Virginia Coalition keeps rolling with live album and espresso


:: Virginia Coalition :: Fox Theatre :: September 13 ::
:: Quixote’s True Blue :: September 16 :: 

By Alex Samuel

 Who can get hundreds of girls (okay, and a few guys) to scream “Yes, we feel like getting it on!” in unison and mean it? Unless you guessed D.C.’s own Virginia Coalition, chances are you’re wrong.

From the second Virginia Coalition (VACO to friends and fans) step on stage until the end of their last sweaty encore, the crowd is standing, grooving and fueling the irresistible VACO energy that is flowing over the country faster than it takes you to pop in their new album, Live at the 9:30 Club.

The members of Virginia Coalition, Andrew Poliakoff, Paul Ottinger, Jarrett Nicolay and John Patrick met at T.C. Williams High School, the extremely diverse Alexandria, Va. school where Disney’s Remember The Titans was filmed. While the boys’ high school music tastes included radio standards, ‘go-go grooves’ (which are indigenous to D.C.) and some good old Virginia gospel helped create a very unique (and talented) group.

The D.C.-born and -based boys became a staple in their hometown scene after years of playing the Georgetown club circuit and the 1998 release of their nearly budget-less debut album, The Colors of the Sound.

Two years after Colors, VACO released Townberg, the band’s best studio album to date, and began to expand their touring schedule to include more shows along the East Coast.

Within three short years between the release of Virginia Coalition’s second and third albums, the band gained enough grassroots support to sell out venues up and down the coast, including the boys’ hometown 9:30 Club, in D.C.

“You go into it with all these competing worries and then you get it right and you’re, like, ‘I can’t believe all these people are here to see us!’” Poliakoff said of playing sold out shows at the 9:30 Club, during a recent interview with The Marquee. “It took me a few times to get into the head-space where I can even remember playing it after.”

When VACO’s third album, Rock and Roll Party, was released on DCN/Koch Records, the band expanded the already sold-out touring schedule to include some dates out west. In fact, the boys played 250 shows from coast to coast in 2003 alone, thus becoming true-blue road warriors and giving themselves over to what Poliakoff calls the gypsy feeling of the road.

Even with total submission to the gypsy feeling, the road can be draining. “I have one word,” Poliakoff added after trying to define the source of Virginia Coalition’s seemingly endless energy. “It’s called espresso. I have my own machine, you better believe it. A couple of shots and you’ll be good.”

Touring has proven to be a huge part of Virginia Coalition’s existence, leaving little time for songwriting and studio sessions, so it’s no wonder their newest album is a two-disc recording of an incendiary live set. The boys, who admittedly aren’t always in control of where a song turns, find the energy of a song on stage and play off that, something that is impossible to do in a studio.

“This live record is it. Now we’ve finally made it and, shit, I’d make another tomorrow,” Poliakoff said. “You play your show and you have a record. Makes sense to me.”

“[We have] a ridiculous existence,” Poliakoff ended. “Absolutely, 100 percent beautifully ridiculous.”


:: Virginia Coalition ::

:: Fox Theatre :: September 13 ::

:: Quixote’s True Blue :: September 16 ::


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