If you are in the heart of Vienna on a Saturday night at 10:15, chances are pretty strong that it's because you're trying to get from McLean to Reston or vice versa. Yes, sadly, Vienna is the bridge from one scene to the next. Vienna is to McLean and Reston what Delaware is to D.C. and New York (a place to stop and use the bathroom). However, last night, Vienna was not the dumping ground or the bridge. For an hour, Vienna was the "it" town. Then, as the stroke of eleven chorused with Peter De Jong's final strum of his guitar, Vienna's carriage transformed into a pumpkin again, amid mass applause.
You see, there was a little band that played in a little club in a little town. They are a little secret that is a BIG deal. They are Sparky's Flaw - and I would claim they are what Chuck Norris listens to. Sparky's Flaw is unabashed, homegrown, Virginia rock 'n roll. As they played their set last night at Vienna's, Jammin' Java, I tried to put my finger on what exactly made Sparky's special. At first glance, there didn't appear to be anything drastically unique. They had a trio of guitars led by singer Will Anderson who was accompanied by De Jong and Alex Hargrave. A drummer, Johnny Stubblefield. And a saxophone - (is it saxophist? saxophoner? I'd put money on saxophonist. Whatever. Long story short, Kit French played a saxophone.)
At a glance, you would assume that they are ordinary and probably the same old thing. And that would be the worst assumption of your life. Last night, any thoughts of another pop rock band were quickly dispelled. It wasn't the same old thing. Not even close to the same old. For God's sake, they have a guy who rocks out with the saxophone. As good as their music is, it isn't what set Sparky’s Flaw apart from mainstream artists last night. It was the people who were playing the music that put Sparky's Flaw above any other live act I've seen. The unjaded energy was infectious. They were playing because they love to play music. It's the exuberance Sparky's brings on stage that makes them unique. Watching five guys play music just because they want to play is infectious. You can go watch Fall Out Boy with 10,000 other people and you will see a show. But when you watch Sparky's Flaw, you are the show.
The beauty and challenge of a bar concert is that the audience, not the band, controls the night. The band has to fight for respect from people who may or may not have heard their album (One Small Step EP) and may or may not be sober. There was no doubt that last night, Sparky's Flaw earned the respect of those of us who were sober and at least kept the attention of our less sober brothers. When the set ended, I kept looking around and everyone had the same expression on their face. It was a look that said, "Yeah, we just saw something amazing."
Sparky's Flaw isn't a big deal, and they would probably be the first to admit it. But pretty soon that will change. You can't keep a secret forever. So buy the EP, please, buy it and then tell me what a genius I am. Get on the bandwagon while it's still cool. And after you jump on, go out to a show. It's one thing to listen to One Small Step in the luxury of your car. Being in the crowd as you hear Anderson belt it out live is a completely different and far more rewarding experience.
Today, as I sat down to watch my brother's basketball game, I still had the two black X's on my hands given to everyone at the doors before entering the Java. The person next to me asked, "Where'd you get those?
"I got them in Vienna." I explained.
"What was in Vienna?" He asked a bit incredulously.
"The next big thing." I replied.
*Check out the Sparky's Flaw website for additional information on the band.