By Brian Ossip, DC Music Live
Arlington celebrated the 4th of July in style this year with an awesome performance from multi-platinum rock act The Verve Pipe.
Best known for their mega-hit “The Freshman” (you know it, trust me), The Verve Pipe took the stage around 7:30pm, surrounding by food trucks, kids running around playing games, and a crowd of a few hundred camped out on the lawn in front of the stage.
Although this veteran group has played countless shows over the years, this particular show had a special importance. “We play a 4th of July show almost every year,” said Brian Vander Ark, the group’s lead singer. “But there’s something special about playing in and near the Nation’s Capital.”
Mixing songs from their four studio albums, as well as their family album aptly titled A Family Album the sextet from East Lansing, MI had the crowd up and dancing from beginning to end.
Throughout the course of their hour-plus set, the band showed off not only its great songwriting ability, but also the extraordinary musicianship of its members, specifically lead guitarist Lou Musa and harmonica player Craig Griffith. Each took turns throughout a number of songs to shred a few gnarly solos.
One of the unexpected hits of the night was the track “Suppertime!” from A Family Album, a record that was recorded almost as a fluke. “Somebody asked us to do a song for a charity,” said Vander Ark. “A kids song. And we said, ‘Well, we can write a kids song.’ We hadn’t been in the studio for like eight years and we thought it would be fun.”
“Then, before we knew it we had done it nine more times, and we had this kids album that’s actually been really successful.”
The real highlight of the night came, of course, when the band started strumming the first few notes from “The Freshman.” As the band played the track that everyone wanted to hear, you could see around you the heads bopping and the mouths singing every word.
Despite the fact that it was released 17 years ago, the song sounds just as relevant and fresh as it did the day it was released (no pun intended.) And all of the years on the road and shows that the band has played together has just served to make the song that much more powerful.
For all who attended, it was a great night. A performance from a killer band, some awesome local food trucks, and, of course, the awesome fireworks show from the National Mall. A 4th of July to remember, for sure.
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