Thursday, October 18, 2007

Who's your "dada?"

Meanwhile, back at the State Theater, the 1600 crew got a chance to meet and greet the band dada. Most famous for their 1992 hit, Dizz Knee Land, Mike Gurley, Joie Calio, and Phil Leavitt, this unlikely trio have had a strange career since their meteoric rise to overnight stardom. Fifteen years later, the guys are still together, making great music, and still "flipping off President George," albeit a different one, but perhaps even more appropriate than ever today. Their sound has stayed familiar, but has matured and grown more thoughtful, while retaining the whimsical playfulness that marked their earliest records.

In case you suffer from SASS (short attention span syndrome), dada catapaulted to seemingly overnight success, only to have two successive major labels fold, ending one tour before it could really get off the ground, and sidetracking their career for several years. dada drifted apart for awhile, but kept returning to unite and eventually record new material, playing sporadically together until Spring of 2003, and pursuing other projects, including Calio's X Levitation Cult (XLC) and Leavitt's sometime association with the Blue Man group, as well as dada spin-off Butterfly Jones with Mike Gurley. But throughout, they have remained friends, and the undeniable chemistry that they share would finally put them back together, going on the road for short tours, releasing a new EP, and working once again on a new album. Since reuniting, they have been pleasing their fanatically loyal followers with blistering live performances coast to coast. And this evening was no exception, with fans from Pennsylvania, Ohio, and other parts unknown flocking to Falls Church for an appearance.

The band played a solid two plus hour set, featuring songs from their five full length discs, as well as the Friend of Pat Robertson ep released in 2006. dada also played new material, showcasing Calio and Gurley's vocal harmonies and pop sensibility for hooks and grooves, playing inspired jams on If Tears Were Balloons, Moment in the Sun, Dim, and Sick in Santorini, while Bob the Drummer, a fan favorite, was also particularly exquisite that night. A crowd pleasing Friend of Pat Robertson devolved into a singalong of The Message by Grandmaster Flash ("It's Like a jungle sometimes/It makes me wonder/How I keep from going under"), and a cover of Simon and Garfunkel's take on Scarborough Fair and the obligatory and always emotional Dizz Knee Land rounded out the set. Both newbies (like myself) and veterans (like Jerry) were pleased with both the selections and the performance. The sound at the State was good as well, perhaps because they didn't go for loud and overpowering, but had levels pretty well set for the mostly- packed house.

And the food drive netted some good returns for the folks at Food for Others, a local charity that can always use your support. dada is one of several bands that participates. But don't wait for another show to come through town. Go online to learn more about Food for Others (, and the folks they help take care of in Fairfax County!

We'll see you at the next show.

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