FridaysUpdate: Opposites attract? Season closers bring back pop-rock
For a Fridays After Five season to start with a college-aged pop-rock group may speak to the popularity of the group. But for a Fridays After Five season to start and end with college-aged pop-rock groups can indicate that local bands may just be putting the "pop" back into popular music.
While the season began with Williamsburg expatriates Ultraviolet Ballet, who traverse the frat and Corner bar scene with their "vintage" '70s pop, it ends with two variations on the pop-rock sound– a diverse, blues-infused version from UVA grads Tim Be Told and brightly-colored '60s-era pop from In Technicolor.
For Tim Be Told, UVA's 2008 Battle of the Bands winner, life after graduation doesn't equal one void of learning. The quintet recently underwent a crash course in public relations, exploring the inner workings of the music industry while still maintaining their ties to UVA with their poppy, gospel/blues rock.
"We're still playing a lot of college events, but when you're a college band, there's not as much at stake," frontman Tim Ouyang says. "Now we're traveling a lot more and can devote all our time to it."
With ambitious regional tours across the country, both on campuses and in high-profile music hubs, and plans for an international jaunt in the works, the band continues to prove its worth outside UVA. Striking close relationships with other local up-and-comers, TBT– still only a few years old with its current lineup– plans to bring pop back into prominence with locals, without being lumped into a specific age demographic.
"I would say we bring a happy medium between the more pop stuff and the alternative indie stuff," Ouyang explains. "I see us bridging that stylistic gap."
Meanwhile, fellow rockers In Technicolor hope to garner more "indie" cred in order to reach a widespread public.
"We're not trying to be indie-serious, but more along the lines of the Rolling Stones, old rock and roll," says lead singer Drew Morris. "When I need an uplifter, I go to music, so I hope that's the way it translates when we play."
Fusing '60s pop with modern electronica and dance influences, IT began in early 2008 with a group of James Madison University graduates. The brainchild of frontman Morris, IT fostered an image attractive to the college demographic– buoyant, danceable beats combined with outgoing, brightly-garbed band members– yet hoping to utilize the UVA scene in conjunction with a more music-savvy, Downtown Mall traversing audience.
"It's pretty vital in Charlottesville to be integrated in the college scene," Morris says. "But half the battle is getting them to go downtown."
For both bands– IT being praised as the one up-and-coming pop-rock band to watch by the Washington Post– the prospect of years of hard work and dedication is no deterrence. Learning from the experiences of fellow rockers Parachute, IT and TBT plan to utilize the college scene to further their post-graduate rocker image.
And for sharing the stage for the final Fridays? According to the guys of TBT, splitting the stage with friends and brightly-hewed rockers IT will be an entertaining balance to the more intimate, brooding blues-pop they play. "Our music fits in with the summer theme of Fridays," IT's Morris agrees. "The colors are more representative of what music is to me– a happy thing."
"For me, there's a little bit of pressure to put on the best show that we can," TBT percussionist Jim Barredo says. "But it's interesting to note that how we dress speaks to our music– In Technicolor has bright colors, and we're usually black and grey."
Tim Be Told and In Technicolor close the Fridays After Five season on 9/11. The show starts at 5:30 pm, and admission is free.