Friday, October 31, 2008

Hanson delivers a new sound with a good cause to VA

By Angelyn Thornton
photos by Amy Willard
It may have been a cold night outside but things were heating up at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA on October 28th. Braving the freezing winds, a line of excited fans wrapped around the side of the building with an hour still to go before the doors were set to open.
After much anticipation, the anxious crowd quickly filled the roomy venue. First on stage was Everybody Else, a 3-man band out of Los Angeles, who brought a simple and uncluttered brand of alternative pop-rock to the venue. With catchy songs and impressive dance moves (courtesy of the lead singer), the joy was contagious.
Despite having no prior familiarity with Everybody Else, Hanson fans gave into the urge to dance and sing along. These three guys interacted with the audience and seemed to be friendly, down-to-earth folks who one could easily spend a mellow Saturday night with. This band was just plain fun. No “ifs”, “ands” or “buts” about it. With more energy and enthusiasm than you could conceive to be possible on one stage, Everybody Else gave a great jumpstart to the night.
Next up was Dave Barnes, a singer/songwriter straight out of the Nashville scene. For this set, Barnes brought a light-hearted and laid-back mood to the theater. Accompanied by a drummer and a bassist, the trio delivered a set full of mellow rhythms worthy of the most delicate toe-tapping and head-bobbing. With album number four now under his belt, Barnes gave the crowd a generous mix of old and new songs.
Never being one to leave an audience un-entertained, he consistently kept the fans laughing with his goofy charm. Barnes and his bandmates also made sure to spread the word about an organization they are involved with called Mocha Club which, with $7 monthly donations from each supporter, provides communities in Africa with food, clean water and education. Check it out at
And finally came Hanson, the main act and the reason why the State Theater was packed with throngs of screaming fans. The boys of Hanson, whose faces were once plastered on every teen magazine in the supermarket, are all grown up and back with a new sound.
The trio of brothers took the stage to a theater brimming with loyal and die-hard fans both young and old. The very moment that the first of the Hanson men stepped on the stage, the sheer volume of the echoing screams was deafening. The boys’ set list included a mix of fan favorites from their previous records and from their most recent release, The Walk. About halfway through, Hanson switched it up with a changeover to an acoustic set.
The acoustic stylings were prefaced with a plug for The Walk Around The World, a campaign that the boys started to raise money to fight poverty and AIDS in Africa. During the day, Hanson hosts a barefoot walk around the town or city that they are performing in that night and donates $1 for every mile counted. The goal is to reach 24,902 miles, the distance around the world. You can learn more at or at

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dandy Warhols rock the District

By Angelyn Thornton
photo by Amy Willard

On a chilly Monday night, the six members of The Upside Down emerged on stage for the relatively modest-sized crowd at 9:30 Club on September 22nd. Armed with harmonicas, tambourines and all the usual trappings of a rock show, the sextet rocked the house with its smooth blend of voices and alternative folk tunes. Sounding like the rock-and-roll offspring of the B-52's, The Upside Down channels a more kitschy funk into their brand of rock. Even through minor technical problems and flying pieces of tambourine, the prevailed without even skipping a beat and delivered an energetic powerhouse performance.
With echoes of “Will to the stage, please...” and the inevitable good-spirited heckling of the crowd, Darker My Love entered the spotlight as the second act of the evening. Accompanied by a trippy video background, the 5-man band contributed a different style to the evening’s sounds. Throughout their set, the boys wove back and forth between psychedelic funk-rock and folksy indie punk. Jam sessions punctuated each song while unique sleighbell accents occasionally filled the space. With an abundance of charm and appeal at their disposal, Darker My Love quickly won the crowd over and undoubtedly gained some new fans in the process.
And finally the star players took to the stage. With their dedicated fan base on display, the crowd of both young and old(er) swelled to maximum capacity within the club as The Dandy Warhols took their turn. A vivid, yet sometimes over-the-top, light show complimented the simple, no-frills setup of the stage. The set was as much about the music as it was about the spectacle. The high-energy foursome continually spun catchy tune after catchy tune that kept the fans singing along. All in all, it was night of past and present. The die-hards relived their old favorites while a new wave of younger fans was formed.