Gin Blossoms to mix their hits with new songs at Wolf Trap

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Entertainment,Music,Nancy Dunham

The Gin Blossoms aren't one of those bands that abandon their hits as they build their catalog.

Not that it wouldn't be easy for the band to do just that. After all, the band has continually recorded acclaimed albums during its 20-plus-year career. The band's 2010 album "No Chocolate Cake," went to No. 1 on Amazon charts and hit the Billboard Top 200 lists while the single "Miss Disarray" charted. Now the band is writing its next album that it hopes to release later this year. Suffice to say there's plenty of fodder from which to build a set list.

Onstage
Gin Blossoms
Where: The Barns at Wolf Trap, 1635 Trap Road, Vienna
When: 8 p.m. Wed.
Info: Sold out at presstime, but tickets might be available through resellers; 1-877-WOLFTRAP; wolftrap.org

"We often make our set list at the very last moment," said longtime member Jesse Valenzuela. "Yes, there might be some new songs in the set. We don't really know until show day. We love playing new songs or finding older ones we have not played in years and years!"

Ever since the late '80s when the Phoenix, Ariz., band formed, its members built its music around a jangle pop-rock sound. In 1992 the band, that took its name from a caption on a W.C. Fields photo, released the album "New Miserable Experience." Singles from that recording, including "Hey Jealousy" and "Allison Road," kept the band on the charts for three years with multicrossover hits.

And when the band plays those hits live, it's easy for fans to relive the experiences they had when they first heard their favorite Gin Blossoms' tunes.

"We generallyperform the hits very much like the record, but we always seem to change up the outros a little and sometimes the solos," said Valenzuela. "Some of the soloshave catchy instrumental hooks, and we stick to performing them as on the record. Sometimes we will extend the solos, just for fun. I've always felt the audience is split in their thinking -- some want the record, others want to hear a more relaxed interpretation of the records."

The much-travelled band has experienced such reactions not just in the U.S. and abroad, but during special tours to play before active-duty military in Iraq and elsewhere. The positive reactions from the military have been especially sweet for the bandmates.

"We basically just played our normal set and all the hits of course," he said, reflecting on the large number of military in the D.C.-area, some of whom may well attend the show. "I hope any military personnel presentknow how proud we are to be Americans and how grateful we are for their service.

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Nancy Dunham

Examiner Correspondent
The Washington Examiner