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Photo of Gin Blossoms vocalist Robin Wilson and guitarist Scott Johnson at Celebrate Fairfax!
Gin Blossoms vocalist Robin Wilson and guitarist Scott Johnson at Celebrate Fairfax! (Credit: Pat Cuadros)

Music Review: Gin Blossoms at Celebrate Fairfax! Festival 2018

On June 8-10, Northern Virginia residents converged upon the streets of the Government Center Parkway for the 37th Annual Celebrate Fairfax! Festival. The grounds contained local community booths with freebies, delicious food (especially the Thai chicken skewers!), and a number of contests that were all family-friendly. The donut-eating and karaoke contests have always been always popular.

Of the summer festivals held in the Northern Virginia counties, the Fairfax is my favorite by far. The music scene is the best, not only with the high caliber of the local acts, but because some of the biggest names in music have played here. In previous years, Pat Benatar, the Bangles, and the B-52s have performed on the Main Stage. This year was no exception, with a weekend featuring headliners Good Charlotte, Gin Blossoms, Sugar Ray, and Cracker.

The American rock band Gin Blossoms played to a huge crowd in Fairfax on June 9. They are currently on tour in the U.S. promoting their latest album, Mixed Reality, which came out on June 15. The evening’s setlist included a number of tracks from Mixed Reality: “Wonder,” “Here Again,” “Break,” “Angels Fly,” and “Still Some Room in Heaven.” Of the new tracks, I liked “Here Again” and “Wonder” best. Most of the new tunes fit in nicely with the older songs they also played, like “Found Out About You,” “Hold Me Down,” and “Allison Road.”

Lead singer Robin Wilson still has the same rich, memorable voice. In addition to lead vocals, he played the guitar and the tambourine throughout the set. Alongside him, there was Scott Hessel on drums, Bill Leen on bass, and Scott Johnson and Jesse Valenzuela on guitars. Wilson had high praise for Sugar Ray, who were slated to follow Gin Blossoms that evening. “They’re our friends in the world of rock and roll,” Wilson announced to the crowd.

Unfortunately, the weather was a little rocky with the threat of rain and lightning looming nearby. It eventually led to an early wrap-up of the Gin Blossoms concert and a lengthy delay before Sugar Ray’s appearance on the Main Stage.

Be sure to keep an eye out for next year’s Celebrate Fairfax! Festival.

About Pat Cuadros

Pat Cuadros is Pop Culture Editor for Blogcritics Magazine. She frequently covers TV, film and theater. Her portfolio includes interviews with Ndaba Mandela and actors Juliette Binoche, Fran Drescher, Derek Jacobi and Brent Spiner. She's also spoken with notable voice actors Petrea Burchard, Garry Chalk, Peter Cullen and Brian Drummond.

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