In the words of our newly inaugurated president, we’re in the middle of a dark winter — and the music fans who’ve endured barely-above-freezing temperatures outside know that better than most. Although for local acts that are still trying to find their groove in the region’s music scene, such as Lady Limbo, they couldn’t be more thankful that they can still perform at places like Falls Church Distillers this Friday night.
Formerly known as Tragic Schoolbus, the now-renamed Lady Limbo will also be featuring a new bassist and drummer for the band once it performs this weekend. Previous members Joe (on drums) and Andy (on bass) moved to Centreville and Salt Lake City, Utah, respectively, requiring lead man Tim Harmon to find some replacements.
Luckily, the popularity of Tragic Schoolbus and Harmon’s role as the bassist in Jehovah’s Favorite Choir allowed him to tap into his network to find replacements. What will be hard to find, however, is the chemistry that he had with Joe and Andy.
“It’s not necessarily hard to recruit, but it’s hard going from playing with people who you played with for one to two or even three and four years,” manager Sara Jordan said, who is dating Harmon and is also the events coordinator at Falls Church Distillers (a helpful connection for the group.) “You have that sound together. And you know how each other play, what you play and you know what you’re good at. So I think the hard part is finding how everyone gels.”
Jordan came on as the group’s manager toward the end of 2019 while working at the distillery, and has seen the band’s sound evolve. What has been anchored in psychedelic rock akin to the Grateful Dead, now incorporates elements of Latin rock as well as the sounds of the 1960s. Most of all, Lady Limbo tries to stay loose on stage to leave room for improvisation and make the band both fun to listen to and be a part of.
It’s been (predictably) difficult for the group to show off its talents during the pandemic. Shows that were in Washington, D.C. at venues like Bossa Bistro & Lounge and DC9 haven’t been available for them since last spring.
Fortunately, Lady Limbo has been able to land gigs at the State Theatre in town and a typically competitive spot at JV’s Restaurant right outside of City of Falls Church’s limits. Those breaks helped them generate some positive momentum from there.
“The hardest step with a lot of venues is getting that first foot in the door. And then once you’ve played there, they know you and you know them, it’s a little easier after that,” Jordan said, who at the same time wants to make sure they are landing paid gigs — which is tough for the small businesses that host them.
“Figuring out how to navigate those obstacles and build these professional relationships with venues and not jeopardize anything that could put us or them in a tough spot is definitely challenging, but everywhere we’ve played has been super supportive,” Jordan added.
For now, the connections at Falls Church Distillers allow it to be a home base, of sorts, for Lady Limbo.
And Jordan said owner Michael Paluzzi has not only been welcoming of the band she manages but also of her interest in music management. It’s been a bright spot in a dark winter indeed.
Lady Limbo will play at Falls Church Distillers on Friday at 6 p.m. For more information, visit fcdistillers.com.