Clare Quilty wraps tens year o’ tunes

What was once one of Charlottesville's hot up-and-coming bands, Clare Quilty, says it's playing its final show tomorrow night at Starr Hill Music Hall. Signed to the D.C.-based Dcide indie record label and touring occasionally, the band members in recent years have settled down to day jobs. Most notably, perhaps, in the day-job scene is former communist Mike Rodi. A man sporting distinctively sharp sideburns, Rodi has long managed Rapture restaurant and its new sister establishment, the R2 nightclub on the Downtown Mall, the latter of which Rodi envisioned and executed. The band changed its sound in recent years from pop to electronic, but the farewell concert is supposed to feature a mix of the morphing musicians. The show is Saturday, February 18th. Doors at 8:00, tickets $7.00.

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Dear Fans and Friends of Clare Quilty,
After ten years, Clare Quilty has decided to hang up our collective hat and rocketh no more. Below is a press release for the break up of the band along with information for our farewell show.
Thank you all for your support and appreciation of the music we have created.
In rock, in roll, in electronic bliss,
Jenn, Mike, Chris, J and Juliet

Clare Quilty says Farewell
WHAT: Clare Quiltys final show
WHAT ELSE: The Somethingeth Annual Aquarian Party.
WHEN: Saturday, February 18th, 2006. Doors at 8:00, tickets $7.00.
WHERE: Starr Hill Music Hall.
WHY: To say goodbye, to rock one more time, to celebrate.

At the end of the summer of 2005, Clare Quilty, who had been touring briefly in support of their third full-length album, Face the Strange, decided, with very little public noise or notice, to end the bands decade-long career. However, when they played their last show at Alley Katz in Richmond, VA, they had no idea they were playing their last show together. (This is akin to eating the last pistachio when you believe there are more). Not content with going out with a wimper, Clare Quilty has decided to bring their brand of indie rock cum electro pop to the stage once more. And what better time to do it than at the Somethingeth Annual Aquarian Party? The event, which has been going since the Trax days, seemed like the perfect opportunity to not only celebrate band members birthdays (really only two members, but the other members are good sports), friends birthdays (they seem to cluster around mid-February), but also to say goodbye to each other as live bandmates, and rock once more with their friends, family, and fans.

Clare Quilty first came of age as college radio somebodies when, soon after Jenn (Rhubright, vocals) joined the band, they were signed to DC indie label DCide and recorded Suga-Lik, which showcased the bands signature combination of aggressive guitar pop and catchy melodies delivered by Rhubrights lilting voice. After charting on CMJ and touring briefly in the summer of 98, they returned to the studio to work on the more polished, harder-rocking Strong, where Jenns seasoned vocals shone brightly enough to merit the admiring press reviews that seemed to pour in. Another marks of the bands maturity were bassist Chris Ruotolos highly musical sensibilities, as well as her perfectly blended harmonies.

Having confidently defined their own brand of sexy, hard-rocking, and catchy pop, Clare Quilty surprised fans (at least those who hadnt caught one of their somewhat less frequent live shows in the interim) with their third release, Face the Strange, which, as the Bowie reference in the title suggest, marked some significant changes in the bands sound. Gone were the edgy, distorted guitars and layers of feedback of their earlier efforts. Gone too were the monster drums and echoes of post-punk. Instead, the album unabashedly embraced drum machines and sampled loops, downtempo hip hop beats and moody vintage sounds. With greater songwriting collaboration between Rhubright and Rodi, the songs more easily showcased the formers range of performance and nuanced stylings. And one no longer had to look deeply to find the dark undertones that critics had discovered lurking under the sweetly seductive melodies of Strongthey were upfront and center in their moody, sensual, and largely downtempo glory.

Having re-invented themselves as an electronic band, though, meant joining forces with an array of DJs, and several tracks off the record found themselves remixed and spinning in clubs nationwide, with Modas Fear Nothing remix of Tremble finding itself on the turntables of the likes of Paul Oakenfold and climbing the Billboard dance charts. The Dex Dubious remix of Breathe even found itself, to the bands amusement, on the DVD soundtrack of Dawsons Creek. Thus Face the Strange was released as a 2-disk set, with the second disk containing nothing but remixes. Live, the band blended the downtempo grooves of the album with the dancier house beats of the remixes to keep the show lively and rocking; drummer J Amburgey used triggers and loops to help drive the newly electronic sound, and Juliet Trail, who joined the band in 2003, added another voice to Chris and Jenns lush harmonies, as well as synthesizers to round out the sound.

The bands decision to end their long association did not come easily; but in the spirit that has underpinned all of the bands effortsto ultimately keep the band something fun and fulfilling for themselves motivates this final show as well. No longer touring in support of anything, the band will cull from both its electronic stage show as well has from its harder hitting rock albums. So come out, laugh, cry, and say farewell to friends in rock.

the band