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It's more than fun and games with Virginia Coalition

Cat's Cradle
Carrboro, North Carolina

STATIC and FEEDBACK correspondent

It is those moments between songs that can reveal a great deal about a band. The joker, the straight man, and
the protestor make their debuts between songs and during the set break. In the case of the Virginia Coalition,
however, the breaks revealed all jokers and not much seriousness between the four. But joking around has its
place, and Andy, Paul, Jarrett and J.P. always get back to what clearly drives them: the music.

It may seem cliché, but the guys really seemed to be there for the sake performing (though apparently the virgin
blood and tofu are nice, too). Hiding intensity and enjoyment are rare skills, and the boys of Virginia Coalition
certainly do not have poker faces. All four are clearly into their music and love every moment of it. Andy takes the
center and smiles like a school boy while belting out the lyrics of “Voyager II.” J.P. keeps the beat in the back with
an intensity rarely seen. Jarrett brings the pain on the bass or guitar, whatever is needed that moment. And Paul,
well he just hammers the hell out of the keyboard to provide the precise level of funk.

I got to hang out with Virginia Coalition, fanatics simply call them VaCo, before their show at Cat’s Cradle
(zounds for friends in high places). The guys trickled in and were a jovial bunch. It was my first interview for our
fine online publication and they were pretty cool about it. It was mostly a bunch of joking around and they were
clearly trying to relax before eventually going on. But under the jokes, there were four guys who clearly knew their

I asked them the general generic music interview questions, such as “What’s your favorite part about being on
tour?” The response: “An intimate knowledge of the band’s bodily functions.” A nice answer, but hardly the look
into their souls I was going for. But after awhile, VaCo began to open up, and I got to catch a glimpse of the
musical intensity that would come out in their show later.

JS: You’re in a dark alley and cornered by a
resurrected N’sync & Backstreet Boys who
want to kick your ass. Given you’re only four
guys, what other band/musician would you
want there to help you kick ass and run away?

VC: G-Unit, The Fat Boys with Biz Markie, Jay-
Z & Crew, and Ted Nugent with Huey Lewis
and the News.
The question that really seemed to open them up was one
inquiring about recent musical influences. I figured that guys
who had been making music for what will soon be 20 years are
not still going off their old Beatles and White Snake albums. At
first I hit a stone wall, but after a second they started naming
some quality material that had left a mark. Alison Kraus and
Peter Gabriel were some expected answers. Their notable
enjoyment of Jay-Z, Kanye West and, their fellow Virginian,
Timberland was surprising, but can anyone really blame them
for enjoying great beats and lyrics like, “…like a running back,
get it man, I'm straight off the block, I can run it back nigga cause
I'm straight with the Roc.”
We parted ways and I got ready for what promised to be a great show. Virginia Coalition has just hit the road
after a few weeks off. They’ve been touring in support of the latest album
Okay to Go and their latest trek is taking
them southward for a few shows before hitting the northeast.

Since they had been on a break for awhile, I was prepared to hear a band that was transitioning from lounging to
touring. The bar was set sort of low and foolishly so. The party got started around 11:15, and the Virginia
Coalition stormed the stage and worked the crowd like dough. The musical intensity I had seen backstage was
just a small part of the passion they brought on stage. “Voyager II” was the strongest song of the set, but they
rocked through every song, even a brief Simpsons improv. They gave a great high energy show and rock the
crowd through the evening.

They get a B+ for a great show in my book. They have high energy, and that makes the music awesome. And the
hilarity sprinkled throughout the show was pretty sweet as well. The entire band is clearly there to have fun, and
the audience feeds off that, and in turn the band feed off the audience. If you like a bluesy funk rock, then VaCo is
a safe bet. You can be guaranteed a good show at minimum, and a great show if you’re into the music. As for
Okay to Go, Andy put it best:

“You’ll get Ebola if you don’t buy our album.”

Check out Virginia Coalition at, or at one of their upcoming shows: New York City's
Bowery Ballroom, 2-15-05; Asbury, N.J.'s The Saint, 2-16-05; and Boston's Paradise Rock Club, 2-17-05