Dance dance revolution

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Dance dance revolution

DJ AudioRapture, a.k.a. Ullrich Jason Haag, first began spinning records about 20 years ago in Frankfurt, Germany. “In Europe people go out to have fun and dance,” he told Feedback between sets at Umlaut, R2’s monthly goth and industrial dance night. “In the U.S. you go out to be seen.” Why, then, we asked, did he leave Europe’s bumpin’ dance floors to come here?

He answered by holding up his hand, revealing a shiny gold wedding band. How could we argue with that? While attending graduate business school at James Madison University, Ullrich met his future wife and, after brief stints elsewhere, he returned to Central Virginia in 1999 to settle down.

Move your feet: DJ AudioRapture spins electronic goodness, whether you’re at R2, Outback or listening to WNRN.

Well, maybe settle down isn’t the right term. Though he’s now a happy husband and father, Haag still spins as much as he can. In addition to his nights at R2, he DJs at The Dawning, the long-running weekly goth night that takes over Outback Lodge most Saturday nights, and hosts “Download,” WNRN’s electronic music show from midnight to 2am on Monday morning.

Haag first got into electronic music with German new wave in the ’80s, but his digital love is all-encompassing. “Listening to one genre just bores me,” he says. As we talked, DJ Patrick Allen, Haag’s partner for Umlaut, put on Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” and a few more bodies twisted onto R2’s dance floor. “See, people will dance to the classics,” he says. “But music also has to introduce the new stuff.” That’s why Haag isn’t afraid to mix things up by throwing on something out of the ordinary, such as a track by underground L.A. duo Captain Ahab, who recently brought a sweaty frenzy to the Tea Bazaar.

Ready to get down with DJ AudioRapture? You’ll have a chance this Saturday, September 15. He’ll be at Outback Lodge for The Dawning along with local goth superstars Bella Morte.

From paradise to frat parties

Feedback is wary of bands that play at frat parties. Maybe we just have bad memories of being packed into some dirty, beer-soaked basement while listening to a dreadful rock rendition of Outkast’s “Hey Ya.” But regardless of our biases, local band Sweetbriar proves that not all bands that hit up the frat circuit are awful.

Take a listen to "Long Time Since" by Sweetbriar:


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Courtesy of Sweetbriar – Thanks!

Sweetbriar actually rocks. Oddly (or appropriately?), the band seems to have an ongoing connection with burgers. Starting out as high schoolers in Fredericksburg, the band first began gigging at Jimmy Buffett-owned chain restaurant, Cheeseburger in Paradise. They’ve since relocated to Charlottesville, but access to tasty beef is just as easy, since guitarist Jonathan Drolshagen is now the general manager of Charlottesville’s three Five Guys joints.

No thorns here: Brothers Jonathan and Stephen Droishagen of Sweetbriar will rock out at Gravity Lounge on September 12.

And, just like a juicy burger, Sweetbriar’s tunes have a satisfying All-American feel. “Our music is really similar to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and other more mainstream rock acts,” says Drolshagen, “like John Mellencamp, and a little bit of a Gin Blossoms type sound.”

An apt description, we think. While the band plays fraternity, sorority and bar gigs each week, they hope to take things to the next level with more shows that feature their own music. They’ve already had some successful shows (including opening for Ben Folds at UVA’s SpringFest) and on Wednesday, September 12 they’ll join Chris Jamison (whose new album, Into Surrender, is reviewed in this issue) and The Houseguests for a show at Gravity Lounge.

The Pavilion and beyond

The Charlottesville Pavilion is nearing the end of its 2007 season (though some great shows remain, including Wilco and Lucinda Williams), so Feedback decided to catch up with the venue’s manager, Kirby Hutto.

“This year has been fantastic from our perspective,” says Hutto, “with having all of the construction complete—our full concession plaza, the bathrooms, the city Transit Center. Having that all, we’re finally finished.”

And it seems that Hutto and Coran Capshaw’s Red Light Management might be interested in helping to create similar venues elsewhere. “We’ve had a ton of communities from throughout the East Coast that have come and looked at what we’ve done and the way it has helped to drive economic activity Downtown,” says Hutto.

However, Roanoke, the first city with serious ideas for a pavilion, is caught up in disagreement over the proposed plans, and Hutto and company are holding off on lending a hand until things are resolved. “We have some interest in that market,” Hutto says, “and I think the city of Roanoke seems to be committed to building a venue. We’ll just see how the process works out. We’re on the sidelines waiting for some of the details on their side to become clear.”

Personally, we’re O.K. with any delays for a Star City pavilion, as we are a tad worried about losing some shows to our southern neighbors (we need our Lyle Lovett!).

Since we were talking with Hutto, we couldn’t help but ask if Ryan Adams would really make it to town for his sold out Paramount shows on September 13 and 14, which are presented by the Capshaw group. “We have been assured that Mr. Adams will be delivered to Charlottesville,” says Hutto, who had to break the bad news to the crowd when Adams didn’t arrive for his show back in July. We sure hope so!

Sproule sprawls across the U.K.

Take a listen to "Old Virginia Block" from Devon Sproule‘s Keep Your Silver Shined:


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Courtesy of Devon Sproule – Thanks!

Feedback is happy to see local songstress Devon Sproule making some big splashes across the pond. In July she became the first American to grace to cover of fRoots, a British folk magazine, and U.K. newspaper The Guardian recently interviewed her. On September 3, Brighton’s The Argus also chatted with Sproule about her music, marriage to Paul Curreri and more. “With her trademark vintage dresses, 50-year-old Gibson guitar and charismatic intelligence, she is set to become the alt-folk star of the year,” says the newspaper. Right on!

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