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Your Official THON 2020 Cover Band Power Rankings

Whether you were at THON 2020 for 20 minutes or 46 hours, you know just how exciting it is to see a phenomenal cover band take the Bryce Jordan Center stage and hype up thousands of Penn Staters.

Unfortunately, not all cover bands are created equally. Some are hand-picked to perform at 3 a.m. in front of a smaller, quieter crowd, while others get primetime limelight during the Final Four.

We took it upon ourselves to rank the top five out of the many, many cover bands that graced the BJC stage throughout THON Weekend.

5. Lowjack

Man, did Lowjack knock it out of the park when it comes to hyping up a tired, worn-out crowd.

The group took the stage at around 3 a.m. Saturday morning and featured a full lineup of instruments including fiddles, keyboards, drums, and bass. Lowjack kicked off its performance with a rousing rendition of Dropkick Murphys’ “Shipping Up To Boston” before moving into “Seven Nation Army.”

I give Lowjack extra points for nailing its own unique version of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” which instantly became a crowd favorite. Wrapping up with a one-two punch of Killers hits — “All These Things I’ve Done” and “Mr. Brightside” — isn’t too shabby, either.

4. SouthPaw

Okay, folks. As a big pop-punk guy, I really feel like SouthPaw really won my heart over this time around.

The group performed its own solo set after leading the first-ever “THON Idol” Saturday evening, and played a rockin’ set of tracks including seminal punk hits and indie jams from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hoobastank, Weezer, and more.

SouthPaw’s set wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but the group had such fantastic and contagious energy that it was tough to not dance along or tap your feet at the very least. I’ll certainly be traveling to the Phryst to catch them lead karaoke once I’m 21 this summer.

3. The Brass Cadillacs

The Brass Cadillacs closed out Saturday morning’s acts with an energetic, eclectic set of every genre under the sun. The group featured numerous horn players, including folks on saxes, trombones, and trumpets, to add some extra flavor to its arrangements.

The group nailed Neon Trees’ “Everybody Talks,” Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ “Come On Eileen,” and a-Ha’s “Take On Me” before transitioning into a flurry of Disney hits. The Brass Cadillacs took fans “Under The Sea” and into the savannah with hits from “The Lion King.”

I’d give the band a buttload of style points, too. Its lead singer rocked a tutu while many instrumentalists served up looks in bandanas and neon socks.

2. My Hero Zero

Local bar band My Hero Zero made its 10th straight THON appearance Sunday afternoon and began by jamming to Black Eyed Peas hit and seminal party anthem “Let’s Get It Started.”

The group then transitioned to Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love,” which saw frontman Jason O. pull out a trumpet. This was but one of several instruments the leading man would rock throughout the set.

My Hero Zero even busted out the Jonas Brothers’ “Year 3000” and High School Musical’s “Breakin’ Free” to win the hearts of every Disney Channel stan in the house.

The group ended its performance with a Beatles-themed medley featuring John Lennon’s “Imagine” and “Hey Jude,” the latter of which united the BJC for a countless number of “na-na-na-naaaaaas!

1. Go Go Gadjet

Everyone appreciates a phenomenal comeback. Just like Gandalf’s return as Gandalf The White in The Two Towers or Michael Jordan’s return (and second return!) to the NBA, Go Go Gadjet arrived at THON for the first time since 2018 this weekend after taking a year off.

After knocking a bit of rust off with some technical difficulties, the Gadjet boys rocked Van Halen’s “Jump” to really set the tone for a fun finale to THON 2020. The band also jammed to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” and Penn State favorite “Zombie Nation.”

To close out THON 2020’s final music act, Go Go Gadjet played a creative two-song mashup of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” and Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” The band never missed a beat, though, and took the final moments of THON to the next level with an otherworldly amount of hype and energy.

I’m thrilled Go Go Gadjet returned to the BJC this time around, and I look forward to yet another rocking finale at THON 2021.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State with distinction in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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