Final exams ended yesterday at George Mason University, and it's a safe bet that more than a few students will be looking to blow off steam this weekend. T.T. Reynolds makes a fair case for them (and anyone looking for a healthy alt-rock fix) to stick close to campus by offering three hot local rock bands tomorrow night for just $5.
Members of Full Minute of Mercury, who live around the Metro area, describe their music as Iron Maiden-influenced girl-pop with hair-metal flourishes and synth-punk roots. Don't try too hard to wrap your mind around that; what it means is that the band is big on frantic riffs, driving rhythms and intricate interplay between its twin harmony guitars. Add a bubble gum punk approach to the vocal melodies and on paper it might seem like a bit much, but the gestalt works well in a beautiful train wreck sort of way.
Waldorf's Minus-One lists many of the big names from the past 15 years of alternative rock among its idols, including Nirvana, Weezer and Blink-182. Those influences are evident in the sound, but Minus-One manages to avoid coming off as derivative. Heavy, energetic and melodic, with hooks aplenty, the group takes the best sounds of its forbears and uses real-deal songcraft to make a noise that is all its own. The band was a runner-up in D.C. 101's recent "Last Band Standing" competition.
For those who like their rock just slightly funkier, there's Fistful of Fifties from Fairfax. Obvious influences on some of their songs are the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sublime, but the group's old-school alternative roots and an affection for stoner rock are lurking just under the surface in much of its music.
-- C. WOODROW IRVIN
T.T. Reynolds is at 10414 Main St., Fairfax City. For more information, call 703-591-9292 or visithttp:/