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Posted at 1:17 PM ET, 04/10/2007

Six Points Music Festival Tip Sheet

By David Malitz

In its fourth year, the Six Points Music Festival seems to be finding its identity. Past editions have felt thrown together and lacking in any real focus; there was little to distinguish the festival from any other weekend of shows in the D.C. area. But the 2007 version has a more unified feel, thanks to the addition of a number of out-of-town bands and an emphasis on some of the area's up-and-coming alt-rock/power-pop bands. Like the more national-band-oriented DAM! Festival, which had its inaugural edition last fall, Six Points still hasn't been able to get the area's biggest venues -- namely the 9:30 club and Black Cat -- to play along, but the festival will be represented with shows at the Red & the Black, DC9, HR-57, the Rock and Roll Hotel, the Mansion at Strathmore, Iota, Velvet Lounge and the new RNR Bar & Lounge. A complete lineup can be found at the festival's Web site, but if you are looking for some quick tips on bands worth checking out, consider the following to be your cheat sheet. (Note: The first link, on the band's name, will take you to their MySpace page where you can sample some tunes; the second link, on the venue/date, will take you to the City Guide profile for that show.)

The Singles, (The Red & the Black, April 12)
The trio hails from Detroit but favors a Big Star/Flamin' Groovies retro-pop sound instead of the garage rock attack that its hometown is best known for.

The Hall Monitors, (RNR Bar and Lounge, April 13)
No-frills garage rock done just right. Click the link above to hear songs like "Be Your Man," "Girls" and "Cry," the titles of which fit the band's mission -- timeless themes for a timeless sound.

Bellman Barker, (The Red & the Black, April 14)
Maybe it's just the common first syllable of the band name, but this local group's output reminds me of the recent work by Scots Belle & Sebastian with a breezy pop sound heavy on the keys.

The Hard Tomorrows, (The Red & the Black, April 14)
The debut album "Lights Out" proved that this quintet is one of the most tuneful bands in the area, the type that could make a splash nationally with a bit of luck.

Gist, (RNR Bar and Lounge, April 14)
This trio pays homage to the angular Dischord sound while adding its own post-punk and big rock flourishes.

The Alphabetical Order, (RNR Bar and Lounge, April 14)
The local quartet plays riffy, '90s throwback alt-rock and does it well. It's also one of the few bands in the area to feature three singers-songwriters.

Tom Principato, (The Mansion at Strathmore, April 15)
The veteran roots/blues guitarist has been a fixture on the local scene since long before many members of these other bands were even born. His six-string skills are always a pleasure to behold.

The Glory and the Majesty, (DC9, April 19)
Refreshingly straightforward power pop full of sunny harmonies and jangly guitars.

Middle Distance Runner, (Iota, April 20)
The extremely good natured and catchy local alt-rock quintet has become one of the most popular bands in the area over the past year, headlining gigs at the 9:30 club, Black Cat and Rock and Roll Hotel. This show at Iota may be the last time the group plays a venue so small in the D.C. area.

These United States, (Iota, April 20)
Folk troubadour Jesse Elliott is as ubiquitous on the local indie scene as Chuck Taylor All-Stars. He'll have a full band in tow for this performance opening for MDR.

The Dance Party, (Rock and Roll Hotel, April 20)
A catchy pop-punk sound + high-energy, over-the-top live performances = a band that's gaining new fans by the bushel every time it plays.

Justin Jones & the Driving Rain, (Velvet Lounge, April 20)
This local singer-songwriter can do the serious folkie thing when he's alone on acoustic guitar and he can deliver rollicking country-rock when he teams with his backing band.

Sean McArdle, (Velvet Lounge, April 20)
Sometimes the acoustic folkie is so quiet that it's easy to let his songs fade into the background, but there are enough nuances in his playing, voice and lyrics to make you pay attention.

Mike Holden, (Iota, April 21)
The festival founder is one of the biggest champions of the local music scene and an accomplished roots rock singer-songwriter in his own right.

Two If By Sea, (DC9, April 21)
This Baltimore band does the moody post-punk thing, but it can also rev up for some big arena rock choruses that recall the Killers.

The Roosevelt, (DC9, April 21)
These guys are office favorites, playing clean, crisp pop with warm vocals and the slightest hint of twang.

Bridges and Powerlines, (DC9, April 21)
The New Yorkers could be the best example of this year's "Six Points sound," with energetic, sharp, accessible indie rock songs.

The Brindley Brothers, (The Red & the Black, April 21)
Like the festival itself, the brothers have incorporated some more power-pop elements into their roots rock sound as of late, which makes for easier and more enjoyable listening.

Pash, (The Red & the Black, April 21)
The Fredericksburg, Va., band brings to mind Throwing Muses and Tsunami with its aggressive and pretty brand of indie rock.

Red Collar, (Velvet Lounge, April 21)
In a small bit of irony, this five-piece from Durham, N.C., is the Six Points band with the most classic D.C. indie sound, with jagged guitars and shouted vocals that recall Fugazi and Jawbox.

By David Malitz  | April 10, 2007; 1:17 PM ET
Categories:  Music  
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Seriously? No mention of Black Tie Revue. They rocked the house at IOTA. Shame on you. Shame.

Posted by: MM | April 24, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

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