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Leesburg-based band taking region’s music scene by storm

Christian Neonakis, lead singer of the band Kid Brother. Courtesy photo/Kid Brother

For Christian Neonakis, playing to packed crowds as the front man of the band Kid Brother is a far cry from growing up in woodlands near to Baltimore.

“I grew up in a cabin living with my mother and sister. We were pretty poor,” Neonakis, now a Leesburg resident, said. “It was a lot of fun, but it was like a culture shock moving here. When I moved down to Northern Virginia two or three years ago, I'd never really experienced anything quite like this area.”

Neonakis, 28, didn't think he would continue to play music after his move, but he soon met three friends who would turn out be his bandmates: drummer Sam Athanas, guitarist Dylan Savopolous and Lindsey Cook on the keyboard. Cook and Savopolous, also from Leesburg, frequented the bar where Neonakis was working and talked about playing music. Later, bassist Chris Peters joined the equation, and the five formally got together last June. Kid Brother was born.

“People have been just so supportive. We had some bedroom recordings, and we played them to people we knew, and we were practicing, and people were like ... you need to get out and play shows. There's not a lot of places to play around here so we will play wherever will have us,” Neonakis added.

The band's first show was at Lost Rhino Resort in Ashburn, where they played to a packed audience. Soon, other breweries and businesses in the area were locking them down for gigs. Recent venues have included Black Cat D.C., Jammin' Java, DC9, Clarendon Grill, Velvet Lounge, McDowell's, Vino 9 and The Pinch.

The band recorded their album, “Baltimore Street Rat,” locally at M80 recording studios in Purcellville, which opened at the end of last summer.

Studio owner Pete Durand saw the band play live and said he was immediately impressed by their talent.

“I hadn't heard anything from this area that was this good. I was blown away by them,” Durand said.

Durand and his business partner produced and recorded the band's album over a four-month period.

“We wanted to put our name on the album. It was like a labor of love. It was one of the most difficult products to mix ever because we wanted to get it just right. When we were finished we were so happy with the recording,” Durand said.

Neonakis noted, “'I've been playing in bands since I was 16 -- some were good, some were not. It's become like a second full-time job. Essentially we put out the album, and I have never been happier with anything I have ever done musically. The album has been really successful through social media. It's on iTunes, Spotify, every platform you can get it on.”

The video for their song “Pastels,” also recorded at M80, secured nearly 3,000 views on Facebook in the first week of its release.

Kid Brother is now looking ahead to summer and fall festivals.

Their latest show at Lost Rhino sold out. Neonakis said he couldn't believe it – nor could his family – when the crowd began belting out his lyrics louder than he was.

“I looked at my mom and sister who were there. Every word I've ever written really goes back to my childhood and goes back to us three, only really having each other,” he said.

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