Nine bands, one day

Wailers, Clutch and Alter Bridge among the performers at Downtown Live Music & Arts Festival

Wailers, Clutch and Alter Bridge among the performers at Downtown Live Music & Arts Festival

October 18, 2007|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

Downtown Live music festival returns with bigger acts and more activities.

Set for Saturday in downtown Hagerstown, Downtown Live Music & Arts Festival has nine bands on the bill.

The Wailers - musicians and vocalists who played with Bob Marley - will headline the show. Baltimore-area rock band Clutch is on the bill along with Alter Bridge, the group started by three former members of Creed.

Festival proceeds will benefit the Washington County Historical Society and the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Foundation.

Here's more on three of the bands performing Saturday.


The Wailers have a new album in the works. The late Marley's former musical director Aston "Family Man" Barrett with frontman Elan Atias (who goes by his first name only) are working on an album of new material for the Wailers. They hope to release the album next summer, Atias said.

At Downtown Live, the Wailers will perform some of the classics such as "No Woman No Cry" and "One Love," and a few songs off Atias' reggae album "Together As One," with tracks produced by No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal.


Atias said on Sunday - the day after the show - the crew will head back to Jamaica and start recording tracks for the new album.

Atias, a 32-year-old from Los Angeles, has been singing with the Wailers off and on since 1996. When asked whether people would view with skepticism a young, non-Jamaican Wailers frontman, Atias said, "There's always going to be skeptics, haters."

"It basically goes back to the message of the music," Atias said. "That message has been the same for years - it's unity, it's love."


Formed in the early '90s, Baltimore rock band Clutch is unsigned and unconcerned.

"We're at a point in our careers where we're self-sufficient. We're not giving that too much thought," said Clutch vocalist Neil Fallon.

Fallon said the band fulfilled its contract under its old label, DRT Entertainment, and have not re-signed.

But Fallon said the band is keeping plenty busy, touring and writing new material.

Clutch will start a four-week tour with Coheed and Cambria starting Oct. 29. Washington state rock band The Fall of Troy also will be on the tour.

Clutch has performed in Hagerstown at least twice: once at a venue Fallon described as "a gnarly punk-rock club in the back of some warehouse" and another time at a Hagerstown park. Clutch also recorded the music video for "Electric Worry" at The Maryland Theatre in Hagerstown. The song is off their latest album, "From Beale Street to Oblivion," released in 2006.

Fallon said the band wanted a simple backdrop for the video and someone recommended the theater.

As the name suggests, "From Beale Street to Oblivion" has oblique blues references, though it's not a blues album.

Fallon said his favorite track from the album is "White's Ferry." The song has a classical metal guitar solo, "which is not like us."

The band draws influences from Black Sabbath and ZZ Top - bands that got their starts playing the blues.

"The deepest influences are the ones you can't help," Fallon said. "(But) if you try to sound like something, it will always sound like a poor copy of it."

Alter Bridge

Three years have passed since Alter Bridge's first album was released, and "it still feels like we're starting over," said Alter Bridge's lead vocalist, guitarist Mark Tremonti.

Along with a new record label - Universal Republic Records - Alter Bridge again has a new album, "Blackbird."

"We're kind of glad we're taking our time, so people won't compare us to our past," Tremonti said.

But comparisons are hard to avoid considering that past.

Three of the four members - Tremonti, Scott Phillips and Brian Marshall - were in the hit-making rock band Creed. They added a new singer, Myles Kennedy, to form Alter Bridge.

Creed split due to tensions between frontman Scott Stapp and the other band members, Tremonti said. Alter Bridge later released the album "One Day Remains," which went gold in 2004, selling 500,000 CDs.

Tremonti said the band feels they've finally moved on since the split with Creed and said fans are accepting their new identity as Alter Bridge.

"We kind of think of Creed as our high school band," Tremonti said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Downtown Live Music & Arts Festival

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 20

WHERE: Public Square, at the intersection of Potomac and Washington streets, downtown Hagerstown

COST: $35; free admission for children younger than 12

PARKING: The parking lot at Elizabeth Hager Center will be closed for use as an event staging area. Central Parking Lot, North Potomac Street parking deck and the Arts & Entertainment parking deck will be open.

MORE: No lawn chairs or coolers allowed. For more information, contact Toni Britton at or visit

Festival lineup

· 11 to 11:35 a.m. - Fools & Horses

· 11:50 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. - Emmet Swimming

· 12:40 to 1:15 p.m. - The Blue Sky Traffic

· 1:30 to 2:15 p.m. - Mr. Greengenes

· 2:30 to 3:15 p.m. - Jah Works

· 3:35 to 4:35 p.m. - Tea Leaf Green

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