Live!

Rocknoceros, right, and Little Big Town, below, will perform this weekend.
Rocknoceros, right, and Little Big Town, below, will perform this weekend.
Thursday, June 7, 2007

Celebrate Fairfax! expects to attract tens of thousands of visitors to its 26th annual event, a weekend filled with funnel cakes and fireworks, corn dogs and carnival rides, tech toys and family-friendly activities.

It's a special delight for music fans, with a handful of stages offering dozens of performances, including nationally known hitmakers and some of the region's best musicians along with a variety of ethnic performances.

There's a handy online guide at http://www.celebratefairfax.com for the three-day music marathon -- 80 acts on six stages -- but here are a few personal picks, starting with the Main Stage, which hosts the acts with the most name recognition.

Tomorrow night's Main Stage feature, at 8 p.m., is Live, whose mid-1990s album, "Throwing Copper," sold more than 12 million copies worldwide, fueled by the muscular hits "Lighting Crashes," "I Alone," "All Over You" and "Selling the Drama." Although the group has yet to match the commercial power of that album, its passionate sound, matching spiritual lyrics to bracing guitar rock, lives on in its latest release, "Songs From Black Mountain."

Saturday's Main Stage schedule offers a 3 p.m. matinee by area stalwarts Eddie from Ohio, whose rocking folk sound and unstoppable high spirits can sell out the Birchmere on multiple nights or headline the Wolf Trap Filene Center with ease.

The quartet's blend of vocals, acoustic instrumentation and quirky songs has been featured on nine CDs, including their latest, "This Is Me."

At 8 p.m., Saturday night's highlight will rock with Smash Mouth, pop-punk pranksters whose string of hits stretches back 10 years to "Walkin' on the Sun," a No. 1 modern rock hit that pushed the band's album, "Fush Yu Mang," to double platinum. Follow-up hits include "All Star" and a cover of The Monkees' "I'm a Believer," which was a highlight of the soundtrack for the 2001 blockbuster "Shrek."

The Main Stage music wraps up with a 4 p.m. Sunday show by Little Big Town, a rock-country quartet whose mixed-gender roster and lovelorn harmonies have earned comparison to Fleetwood Mac as well as two 2006 Grammy nominations -- Best Country Album for "The Road to Here" (which stayed on the Billboard country chart for more than a year) and Best Country Performance with Vocal for "Boondocks."

The festival is also highlighting some of the best artists from our thriving regional music scene at the Rock 'n' Blues Stage. Recommended: pop-rock hunks Fools and Horses (6 p.m. Friday), wild men Jimmie's Chicken Shack (9:30 p.m. Friday), party-hearty Maryland guys Lloyd Dobler Effect (2 p.m. Saturday) and the smart, country-tinged pop-rock of the Brindley Brothers (1 p.m. Sunday).

The Brindleys' Luke Brindley will be doing double duty at the festival, also performing a solo set on at the Fairfax Corner Acoustic Stage (6:15 p.m. Saturday).

The Acoustic State will host smaller-scale shows throughout the weekend, starting at 6 p.m. tomorrow with David Andrew Smith and wrapping at 4:15 p.m. Sunday with Folk Rock Taking Over. Swing by at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday and watch how Melanie Mason makes her blues guitar talk.

If you're towing a toddler, make your way to the Children's Stage, where performances begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday and end at 4 p.m. Sunday. The ever-popular presentation of Reptiles Alive! is among the attractions, along with magic shows, singalongs and the clever kid rock of Rocknoceros, performing from its latest CD, "Dark Side of the Moon Bounce" (4 p.m. Saturday).


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