Live!   Thursday, August 28, 2003; Page VA08

Back to the Luna Park Band Showcase Page
Who: Soulbender, down holly, Happenstance 

When: 9 p.m. today

Where: Luna Park Grille, Arlington

On the last Thursday of every month, Luna Park Grille opens its stage to new and developing area bands. The Band Jam is hosted by Soulbender, a musical trio that carts its own P.A., amps and such to the restaurant and shares it with the other acts. The noncompetitive atmosphere allows performers and fans to chill, network, play and listen. With three bands, no cover and a full bar and menu, the Band Jam is a nice place to hang.

Soulbender usually plays first, running a gamut of tunes from blues and country to jazz. The trio features Andy Douglas on drums, Maria "Pete" (a childhood nickname) Durgan on bass and vocals and Wayne Durgan, Maria's husband of 24 years, on guitar and vocals. All three have experience as solo acts or with other groups.

Wayne Durgan, for example, plays in the Beach Boys tribute band Still Surfin', while one of Maria Durgan's original songs was chosen by The Washington Post's mp3 site as an "Editor's Pick" in May.

On the same site, the music of the Arlington-based quartet down holly is described as "guitar and groove-heavy, hook-rich power crunch pop." Down holly's "Japanese Bonus Track" EP is its first as a band, but the members have 17 recordings among them.

Bassist Lee Solomon has recorded with various outfits since establishing himself in the early '90s with Virginia-based heavy rockers Lovebuzz (a k a Soul Driver). Drummer John Cunningham has played everything from hard rock to jazz, most recently in local acts Idiotstick, King Crush and General So.

Singer-guitarist Will Roberts has toured the Northeast as frontman for Idiotstick and Anything Jones. Guitarist Ted Morgan recorded in the early '90s with noise rock ensemble Crungehouse and more recently with Colorado-based funk-jazz project Rhythm Child.

Down holly's guitar-fueled rock has been likened to Weezer, Jimmy Eat World and Foo Fighters. Make your own comparisons by checking out samples on the band's Web site www.downholly.com.

The third act on the Luna Park menu tonight is Happenstance, celebrating the recent release of the four-track studio CD, "Sketches and Chords." You can listen to samples from this, and the band's prior live CD (featuring a cover of Fuel's hit, "Bad Day") at www.happenstance.info. Among the band's own selling points for the new CD: "It's shiny!" and "Guaranteed to be 100% Suck Free!"

-- Marianne Meyer

Luna Park Grille is at 5866 Washington Blvd., in Arlington, one-third of a mile from the East Falls Church Metro. There is no cover charge. For more information, call 703-237-LUNA (5862) or visit lunaparkgrille.com. For more information on the jam, visit www.waux.com/lunajam.

Send "Live!" suggestions to mariannemeyer@comcast.net.

2003 The Washington Post Company