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THE BAND LIGHT ‘Can’t Back Down’ Following THON 2023 Performance

In the early morning hours of day three of THON 2023, Nashville-based rock-and-roll boy band THE BAND LIGHT dazzled the Bryce Jordan Center with a 10-song set.

THE BAND LIGHT opened its performance with a cover of One Direction’s “Steal My Girl” to get the crowd energized for the final stretch of THON. The audience knew every word and took a break from the “Slides of Strength” to dance along to the cover.

Lead singer Konnor Dolberry introduced the tight-knit group following its opening song and emphasized how thrilled they are to play at THON. Then, the band moved into two originals, “Change My Mind” and “life on mars,” which rocked the BJC.

“Nobody can tell you what you cannot be,” Dolberry said to the audience in reference to the meaning behind THE BAND LIGHT’s next song. “Nobody can tell you what you are.”

The quartet moved into original “Lemonhead” and then “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, both of which resulted in excitement and energy from the early morning crowd. THE BAND LIGHT’s lead guitarist Garrett Goodrich played a guitar solo during the bridge of “9 to 5” that caught the attention of most, followed immediately by a “Kernkraft 400” serenade.

Dolberry introduced the next song, “staring at the moon,” which is about realizing you’re not over your ex and the band’s most popular song.

Dolberry and company quickly moved into three consecutive rock songs to close their set. The band performed “Honest” for the first time in front of an audience and received approval and support from those in attendance.

“I don’t think I’ve ever felt this much love in one room,” said Dolberry following “Honest.”

Dolberry dedicated the next song to his mom, and the band transitioned into “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi. The BJC clapped in harmony during the chorus and loved every minute of the cover.

The band’s final song “Crash My Car” is the group’s most recently single. It featured dramatic vocals and contributions from bassist Jack Glenn and drummer Trevor Young and was met by roars of applause from the crowd.

After wrapping up its set, the crew posed for group pictures and selfies. Then, following the show, THE BAND LIGHT sat down with Onward State to discuss its musical journey and the road to THON.

While guitarist Goodrich, bassist Glenn, and drummer Young grew up around music and playing instruments, lead singer Dolberry didn’t jump into the music scene until later in life.

“I didn’t really grow up with it until I got put in a theater class and started doing musical theater,” said Dolberry. “Then that’s how I was like ‘Oh, singing is kind of fun and I think I’m not terrible at it.’ So I started getting into it from there.”

Dolberry, Glenn, and Goodrich were all a part of their high school’s musical production of “Footloose” before it was canceled due to COVID-19. However, the three musicians decided to record the musical’s soundtrack at Dolberry’s house in order to receive some closure following the cancellation.

“It was a part of us almost,” Dolberry said. “We had to get it out creatively.”

The group recorded the soundtrack and realized the chemistry was something they hadn’t experienced in previous bands. They added Young to the trio as a drummer and the rest is history.

“The very first note I played with them [I knew it was special],” said Young. “There was just a spark.”

From there, the band played garages, ice cream parlors, and small venues leading up to THE BAND LIGHT’s first big gig at the Mockingbird Theater in Franklin, Tennessee. It was the group’s first show at a larger venue and ended up being a sold-out performance.

“That’s when I started to take it a little more seriously,” said Dolberry.

Throughout its existence, THE BAND LIGHT has released an album, EP, and six singles with more on the way. Now, after its biggest performance thus far at THON, the band is feeling grateful and excited for the future.

“I felt at home [on stage] to be honest,” said Dolberry of the band’s THON performance. “I felt more comfortable up there than I’ve ever felt in a show and I think it was just because of the amount of love in the room.”

Even though this was the group’s biggest venue performance to date, they were quick to acknowledge the important of the event rather than their personal achievement.

“We feel honored to play here, not just because of the arena, but for the cause and what it’s all doing,” said Young. “We love doing things that are bigger than us and mean more to everyone else than us. I think this is really the pinnacle of the philosophy that we carry with us.”

With musical inspirations like Blink-182’s Travis Barker, the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, Harry Styles, and Eddie Van Halen, THE BAND LIGHT covers a lot of ground musically and instrumentally in its hopes of someday tourings sold-out arenas.

“We’ll be the like the Rolling Stones and never break up,” said Goodrich.

In the meantime, the young crew is rolling out new music and will head back to the recording studio next month. But before heading out of State College for bigger and brighter things, THE BAND LIGHT is making a necessary stop at Penn State’s Berkey Creamery for a scoop of ice cream.

Folks can follow along with THE BAND LIGHT on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and everywhere music is streamed.

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About the Author

Keeley Lamm

Keeley is a junior journalism major from Richmond, Virginia, and is Onward State's managing editor. She also talks about awesome stuff on our podcast, Podward State. Keeley is a lover of grilled cheese and Kevin Jonas. If you'd like to share your thoughts on the superior Jonas Brother, feel free to contact her on Twitter @keeleylammm or send your best joke to her email [email protected].

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