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Hagerstown-based band earns slot on Vans Warped Tour

Matinee @ Midnight to play Dzambo Stage at tour-stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md

April 28, 2011|By KATE S. ALEXANDER | kate.alexander@herald-mail.com

One has gone twice.  At least two have never yet been.  

But in July, all five members of the Hagerstown-based band, Matinee @ Midnight, will attend the Vans Warped Tour.

Only they won't be there as fans.

Matinee @ Midnight battled its way this spring to a slot on the Dzambo Stage (formerly the East Coast Indie Stage) at the tour-stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., on July 26, a representative of the stage confirmed Thursday.

As the guys prepped for a gig Thursday at Legends on the Square in Hagerstown, a few of the members took a break to talk about their upcoming national debut.

"It's awesome," said band frontman Dustin Perrott, 21.

"Warped Tour is kind of like that stepping stone that really projects bands," said keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Zack Uchima, 19.

A multicity tour that kicks off in June and runs through August, the 2011 Warped Tour will feature dozens of known bands, from names like Gym Class Heroes, Against Me!, A Day to Remember, and Less Than Jake, to unsigned bands trying to make a name for themselves.

For unsigned bands, like Matinee @ Midnight, which have secured spots on event's smaller stages, the hope is to be seen by the right eyes and heard by the right ears to break into the recording industry.

And if that doesn't happen for the Hagerstown pop-punk group this year, that's fine, Perrott said.

"If we get an opportunity right away that would be awesome, but I also feel like we still have some dues we have to pay," he said. "And it's not like we are going to jump at the first opportunity we get, either. We're gonna make sure it's the right opportunity for us and for our fans."

This will be the first time the band has played on a national tour since they got serious about their music last July, he said.

Playing on the same stage that helped launch the careers of bands like Forever the Sickest Kids and All Time Low is a great honor, the band said.

"If someone had told me last year that this would happen, I wouldn't have believed them," Uchima said.

Matinee @ Midnight made its mark on the local music scene with the 2011 release of its first EP, "The Heartbreak."  

The EP single, "It Starts Tonight," spent 10 weeks as the top song on a Tennessee indie radio station, Perrott said.

Perrott, who wrote the songs on the EP, said the single's success helped win the band the spot on the Warped Tour at a battle-of-the-bands competition in Baltimore this spring.

A 100 percent "DIY" band, the next few months will be crazy as the guys squeeze promotion and merchandising for Warped Tour around booked gigs and their day jobs, they said.

And of course they plan to "practice, practice and practice," said lead guitarist Justin Harris, 23.

"And promote," Uchima said.

Matinee @ Midnight also includes Braden Myers on bass and Roger Pleasant on drums.

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