In the first annual Movin’ In concert, Go Go Gadjet will return to State College this Friday as the opening act for T-Pain.
Movin’ In will be the fall semester version of Penn State’s Movin’ On festival, though only two artists will be performing. The show is free for all students, and will begin at 8 p.m. on the HUB-Robeson Center lawn.
Jeff Tomrell is a Penn State alumnus and one of the founding members of the band. Though they’ve been together for about 14 years, business has never been better.
“It’s crazy that we went from playing for 17 people at Café 210 on a Wednesday, to flying to Miami to play major corporate events,” Tomrell said.
The group came together on April 2, 2005, once Chris Schwartz left his former cover band.
Their name, originally intended to be Go Go Gadget, had to be changed to include the “j” due to a copyright dispute with Disney, Tomrell said.
The first iteration of the band included Schwartz, Tomrell, and Mike Intelisano.
Since then, they’ve had 15 different members come and go. The band’s current line-up now includes the original three, as well as Rayvon Reed and Nate Myotte.
Things were slow at first, but State College ended up being the boon that helped the band grow into their current form.
“One of our first shows we were paid, like, a personal pan pizza and a case of beer,” Intelisano, drummer for the band, said. “So the first three years were definitely growing years.”
Though they performed at local bars such as The Saloon and the now-defunct Crowbar, their first piece of long-term business came from a benefit concert at Café 210. The benefit, which was held for a group of students whose house had burned down, went so well that the bar’s ownership offered a Wednesday night slot to the band.
That opportunity blossomed into regular performances in the area at Indigo, the Phyrst and others.
“Our Penn State presence over the years has been so important to our growth, and so fun for us as a band to constantly return and have this feeling of home,” Tomrell said.
They’ve garnered success on the club and wedding scene by creating lively renditions of major pop hits. While other cover bands chose to reinterpret rock classics, Go Go Gadjet realized the value of modern pop music as a tool to make people dance.
“The Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga both got popular when we were starting up, and most bands on our scene weren’t trying to cover that stuff,” Intelisano said. “We embraced that change and went for it.”
That leap paid off for the group, and their affection for grand pop renditions has positioned them as one of the most sought after cover bands in the area.
Tomrell may be the only Penn State graduate in the group, but they all have a reverence for the school and area as a whole.
Go Go Gadjet has closed out THON every year since 2010, and cherish any opportunity to return.
“I have a job to do when I’m there, and that is to help those kids power through to the end,” Tomrell said. “It’s stressful, but it’s important.”
Go Go Gadjet tend to play gigs on their own, but opening for T-Pain is a clear honor.
“We are definitely stoked for it,” Myotte, multi-instrumentalist for the band, said. “It’s awesome that we get to open up for a national artist like that.”