Since its inception in late 2012, Washington DC-based band AZTEC SUN has hypnotized the ears and feet of the District’s live music aficionados. No matter the scale of the venue, this ensemble maintains an upbeat and retro groove steeped in 70's Funk and Soul, Jazz, Afro-funk and Motown-era pop. Their infectious songwriting and energetic live performances have yielded rewards for the group - such as being named Best Local Original Band by the Washington City Paper and sharing the stage with international and national touring acts such as Burning Spear, The Suffers, Pimps of Joytime, Naughty Professor, The Main Squeeze, Alanna Royale, and Major and the Monbacks.

Rock. Blues. Funk. Shred. Sax.

Bencoolen is a maximalist rock band that includes blues, funk, and soul influences in their sound. The band features soaring vocals, swift sax lines, and huge guitar tones. In name, the band was started in 2014 by Paul Gregg and Teddy Scott as a fun college project with friends, but as months passed into years, the focus of the band shifted from a hobby to a lifestyle. That philosophy change led to repeated lineup changes, rediscovery, and unrelenting inspiration. In the summer of 2016 the lineup finally solidified into the outfit seen on the road today. Ben Suarez, Jack Bentsen, and Will Lockery joined not as guns for hire, but as full fledged members of the Bencoolen family that lived for the stage, the road, the beers, and the story.

The early days of a rock n roll band are painted poetically in the minds of concert goers. Artists face days of struggle, life on the road, and unknowns; but also see great adventure, beautiful stages, and surprising kindness few others find. Bencoolen plays on in their first chapters, riding in a caravan up and down the coast from Georgia and into the North. They rapidly dance between highs and lows. A van stuck in the mud, an encore in a collegetown, a festival stage among a lineup of legends, and a lonely night at the dive. Song ideas sprout up from it all, sax solos fill the night, and ripping guitars stun a passerby into turning his head. The band has moved into bigger and better stages as they have continued to travel. In fact, Bencoolen grabbed a hometown sell out show in Washington DC in September 2018. They have supported tours for Mihali of Twiddle, Marcus King, Spafford, Mungion, Atlas Road Crew, Mondo Cozmo, and Big Something. They have landed major festival slots at Firefly Music Festival in 2017 and at Musikfest in 2018.

The group recently released a single called, “In the End” and just completed mixing of their first full length album. In the single, the rhythm section holds down a tight groove as the song builds around overdriven sax and smooth vocal lines before exploding into a guitar solo. It follows other singles “Spotlight” and “The Crown,” to describe a journey around the world in pursuit of a love long lost, serving as a metaphor for the lost opportunities that we all try to chase down in life. The artwork depicts a desert scene to emphasize how far the journey can take you. The album projects for an early 2019 release.

Be part of the adventure. Catch Bencoolen live.

One No Depression writer described Bencoolen's live act as, “Everything I had hoped for. Their enthusiasm and energy filled the room as the crowd looked on, filling up the venue with a prominent and boisterous vibrancy.”

The Dirty Grass Players

The Dirty Grass Players are an up and coming band with their own spin on bluegrass. They use traditional style vocal harmonies and mix it with a jammy improvisational feel to keep listeners on their toes. They have been playing regionally in Maryland, DC, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Coming from areas all around Baltimore, each player brings a different set of influence to the table.
Alex Berman: banjo/vocals, Ben Kolakowski: guitar/vocals, Alex Tocco: fiddle/vocals, Ryan Rogers: mandolin, Colin Rappa: bass fiddle

Ben, Ryan and Colin and their friend Steve Gallagher had started playing bluegrass together in early 2015. By summer Steve was planning on moving to Nashville and Ben had met Tocco and Berman at Dear Jerry (tribute to Jerry Garcia) and invited them to jam. Once they joined the band, they really began to shape the sound. You can hear influences of traditional bluegrass like Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Del McCoury band, as well as some heavier newgrass like Tony Rice, Infamous String Dusters, and Travelin McCourys. We also have some music that includes jazz style improvisation as well as some group improvisation similar to the Grateful Dead or Railroad Earth.

As they start to play more, their versatility shows in their original compositions and by playing tributes ranging from Old and in the Way to Iron Maiden to James Brown.

Early Bird GA $30 | GA $35 | Premier Plus $50

Tickets

  • All tickets come with complimentary champagne toast @ midnight!
  • Prices increase 11/27 at 12:00 AM
  • Full dinner and drink menu available

  • The Premier Plus section is a raised area with reserved seats and tables. There is a dedicated server for faster service

Who’s Going

Upcoming Events
Union Stage