Common Effect, 33 West,

Urban Style, Upper Cut

9 p.m. Saturday

Skatequest skating rink, Reston

Some things never change. Much as it was at the dawn of rock, local bands thrash away in basements and rec rooms across the country, searching for three-chord nirvana. And music-loving teenagers head out on weekend nights, desperate for venues that won't look down on those under drinking age.

But some things have changed a lot. Now, local bands make their own high-quality CDs and sell them on the Internet, sometimes to fans hundreds of miles away.

On Saturday, the Reston-based rock quartet Common Effect will celebrate the release of "Instinct of the Moment," its third self-financed EP release. The band plans on recording new songs the week before this show so the CD will be so hot off the press, they may still be packing discs into cases as you read this. (See www.commoneffect.com for more.)

Like many young bands, Common Effect needs to be creative, not just in the studio but also in finding places at which to perform because none of the band members are over 18. So far, they've played church shows, community centers and numerous basements.

Saturday marks their second appearance on the ice -- literally -- at Reston's Skatequest, the family-oriented indoor rink that balances disco nights, hockey games and semiregular rock shows in an admirable attempt to give teenagers an alternative to mall crawling.

Also on the bill is Upper Cut, another Virginia-based quartet that joins hard-edged melodies and raucous rhythm. The band's self-released debut CD earned them a spot on the 2002 summer ESPN "X-Games" soundtrack, and six songs were selected for the "X-Games" television broadcast on ABC and ESPN.

Upper Cut was showcased at last year's Vans Warped Tour and was recently the D.C. regional finalist in the Hard Rock Cafe "Rock the Rockies" competition. The group then returned to the studio to finish demos with a production-engineering duo that has worked with the likes of U2, Tom Petty and Blondie. (You can sample tracks at www.uppercutmusic.com.)

The Chantilly-based sextet known as 33 West is coming home to play after making tracks throughout the Northeast, including Upstate New York; Long Island, N.Y.; Connecticut; and Pennsylvania in recent weeks. Last year, the group's fusion party of rock, ska and emo won first place in a national battle of the bands sponsored by guitar accessories manufacturer Ernie Ball.

The band also has toured nationwide, sharing stages with the likes of New Found Glory and Good Charlotte.

Urban Style is a power pop band from the D.C. area that scored a major coup when it was highlighted in a YM magazine glossy full-color photo feature about cute area groups. But Urban Style is no boy band; they play energetic power pop that you can hear for yourself at www.urbanstyleband.com.

And yes, you can skate while the bands play, although there's a carpeted area on the rink for those who'd rather just watch or dance.

-- Marianne Meyer

Skatequest is at 1800 Michael Faraday Ct. in Reston, off the Wiehle Avenue exit of the Dulles Toll Road. The phone number is 703-709-1010. The event is open to all ages, and admission is $6. Skate rental and refreshments cost extra.

You can send your Live! ideas to mariannemeyer@comcast.net. Or you can curse the silence.

Comment Effect band members Gary Cooper, left, Zak Ruth, Andrei Busuioceanu and Matt Schemmer soon will release their third self-financed EP, titled "Instinct of the Moment."