Never mind the New Age-sounding name (no whale songs, bubbling brooks, whispering winds or haunting Celtic flutes here), the Dreamscapes Project is an acoustic rock outfit reminiscent of the Dave Matthews Band. Over the last five years, the band has built up one of the most loyal followings of any group on the local club circuit.
In 2002, the Dreamscapes Project took top honors among 190 local and regional acts at the first battle of the bands contest held by Springfield's Jaxx nightclub, with hundreds of the band's fans turning out. In 2004, the band pulled off a similar move during the Emergenza international music competition, elected by popular vote as the number one act in the region.
The similarities to the Dave Matthews Band go beyond similar types of acoustic rock. There's singer, guitarist and songwriter Keith Center's voice (which has a reedy tone similar to that of Matthews), and Dreamscapes' prominent use of a stringed instrument, with Ben Guy's cello standing in for Boyd Tinsley's violin in the Matthews Band.
Jeremy Rodgers's busy jazz-funk bass work only strengthens the comparison when you think about Dave Clark's punchy drumming.
But despite these similarities, the Dreamscapes Project is its own animal. Center can be a playful frontman and songwriter. When he embraces the sort of hip-hop, rock and folk fusion employed by artists such as Beck or the goofiness of They Might Be Giants, the band is just plain fun. And therein likely lies the secret of the Dreamscapes Project's popular appeal: When people go out, gosh darn it, they want to have a good time. The Dreamscapes Project is happy to supply that.
The band shares the stage on Saturday at Jammin' Java with Fairfax rockers Stillwell, who play a gentle, shimmery pop rock that can sound like a throwback to the early 1970s. Another notable performer Saturday at the club is singer-songwriter Toshi Reagon, who hits the stage at 7 p.m., but her set requires a separate ticket.
-- C. WOODROW IRVIN
Jammin' Java is at 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna. Tickets are $8 for the Dreamscapes Project and Stillwell, and $12 in advance or $15 at the door for Toshi Reagon. For tickets, Call 703-255-1566 or visithttp:/