Late night downtown State College is a realm buzzing with sound. It is not uncommon to hear the subtle slap of a snare drum or the muffled decibels of a singing voice as you walk down the back allies and sidewalks. It so happens that behind the crusty doors and down the dark staircases, masterful music is being made.
Every Sunday night at 8 p.m. at The Darkhorse Tavern , musicians gather to take part in a blues jam. This open-mic style event is run by a man named John Thompson , better known as JT by his peers. Thompson is the keyboard player and vocalist of the band that begins every Sunday night called “The Triple A Blues Band ”. As the night goes on, different musicians sign up and jump on stage to play either with the band,
“I have a sign up sheet. When you come in you sign in, first come first serve,” said Thompson. Several guitarists, drummers, bassists, singers and even a flutist occupied The Darkhorse. The crowd ranged in age as grey beards mixed in with young faces, all chatting and smiling.
“A lot of open-mics, they’re not band situations. No drums or anything like that,” said Thompson. “We’ve got the whole gimmick.”
The stage consisted of space for amps, two keyboards, several microphones and a drum set. Thompson said that the weekly event usually attracts a lot of drummers because of most students’ lack of space for a drum kit in their dorm.
“A lot of students here, they’re from out of town and they don’t have their drums with them so they want to come in and play,” said Thompson.
Among the crowd was a group of musicians that had all come the event alone to jam with others when the event started last year. After playing with each other for several weeks, the four guys decided to start a band. The band consists of students Alex Roll , Nick Agostini and Matt Nestor, a Collegian staff writer, as well as guitarist and local Jon Walsh .
“We decided to get a few songs down and come back to it,” said Nick Agostini, a guitarist and singer in the four-piece band. “I mean if we keep practicing, I think we can get something.”
The group plans on getting gigs in State College in the near future said Agostini (senior – supply chain management). The band, which is temporarily unnamed, is a product of the music jam at the Darkhorse.
“These guys here, they’ve gotten together here. They met here. That’s really cool,” said Thompson. “That’s what this thing’s about.”