BY STEPHANIE BREIJO
It didn’t seem even slightly out of place to hold a conversation with someone, let alone a dozen people, holding a cupcake Saturday night, be they age 15 or 50. There were hundreds of local concertgoers at the 3rd floor of 810 Caroline St., coming together as a vibrant, excited, music-loving crowd. The Fredericksburg All Ages shows have that effect on the community.
So what was with the hundreds of homemade cupcakes? They were there along with bands Travis Morrison Hellfighters, Statehood, Le Loup and Rocky’s Revival to celebrate a birthday – the Fredericksburg All Ages (FAA) shows just turned one.
That night, the brick sidewalk downstairs was littered with teens clumping together in the yellow lamplight. The white Christmas lights were draping over the stage in the FAA art studio/venue and concertgoers were perched on the mismatched vintage furniture around the room, waiting for the bands to start. There was a slideshow playing against a wall with pictures of bands from previous FAA shows, a raffle for a guitar and a painting that was created and worked on throughout the night by Gabe Pons, a local artist.
“All of the proceeds are going to keeping the place going, keeping the bands running. The proceeds go to sustain the costs, mainly rent,” said FAA visionary and musician Adam Bray. “The shows have been getting bigger and bigger, so this space actually is great for shows now. We’ve never had less than 75 to 80 people at a show.”
Giant Productions’ presence was also felt, as members manned the concession stations and took tickets. Their advertising seemed to pay off, as over 50 UMW students had shown up by the end of the night.
The first band to take the stage was Rocky’s Revival, a local trio of high school students who know the meaning of rocking out and looking cool. The crowd cheered especially loud for these young musicians, knowing the Fredericksburg music scene as well as the grade-A performance they would be getting from the FAA frequenters.
Next up was Statehood, a D.C. band with two members from the dance-punk band Dismemberment Plan. Statehood rocked hard and loud, and it was during this set that the floor in front of the stage became crowded and the air became heavy with the familiar warmth of too many bodies.
Then came Le Loup, the seven-person indie-experimental group from Montreal, Canada. With fun, alternative instruments like a banjo and a children’s retro voice/karaoke recorder these seven all but brought the house down. As Travis Morrison Hellfighters took the stage, a middle-aged couple beside me began nodding and bobbing along to their jazzy, catchy performance.
“Most of the shows around here are 21 and over like down at the Loft, so we can’t really play there or see shows,” said Rocky’s Revival front man Luca Terziotti. “Here, it’s great – you pay five bucks and get to see big bands. We’ve gotten to play with some of them and that’s been really cool. Every once in a while there’s a free cupcake too, like there was today. Those are always good.”
Between helping out local bands and exposing a younger Fredericksburg crowd to accessible live shows, FAA is striving for more, despite its already hectic booking and events schedule.
“Coming up in the next year, we’re going to try to incorporate art shows and concerts and also have them be thematic, where they focus on social issues,” said Bray. “One month we could focus on slavery in Sudan and one month we could focus on global warming. The students would have that as inspiration for the art and then the shows would be a benefit that would raise money for a nonprofit that’s working on that issue. We could do things for the Fredericksburg area food bank, like a benefit for them. That kind of combines all our interests like art as a vehicle to make the world and society better.”
To check out local music and hear about upcoming FAA shows, check out Fredericksburg All Age’s Myspace at www.myspace.com/fredericksburgallages.