- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 8, 2001

This summer may have made 2001 sound like the year of the baby boomer (Paul Simon, Styx, the Allman Brothers Band, Crosby, Stills and Nash spring to mind), but the next generation is ready to have its say this fall.
A host of acts that cut their teeth in the 1990s roll through the Washington area in the next few months, as well as the regular share of nostalgia acts and can't-miss classic performers.
Kicking off the season is a double bill featuring Maxwell and opening act Alicia Keys, two of today's hottest rhythm-and-blues singers. Maxwell's latest album, "Now," released just a few weeks ago, evokes his outstanding 1996 debut, "Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite." Teaming again with veteran guitarist Wah Wah Watson, Maxwell sounds as though he's near the breaking point as he attempts to find solace for his broken heart.
Pairing him musically with Miss Keys is a brilliant stroke. Her debut album, "Songs in A Minor," topped the Billboard charts its first week in release. Like Maxwell, Miss Keys puts a much-needed dose of the blues back into the soul genre. Her deft piano playing only adds strength to original tunes and covers of classics, such as Prince's "How Come You Don't Call Me?"
Both young performers take the stage tonight, tomorrow night and Tuesday and Wednesday nights at DAR Constitution Hall in Northwest.
Fast becoming legendary in the indie rock genre, Modest Mouse and Built to Spill stop in the nation's capital to prove that emotional, introspective rock is far from dead. Built to Spill, formed in Boise, Idaho, in 1992, released its seventh album, "Ancient Melodies of the Future," in July.
The band — with subdued lyrics, countermelodies and distortion common to indie rock, but with guitar theatrics straight out of the 1970s (think Led Zeppelin meets Pink Floyd) — has managed to fill venues by playing reflective songs rather than rock anthems. As evidenced on its live album, 1999's "Built to Spill Live," the band's two-day appearance Friday and Sept. 15 at the 9:30 Club should feature long jams and intricate guitar solos.
Washington state's Modest Mouse, working in a similar vein but with a more stripped-down folk sound, will release its seventh album (its second on a major label), "Everywhere and His Nasty Parlor," later this month. Modest Mouse stops at the Black Cat Sept. 28 and 29.
Fans of the band certainly haven't been lacking new material. In 2000, the group released a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks, "Building Something Out of Nothing," and made its leap to the big leagues with Sony Records on "The Moon and Antarctica," probably the band's strongest album to date. A "lost" debut CD by the band, "Sad Sappy Sucker," also saw the light of day this year.
Modest Mouse tends to focus lyrically on either the minutia of daily life or universe-size musings on time and space, sometimes at the same time (as in "3rd Planet," the opening track on "Moon"). Neither Built to Spill nor Modest Mouse ever will sell as many records as Britney Spears, but both likely have inspired dozens of new acts to form.
Of course, every fall also has its big-name acts, sure to sell out stadiums or at least gain plenty of press. The Washington area can expect to see a healthy mix of seasoned performers, new favorites and even a couple of nostalgia acts left over from the summer. (See America Oct. 11 at the Birchmere and 1980s hard rockers Judas Priest and Anthrax Oct. 13 at Nation.)
The old-time rockers of Aerosmith roll through town for the second time this year, promoting their latest album, "Just Push Play." With them Sept. 15 at Nissan Pavilion will be newcomer Fuel. The nerdy rock quartet Weezer, basking in its renewed celebrity, also makes a second stop locally this year, Sept. 28 at George Mason University's Patriot Center.
For metalheads, this also will be the second chance to see Maynard James Keenan, except this time he'll be singing with his main band, Tool, instead of his best-selling "side project" band, A Perfect Circle. Tool heats up the MCI Center Oct. 5. Fans who like their metal to be a little less artistic can cheer when Megadeth plows into the 9:30 Club Oct. 14.
Also worth checking out: mellow Icelandic rock act Sigur Ros (members even sing in their native language) Sept. 25 at the 9:30 Club; legendary singer-songwriter Neil Diamond Sept. 30 at MCI Center; classic jazz from Maynard Ferguson and Big Bop Nouveau Oct. 4 through 6 at Blues Alley; singer-songwriter Tori Amos Oct. 6 at DAR Constitution Hall; the Sophisticated Ladies tour with Mary Wilson Oct. 12 at the Warner Theatre; emotional rockers Counting Crows Oct. 27 at George Washington University; and rising alt-country star Kasey Chambers Oct. 30 at Wolf Trap.


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