"Think outside the mall" is the motto of Fairfax County's new shopping destination, Fairfax Corner. Although its megaplex movie theater, restaurants and shops are standard mall fare, the center offers an open, pedestrian-friendly atmosphere, with sidewalks radiating from the central fountain plaza to connect the stores and eateries.

It's a lovely place to hang out on a summer night, especially on Saturdays with a concert series ranging from salsa to blues.

This weekend marks the last show of the series, a sad occasion except for the fact that the show features area pop-rock masters the Bicycle Thieves.

The band's current CD, "The Second Place Confession," was released last year to a capacity crowd at Arlington's Iota Club & Cafe, where the group is playing tonight, and is distributed through popular online sources such as CDBaby.com, Tower.com and iTunes.

The album, which features acoustic rocker Jack Johnson on the track "These Things," was produced by Chris Keup and Stewart Myers, who have worked with Jason Mraz. The album's first single, "Loser of the Year," has made it to the airwaves on DC-101 and XM Radio.

The Thieves' music pays fine tribute to its influences -- crafty song stylists such as Weezer, Foo Fighters, the Beatles and Elvis Costello. Singer-composer Jon Kaplan has twice taken the Washington Area Music Award for best rock vocalist, and the band as a whole -- including bassist Scott Aronson, guitarist Mark Lewis and drummer Dan Perriello -- won 2003's Wammie for best rock duo or group.

In an e-mail, Kaplan explained, "We have a lot of new songs that we're playing at shows right now, and we're hoping to record at least another EP soon. We have been touring a lot more this year and hope to keep expanding that, including doing a college tour in the spring."

The band regularly tours the East Coast club scene, has played in front of thousands at Live on Penn and Taste of D.C. events, and earned a prime gig at the huge HFStival at RFK Stadium.

Area fans know it's always a pleasure to hang out with these charming Thieves. Here's a chance for a whole new crowd to discover them at an all-ages show where teens, pop-savvy parents and even the youngest rocking toddlers can groove together.

It's almost enough to make the end of summer bearable.


Fairfax Corner is at Monument Drive and Government Center Parkway near the county Government Center in Fairfax. The concert is free and open to all ages. There are several food and beverage options at the shopping center's numerous restaurants. Check out www.fairfaxcorner.com for more information.

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The local band Bicycle Thieves, with numerous big-name shows and a Wammie to its credit, closes out a summer concert series.