Welcome Break: Local stars glitter at party

A pair of free tickets is enough to get me to go almost anywhere– including, but not limited to, rock shows, peep shows, sorority mixers, musicals, and demolition derbies.

And if the tickets in question are for the performance of a local group I've not yet seen, there's more than a fairly good chance getting something for nothing is the kick I need to come down from my mountain home for one of my oh-so-rare town appearances. As a pair of tickets to the rock evening of the Station Break II CD release party appeared like magic in my mailbox last week (thanks, Leah!), there was almost no question about what I was going to do Saturday night.

The show, one of the few ever held in the Corner Plan 9's "Outer Space," started with the indie-rock group All of Fifteen. The group has the standard guitar-bass-drums layout, and for at least the first few songs, played pretty standard pop/punk; to quote my accomplice for the evening, the group sounded like "an edgier Jimmy Eat World."

About four songs in, though, the group broke out of the same-old-same-old mold with a clever and well-written pop nugget, the first of many. Everything the group had thrown out up to this point-­ doubled vocals on the choruses, drummer harmonies, big guitars and even bigger drums– seemed to coalesce for the first time on this track, with the rapid-fire lyrical delivery on the song's verses only sealing the deal.

Next up was the rock group Small Town Workers, who played a number of tracks from their soon-to-be-released second CD. If you've never seen the group before, I would describe them as vaguely Stone Temple Pilots-ish, but of course that doesn't really give credit to the group's sound, which wears its devotion to '70s rock on its sleeve.

Mixing big rock with a healthy slice of Charlottesville's favorite genre roots– the group has a distinctly southern feel, without dipping much into the alt-country genre. The twin guitar barrage of Mike Meadows and Devin Malone was more than just loud-­ the two worked well together, playing parts that complemented each other as much as copied.

The local brainy hip-hop group Beetnix was on next, the brainchild of Hook music reviewer Damani Harrison and multi-instrumentalist Jon Dzermejko. This is one group in town I can say could unequivocally make it– without having to change a thing about their sound.

Their set started out with Harrison's cry to the soundman ­ "My only request is that the bass be bumping and shit," before breaking into the double-vocal rapping that sets the Beetnix apart from a lot of other hip-hop groups. Tracks like "2000 n 10" and "Brainwashed Syndrome" off the group's latest album Homesick (go to beetnix.com for more info) were on display, but the group's whole set was pretty much the best of the shows I've seen in Charlottesville in the last few months.

To sum the evening up: Net Cost: $0.00 Net Gain: Some well earned tinnitus.