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Rock bands like Fastball, Vertical Horizon, and The Legwarmers provided a strong start to summer in Northern Virginia.

Concert Review: The Music Scene in Northern Virginia – The 2017 Summer Concert Series and Celebrate Fairfax!

Photo of The LegwarmersBoth the 2017 Summer Concert Series and Celebrate Fairfax! were resounding successes earlier this month, featuring music, entertainment, and activities for people of all ages in the Northern Virginia area.

2017 Summer Concert Series

The Summer Concert Series at Tysons Corner Center kicked off in the Plaza on June 3 with one of the best 1980s cover bands around, The Legwarmers. Tommy McFly of The Tommy Show arrived onstage first with his 94.7 Fresh FM co-hosts Kelly Collis and Jen Richer for opening remarks. Collis and Richer surprised the beloved radio host with a cake for this birthday and led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday.” Folks in attendance received sunglasses for free if they ventured to the giveaways table at the Plaza.

The Legwarmers are longtime favorites for their high energy shows. Personally, I knew every 1980s track that they played and I saw many people singing along to all the hits. It wouldn’t have been a complete set list without “Jump!,” “Footloose,” and “Don’t Stop Believin’.” In addition to those tunes, The Legwarmers sang Hall & Oates’ “Maneater,” Mellencamp’s “Jack and Diane,” Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me with Your Best Shot,” and more. There were many noteworthy tracks, but I’d like to highlight their rendition of Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy.” The Legwarmers have shows slated for June, July, and September. The Summer Concert Series at Tysons Corner Center continues weekly with other popular acts until the big finale with LeAnn Rimes on July 28.

Photo of FastballCelebrate Fairfax!

One of the largest community festivals, Celebrate Fairfax!, was held June 9 through 11 in Fairfax, Virginia. At the back of the grounds, stages were set up for bands to perform all weekend. On Saturday evening, rock bands Fastball and Vertical Horizon performed on the Bud Light Main Stage. Both bands are touring with Everclear until July 1. Miles Zuniga, Tony Scalzo, and Joey Shuffield of Fastball took the stage first. Active for nearly 20 years since Fastball formed, these musicians proved that they’re still in their element with old tracks such as “Out of My Head,” “You’re an Ocean,” and “The Way.”

They also played new songs from their latest album, Step Into the Light, which was released in May. Tunes such as “We’re on Our Way” and “I Will Never Let You Down” are worth a listen whether you get the new album or see Fastball on their current tour. The audience cheered when the band played “Andrea,” a catchy song where the protagonist is nervous about a class reunion – it hasn’t even been released yet. It would be great to see “Andrea” as a single or on another Fastball album in the future.

Vertical Horizon followed as the next act at the Main Stage with band members Matt Scannell, Donovan White, Jeffrey Jarvis, and Ron LaVella. Like Fastball, Vertical Horizon became popular towards the end of the 1990s. Their last album, Echoes from the Underground, was released in 2013. In their evening set, the band performed songs such as “I’m Still Here,” “The Best I Ever Had,” and the 1999 hit “Everything You Want.” Scannell played a silver guitar that glittered whenever the sunlight hit it, which made for a nice visual on the stage. He introduced a new track called “I’m Gonna Save You,” which is due out later this year on Vertical Horizon’s next album.

In addition to the music stages, Celebrate Fairfax! consisted of popular activities like the Donut Eating Contest, Team Trivia, and Silent Disco. Community-themed booths served as an excellent means of showcasing the best and perhaps some little known aspects of the Northern Virginia area. A large section of the grounds was used as an amusement park with rides and games. Be sure to look out for Celebrate Fairfax! next June so you can try out the Donut Eating Contest or other events with family and friends.

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros earned a B.A. in Art History on a full scholarship at the University of Virginia. Pat is a frequent reviewer of all things Washington, D.C., but she's also covered events in Canada and London. Highlights in her work include articles on Ian McKellen and Mark Rylance, as well as memorable interviews with Lawrence Gowan of Styx, Tony Bennett, and Kiefer Sutherland. At Awesome Con 2017, Pat moderated a Q&A for voice actors Sean Schemmel and Christopher Sabat.

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