Backbeat Underground, from left: RJ James, Gerald Pierce, Satya Thallam, Brad Booth, John Wedeles.
Photo by Hamilton Clark/Courtesy Backbeat Underground
“We want everyone to begin thinking of Tysons as a vibrant and far-ranging musical destination,” said Douglas C. Lovejoy, President, Virginia Chamber Orchestra Board of Trustees. Working together with 1st Stage, “we are always on the lookout for performers who will attract audiences to Tysons.
“Our partnership with 1st Stage goes back to the opening of the Silver Line in July, 2015. There are a number of dark stage evenings for 1st Stage that the VCO uses to bring music to Tysons,” said Lovejoy.
As for scheduling Backbeat Underground, “after listening to their music, it became obvious that this was an opportunity to introduce a unique sound at 1st Stage. Backbeat Underground will give us the opportunity to attract a unique segment of live music consumers in the area.”
Backbeat Underground’s musical genre is described this way by Satya Thallam, one of the group’s members: “We call it souljazz. It's informed by the deep funk tradition of DC, the idioms and structure of jazz, and pioneers of the neo-soul movement. Above all it's built on ‘groove.’ We like to say it glitters like steel wool!”
Backbeat Underground was formed in 2012. The group plays to crowds all over the DC area, from smaller, hidden-gem venues up to the well-known Union Stage, the Kennedy Center and Lincoln Theater.
All the Backbeat Underground members have been based in the DC area for years. The band is Satya Thallam (saxophone and percussion), Brad Booth (keyboards), RJ James (drums), Gerald Pierce (bass), and John Wedeles (guitar).
Pierce who attended McLean High School and The Langley School before that, credits the excellent music programs at both schools for contributing towards his lifelong passion.
The group regularly lays down tracks; either instrumental songs or tunes featuring a variety of guest vocalists. “The band delivers tight, energetic sets steeped in fresh improvisation and head-bopping, booty-shaking pockets,” said Thallam.
As for what to expect for the evening at 1st Stage; “expect sophisticated originals as well as a mix of classic soul and modern rock covers, filtered through the band's unique interpretations,” said Pierce.
“We hope people will come away thinking of funk and soul in a new way,” said Thallam. “We love the classics, and look to them for inspiration, but we hope audiences see them in a new, vibrant, vital light.”
As for drummer James, he was clear; “Expect a funky good time! Let’s have fun!”
Backbeat Underground presented by Virginia Chamber Orchestra at 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd, Tysons, Friday, March 15, 2019 at 8 p.m.
Where and When
Backbeat Underground presented by Virginia Chamber Orchestra at 1st Stage, 1524 Spring Hill Rd, Tysons. Performance: Friday, March 15, 2019 at 8 p.m. Tickets $25 at the door; Seniors and advance purchase $20; Students and military $15. For tickets go to www.vco.events/
Note: Meet the Backbeat Underground musicians in a champagne reception following the performance.