* What: Ki:Theory CD release party and concert.

* When: 10 p.m. Saturday.

* Where: Zig's, Alexandria.

When the Richmond-based quartet known as Ki:Theory needed to choose a venue at which to celebrate the release of its new CD, the choice was obvious. Because the acoustic album was recorded live in two nights this summer at Zig's in Alexandria, why not simply return to the scene of the good time? And so history, and a lot of solid rock musicianship, will be repeated this weekend when Ki (pronounced "key") reunites with fans to perform selections from "Introducing . . . the Tragic Thieves," just out and available through the band's Web site www.kitheory.com.

For a group that has been together for barely two years, Ki:Theory is finding that its namesake choice of a symbol representing the energy of life couldn't be more appropriate. Since releasing an independent, eponymous debut CD in 2000, the band has toured tirelessly in the region, opening for other popular area acts such as Laughing Colors and Fighting Gravity.

One song from the CD "Morning Light" found its way to regular rotation on some mid-Atlantic stations and stayed in the top five of most requested songs for 11 weeks on Harrisonburg's WBOP FM. In September, the group scored a gig at Richmond radio station Y101's Disorientation 2K2 concert, on a bill with national heavyweights Our Lady Peace, American Hi-Fi and Jimmy Eat World.

At a time when rock purists are rejecting overblown pop and looking for straightforward passion, Ki:Theory's timing couldn't be better. Frontman and guitarist Joel Burleson, lead guitarist and co-vocalist Brad Tursi, bassist Tripper Ryder and drummer Nate Joyner share grunge roots that earned them comparisons to Pearl Jam and Soundgarden in their early days. But as the stripped-down arrangements of the new "unplugged" album prove, Ki:Theory's songs also sound fine without the volume cranked up to 11.

A cover of U2's "Running to Stand Still" and song titles such as "God and the New Physics" and "We Will Become Ourselves Reborn" are further indication that this band has other things on its mind than partying all night long. Then again, "party" will be the operative word Saturday night.

The last student member of Ki:Theory has graduated from college, giving the group more time and, presumably, redoubled the band's energy for touring. Surrounded by friends and family, with a strong new album on the market and a bright future on the horizon, Ki:Theory has lots of reasons to make a joyful noise.

-- Marianne Meyer

Zig's is at 4531 Duke St., Alexandria, 1.5 miles east of Landmark Mall in the Fox Chase Shopping Center. Cover charge is $8. For more information, call 703-823-2777.

If you have a suggestion for "Live!" please send the details to mariannemeyer@comcast.net.

Ki:Theory's Tripper Ryder, left, Joel Burleson, Brad Tursi and Nate Joyner recorded their new live acoustic CD at Zig's this summer. The group has shared a bill with Our Lady Peace, American Hi-Fi and Jimmy Eat World.