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Sara James And The Hess Brothers Bring Rock Hits To BJC At THON 2023

Sara James and the Hess Brothers helped to maintain the good vibes in the Bryce Jordan Center with some rock classics on Sunday as THON 2023 rumbled toward Final Four.

The five-piece band met each other when they were students at the School of Rock in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. The band, which previously performed at THON in 2016, is familiar with charities for good causes; it also runs the Sara James Music Foundation, a non-profit that raises money for kids’ music lessons.

The band kicked off its set with a college classic, Grouplove’s “Tongue Tied,” and then transitioned into a groovy rendition of Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out of Heaven.” The group followed up with Fall Out Boy’s 2005 breakout single, “Sugar, We’re Goin Down.” 

Sara James then informed the audience that it “Might know this one from TikTok,” leading into Thundercat’s “Them Changes.” 

James brought in one of her guitarists, Jon Hess, for a duet of Harry Styles’ “As It Was.” The band dove headfirst into a rousing cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” punctuated by a synthesizer and a guitar solo. 

James’ synth player then stole the show, whipping out a talk box for “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” to emulate Daft Punk’s robotic aesthetic. Hess then took the lead, prompting the audience to sing along to the chorus of Foo Fighters’ “My Hero.”

The band’s grand finale was, perhaps predictably, “Mr. Brightside,” in another example of THON’s famous continuity. 

Hess closed out by wishing the audience well, instructing them to “Have a great…time.” 

If you’re interested in hearing more from Sara James and the Hess Brothers, visit the band’s Youtube.

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About the Author

Adam Babetski

Adam Babetski is a senior double majoring in broadcast journalism and medieval history and is one of Onward State's associate editors. He's from the only part of Virginia without tractors and southern accents, except Richmond (reportedly). You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBabetski for hot takes about sports. For serious inquiries, email [email protected].

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