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Staff Picks: Our Favorite State College Bar Bands

Anyone who’s familiar with the State College bar scene knows that music can affect a night’s vibes in a big way. Luckily, there are plenty of local bands that make any night on the town all the more fun.

Naturally, our staffers had some strong opinions as they debated their favorite State College bar bands. Read below to learn more about a few of their picks:

Ryan Parsons: Lowjack

I love these guys! It’s always good to know which band is playing where as you get set to head out, and Lowjack is always one I want to locate. Their setlist is always a great mix between sitting down and just listening to the music and getting up and dancing after a few drinks. My favorite covers they do are “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” by Jack Johnson and “Friend of the Devil” by Grateful Dead, but they always mix it up. Fridays at the Brewery are hard to miss.

Mira DiBattiste: My Hero Zero

As a Champs fanatic, I seriously cannot get enough of My Hero Zero. Unfortunately, a viral TikTok cut their season with Champs short, but now they’re back at Doggie’s and Cafe each weekend for this semester. Their set is different every time I’ve seen them and each song gets everyone in the room singing at the top of their lungs — an experience guaranteed to give you a raspy voice the next morning.

Regardless of the venue, My Hero Zero gives me such serotonin every time I see them. Whether they’re singing Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, The Killers, or even Sweet Caroline, they’ve always got the crowd hyped up and ready to party all night long. I normally am not the type to close out the bar, but each time I see MHZ, I could sing with them all night long. Special shout out to the Blue Band and football tribute they do with Rock N Roll and Jason’s trumpet that seriously gets the crowd going (it’s provocative!).

All in all, the combination of sweet band members, amazing energy, and incredible setlists ensures that I’ll follow them no matter the venue. Whether it’s Champs, Doggie’s, or Cafe, My Hero Zero will always be my favorite band to party with.

Mackenzie Cullen: Donny Burns & The Third Degree

This semester, a few of my roommates and I have made it a weekly tradition to go to Cafe every Thursday — sometimes for the $5 pitchers, but mostly for Donny Burns & The Third Degree. While some people prefer a more energetic Thirsty Thursday at a bar like Champs or the Phyrst, it’s nice to have a chill night listening to live music.

Not only is lead singer Donny Burns an amazing performer, but Nick Stahlman is insane on the guitar. They perform a wide range of rock music from the Beatles to Pearl Jam to Matchbox Twenty, but they’ve been known to throw in a Taylor Swift cover in there a time or two.

Will Pegler: Anchor And Arrow

Matt Dashem and Jennifer Henry-Dashem are the most electric musical duo in State College. The two have RANGE, ladies and gentlemen, playing everything from Amy Winehouse to The Beatles. Their take on so many classics is so fun to listen and dance to while imbibing some lovely beverages. If you want to know what bar they’ll be rocking next, follow them on Instagram.


Do you have a favorite State College bar band? Let us know in the comments!

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.

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