onward State and remains a proud alumnus of the best student publication in the country. Check out Podward State too, Onward State's official podcast, that he co-founded alongside Matt Ogden and Mitch Stewart in 2019. It's his baby, give it a wave and make sure it's doing okay. Thanks to da king Sam Brungo and everyone who follows, it most definitely is.

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