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New York-based Antigone Rising comprises Cathy Henderson, Cassidy, Dena Tauriello, Jen Zielenbach and Kristen Henderson.
New York-based Antigone Rising comprises Cathy Henderson, Cassidy, Dena Tauriello, Jen Zielenbach and Kristen Henderson. (Atlantic Records)

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Here's a group that's opened for the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith and appeared on a VH1 concert special, along with Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction and Macy Gray, to honor the Doors alongside surviving band members. Add to that a two-page fashion magazine spread and a TV spot modeling Seven7 jeans and a month on Rolling Stone magazine's 2006 calendar. So why do the five foxy powerhouses of Antigone Rising continue to fly under the commercial radar?

Perhaps it's because some classic rock fans still find it intimidating when the so-called "weaker sex" (ha!) kicks out the jams without the help of studio pros, backing tapes or behind-the-curtain male Svengalis. Or maybe it's because the band's debut CD, "From the Ground Up," was distributed through an exclusive deal with Starbucks, leading people to assume that the band was attuned to a mellow coffeehouse vibe.

Whatever the confusion, Antigone Rising doesn't sit around moaning about it. Since 1999, the band has been on the road (they're about to retire Vanna White, their trusty road vehicle) winning fans over with a ferocious live set. Even before signing with Lava Records (a subsidiary of Atlantic Records) for its debut CD, the band earned rave reviews, including at the 2004 SXSW music conference, an industry event that's sort of a musical Sundance. That's when Rolling Stone critic David Fricke wrote: "These five women turned in the killer Big Rock show of the festival, with Lynyrd Skynyrd-army guitars, the country-gospel harmonies of a biker Dixie Chicks and a Janis Joplin-esque vocal dynamo named Cassidy."

Besides lead singer Cassidy, who goes by only one name, Antigone Rising consists of sisters Cathy and Kristen Henderson on guitars, drummer Dena Tauriello and bassist Jen Zielenbach.

Along with "From the Ground Up" and "Don't Look Back" (2004) on Lava Records, the band's recorded work includes a self-released live album, "Antigone Rising's Traveling Circus." That's the CD that Aerosmith's Steven Tyler heard, and, when scheduled opener Cheap Trick couldn't make a show at the PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey, his superstar band gave Antigone Rising a call to fill in. Cassidy even got to join the band on stage for a version of "Walk This Way." By most measures, that's real rock-and-roll success.

Opening the show is Michelle Malone, a Southern-born rocker whose Americana sound has elicited comparisons to Lucinda Williams, Shelby Lynne and Keith Richards.

-- MARIANNE MEYER

The State Theatre is at 220 N. Washington St. Doors open at 7 p.m. There will be a full bar and food. Tickets are $15, available through Ticketmaster and in person at the box office (noon-5 p.m. weekdays; noon-11 p.m. show days). For information, call 703-237-0300 or visithttp://www.thestatetheatre.com.


© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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