This has been a productive year so far for the band O.A.R., which will top a triple bill of jammin' rock Tuesday at Wolf Trap.
O.A.R., which is short for Of a Revolution, has been cited by the music industry service Pollstar as one of the top 40 touring acts of 2004, two spots behind Dave Matthews and Friends and even ahead of the Parrothead perennial, Jimmy Buffett.
O.A.R.'s members met in 1996 while high school students in Rockville and perfected their upbeat sound at Ohio State University. The band triumphantly returned to the area in May to play the popular HFStival and then hit the road with Dave Matthews in June. Now, the boys are back in town as headliners of an exhaustive summer tour of amphitheatres that kicked off in Houston.
It's the band's first Wolf Trap appearance, though, in an e-mail interview, lead guitarist Richard On recalled that the band was asked to open for the Pat McGee Band at the venue some years ago.
"For whatever reason, that fell through. We never thought we'd have another opportunity to play Wolf Trap. This is truly a dream come true. Since most of us grew up in the D.C. area, we consider this a home-town show. We are very much looking forward to seeing our friends and family."
In addition to On, O.A.R. consists of singer-guitarist Marc Roberge, bassist Benj Gershman, drummer Chris Culos and saxophonist Jerry DePizzo. The band's shows tend to run the gamut from occasional cover tunes to reggae-influenced jams, fan favorites to the out-of-left-field pop hit "That Was a Crazy Game of Poker."
For those who can't make it to the show -- or want to relive the O.A.R. concert experience -- a new double-disc live set, called "34th and 8th," arrives this month. Recorded over two nights in New York City, the set includes hits, two new songs and a DVD with concert and interview footage.
Also on the bill Tuesday is Howie Day, from Bangor, Maine, a singer-songwriter known for well-crafted songs, strong musicianship and a big voice that can summon the grand spirit of U2. He has released two CDs and an EP on Epic Records, the latest being "Stop All the World Now." Day often uses live loop sampling and delay pedals to create rhythms and even backing vocals when he's alone on stage, though he is fronting a full band on this tour.
The Graham Colton Band, based in Dallas, has worked the college and club circuit for several years and has scored opening slots for John Mayer, Jason Mraz and Counting Crows (for five tours, including last month's Merriweather Post show). The group's major-label debut, "Drive," produced by Brendan O'Brien (Pearl Jam), came out on Universal Records in May, and the band plans to be on the road for 18 months headlining clubs and supporting acts in bigger venues.
Don't be surprised if the bands visit each other onstage because, as On explained, "All the bands we are playing with this summer are friends of ours from previous tours. I wouldn't even call it a summer tour; it's going to be more like summer camp."
-- MARIANNE MEYER
Wolf Trap is at 1551 Trap Rd. in Vienna. Tickets, $32 in-house and $25 on the lawn, are available at the box office, by calling Tickets.com at 703-218-6500 or 800-955-5566, or online at www.wolftrap.org. For more information, call Wolf Trap at 703-255-1860.
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