For more than a decade, bands have been revisiting their older music onstage.
Everyone from Jay-Z to Bruce Springsteen to Weezer has played their early albums from start to finish in front of crowds of cheering fans.
“It’s easy to hate this as an idea. But it’s basically impossible to hate it as a show,” Ross McCammon wrote for Esquire in 2009. “Because if you are familiar with the album — really, really familiar — it’s impossible not to have a good time.”
Now musicians are playing whole albums in tribute to the originals. At this year’s Lockn’, Trey Anastasio and the Tedeschi Trucks Band performed the majority of Derek and the Dominos’ landmark album, “Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs.”
On Saturday, the Lynchburg Music Collective is taking its stab at the trend by playing two popular ’90s albums — Green Day’s “Dookie” and Red Hot Chili Pepper’s “Californication” — from start to finish at Apocalypse Ale Works.
The idea behind the collective, says founder Hunter Overstreet, is not just to play great music, but to help connect musicians in the Central Virginia area.
Through the Lynchburg Music Collective, musicians will form different groups based on their interests and instruments and perform an entire record.
“I kind of wanted to make it sort of like a networking thing,” he says, “... where different musicians that may have heard of each other but not have ever played together get together and do something new.”
Overstreet says he immediately thought of Green Day’s third album when he dreamed up the collective this spring — partly because it was one of the first records he ever owned.
“I was either right before or right into high school when that album came out,” he says of “Dookie,” which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. “I think if CDs were like they were today with the parental advisory label on it, I don’t know if my mom would have gotten it for me.”
The concert expanded to include “Californication,” which turned 20 in June, after fellow musician Casey Wood reminded Overstreet that the 14 tracks on the Green Day album totaled out to less than 40 minutes of music.
“They do work together back to back because they are fun, high energy albums made by bands that both have punk roots, and share a lot of fans,” says Wood, frontman of local band The Ruckus and the only musician in the collective playing both albums. “They complement each other well in contrasts too because ‘Dookie’ is pretty much lighthearted melodic fun the entire time where ‘Californication’ takes listeners on the emotional roller coasters.”
An event like this is all about tapping into nostalgia: “Kind of where you were, how old you were when you first heard the album,” Overstreet says. “I guess it kind of takes people back.”
Music also had a unifying power that can bring different groups across the community together, Wood adds. “You want to share in that nostalgia with other people that have the same feeling that you do.”
If Lynchburg audiences like having that blast from the past, Overstreet and Wood are prepared to keep them coming with musical throwbacks across different genres and decades.
“We’re hoping next time to do a hip-hop album,” says Wood.