D Kevin McNeirLifestyle

D.C.’s ‘We Are One X-Perience’ Sets Birchmere Audience on ‘Fire’

New Single, 'Feel That You're Feelin,' Embodies Soulful Sound of Frankie Beverly & Maze

If you weren’t a ticketholder for one of several hundred seats in the 500-seat capacity, Alexandria-based music hall The Birchmere, you missed one heck of a show.

In fact, the D.C.-based, We Are One X-Perience, a tribute band that performs the songs made famous during the ’70s and ’80s by Frankie Beverly & Maze, had the audience clapping hands, snapping fingers, swaying, singing and reminiscing about the “good old days.”

Fortunately, given the prowess, power and engaging stage presence displayed by this band, led by D.C. native Paul Bumbry, 62, who sounds a lot like Frankie Beverly and even sports the signature baseball cap, the “good old days” continue today.

From start to finish, We Are One X-Perience, managed by the District’s legendary promoter and record executive, Darryll Brooks and signed under his label, I Hear Ya! Entertainment, LLC, confirmed why they’re among the cream of the crop in tribute bands.

If you have a favorite Maze song, including “Before I Let Go,” “Back in Stride,” or “Can’t Get Over You,” have no fears – the fellas will belt it out with bass guitars, drums, percussion and synthesizers played to perfection, illustrating their skills as musicians and vocalists.

Under Brooks’ record label, the band recently released a new single, “Feel That You’re Feelin’” which has both an R&B flavor as well as that go-go groove so beloved by thousands of fans here in the DMV.

“We try to capture the essence of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly but of course you don’t want to try to imitate a living legend,” Bumbry said adding that to his knowledge he and his colleagues remain the only Maze tribute band in the U.S.

“We’ve studied the tapes and watched Maze perform and our goal each and every time we perform is to be as authentic as we can,” he said. “Everyone in the group has played in bands for decades so we have the experience. Fortunately for me, my ability to sound like Frankie has proven invaluable to my career.”

El Warren “Spoon” Weatherspoon, the band’s drummer, said the fan base for We Are One X-Perience is both loyal and constantly growing.

“People tell us all the time how much we sound like Maze when they did it 25 years ago,” Weatherspoon said. “We all know that Frankie has had some problems with his throat and voice but he’s still doing his thing. We just want to pay tribute to his legacy while adding our own flavor and style to the mix.”

One fan, Shari Miller, 58, from Capitol Heights, said she has heard the band perform before and keeps coming back for more.

“The drummer is a co-worker and Spoon and his wife are my neighbors so I know them all pretty well,” Miller said. “I come to enjoy myself and I know that they’re going to send me home with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Plus, I like being in an audience where most of the people are my own age and where respect is both required and maintained. The lyrics are gentle and comforting. I can come alone or bring my daughter. Either way, it’s going to be a fantastic experience.”

“The classics they recorded never go out of style,” Weatherspoon added. “And with the chemistry this band has, we’ve been fortunate to sell out most places in which we perform. We’re filling a void and we’re loving the ride along the way.”

Stay tuned for more about We Are One X-perience. Their new single can be purchased on most music platforms including Spotify, YouTube and iTunes.

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D. Kevin McNeir – Senior Editor

Dominic Kevin McNeir is an award-winning journalist with more than 25 years of service for the Black Press (NNPA). Prior to moving East to assist his aging parents, the native Detroiter engineered a transformation of The Miami Times resulting in its being named the NNPA’s “Publication of the Year” in 2011 – just one of several dozen industry-related awards he’s earned in his career. He currently serves as senior editor for The Washington Informer. There, in the heart of the U.S. Capitol, he displays a keen insight for developing front-page news as it unfolds within the greater Washington area, capturing the crucial facts and facets of today’s intriguing, political arena. He has degrees from The University of Michigan, Emory University and Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2020, he received First Place for Weekly Newspaper, Commentary & Criticism, Society of Professional Journalists, Washington, D.C. Pro Chapter. Learn more about him at www.dkevinmcneir.com, Facebook – Kevin McNeir, Twitter - @mcneirdk, Linkedin – D. Kevin McNeir or email: mcneirdk@washingtoninformer.com.

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