Anyone who was in Tulsa and remembers the height of the industrial metal scene remembers Tulsa's premier industrial outfit, Jakob. The group built such a strong reputation, from its music and live show that just a mention of a possible show still causes rumblings in Tulsa's musical underground.
It's not often that Jakob makes a return (the group's last gig was more than three years ago for the Make a Scene filming), but when it does, it's an event: An intense and brutal show with a soundtrack to match. But then again, the band wouldn't have it any other way.
Jakob has never really been a club act. The group's first gig was an opening slot for God Lives Underwater at Cain's Ballroom, followed by an opening slot for GWAR. From there, the band became the premier opener any time one of the primarily Chicago-based industrial or metal bands such as My Life with Thrill Kill Cult or Filter came through town and even held a prime spot at EdgeFest before walking away. In fact, the Make A Scene filming was one of the band's few club appearances in its hometown and that show sold out in a mere week.
Founding member Cody Bailey said that although Jakob performs as a five-piece outfit, "the band is basically me and my brother, Chris." After both spent time on the road with other projects in the early '90s, the brothers settled into Tulsa in '96 and formed Jakob, a group that immediately drew an electric response from Tulsa music fans.
By nature of course, the band's rabid following and amazing live show led the group into the studio to record its debut album. But "Here's the funny part," Bailey chuckled. "The minute the record came out, we split up."
The brothers followed an opportunity to relocate to Los Angeles and work with Concrete Blonde, eventually doing some studio and recording work with the group. Once that opportunity ran its course, Bailey once again found himself drawn back to Tulsa as the touring drummer for Leon Russell. Still, timing and the current state of the music scene didn't call for the return of Jakob--until just recently.
So what changed the climate? A few years ago, Bailey went on the road with Gnarls Barkley as the group's Pro Tools engineer. The band's drummer at that time was none other the Chris Vrenna--the original drummer for Nine Inch Nails--and Bailey's primary duties included cleaning up the drum sounds and working triggers and samples for Vrenna as an unseen member of the band and crew.
Even though Vrenna is now keyboardist for Marilyn Manson, he and Bailey have remained in contact with Vrenna showing interest in a revived Jakob project. "Basically, he convinced us to get back on the bandwagon," Bailey said, "so we're reforming and going to see what the response is." Pending an expected positive response, the group will likely go back in the studio with Vrenna and be involved in some capacity.
According to Bailey, when he asked Vrenna if the group would be able to hire him to produce, his response was "Hire me? Let's just make a record!" With a creative and working relationship already in place (Bailey and Vrenna are currently writing a video game soundtrack), Vrenna's involvement seems only natural at his point.
So just how did Jakob end up the headlining act on what's being billed as "Big Rich's 27th Annual Birthday Bash" this weekend? According to Bailey, he was at a party when Rich approached him about playing his birthday party show.
At first, Bailey admittedly balked, but when Rich assured him that this could be a big show, he reconsidered.
"Basically, I got really, really drunk and said 'Sure!'" Bailey laughed. "Then I started putting the bill together."
Jakob is definitely the headliner of the evening, but Bailey made sure the rest of the lineup is nearly as impressive. Commercial hard rock act Stone Cold Sober, from Oklahoma City, will open the show with one of Tulsa's hottest metal acts, Mercy Street filling the middle support slot.
While Stone Cold Sober has played Tulsa recently and is starting to build a following here, this will be Mercy Street's first show since June and its first since the departure of guitarist Jonathan Wilkerson, who left the band for other personal commitments. Nevertheless, the band is prepared for a new chapter and looking forward to finishing up its debut disc and wrapping up a video for the song "She Feeds," which was shot locally by Levi Cathcart of Evilevi Productions and Blue House Media.
When packaged together, the disc and video should position the band to quickly become more active on the live scene and gain the prominence that has been expected since its formation and emergence a year and a half ago.
In case the band lineup isn't strong enough to keep you interested, the evening will be rounded out by a suspension show and DJ Dilation spinning discs to open the evening and keep the party going well into the night.
Holding your interest shouldn't be a problem, however. Jakob's last performance was one of the most intense live shows I've seen in a nightclub in years and Bailey promised this one will be even more impressive as the band won't be sweltering under the near hundred degree temperatures that plagued that Make a Scene video shoot.
In fact, Jakob's headline set promises to be roughly an hour and a half visual and audio assault that will not only include everyone's favorite Jakob songs from the past, but also the added bonus of the band's spin on a few covers. Bailey calls it "an homage to what got us started: Depeche Mode, Ministry, Bad Brains and David Bowie" and assures me it won't be a cheesy take on those songs, but a sign of what inspired the band to begin with, delivered with all the intensity you'd expect from a Jakob show.
Big Rich's 27th Birthday Bash, featuring the return of Jakob with support from Mercy Street and Stone Cold Sober is Saturday night, Jan. 9, at Flytrap Music Hall and tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door with music starting at 8pm. If you're looking for a peek at both the past and future of Tulsa's most intense hard rock acts, you won't want to miss this show.
Tulsa is still a little sleepy following New Years, but there are always shows to be found if you're willing to look around. You can never go wrong by stopping in at a favorite local haunt like Eclipse or The Colony, which features live music every night of the week. If you're looking for the highlight, though, we've got a few pointers to get you headed in the right direction.
Thursday evenings are usually good for settling in with a reliable standing gig and this week is no exception. Best bets include Dustin and Jesse's Higher Education at Eclipse or Cairde na Gael at Arnie's. If you're looking to dance, however, stop in at Soundpony to get your groove on with DJ Sweet Baby Jayzus on Jan. 7.
Friday, Jan. 8, is relatively quiet on the home front, but if you're looking for something different, you can check out Josh Salee featuring Freaksho and The Rumor at The Marquee ($10 at the door) or Poor Paddy at Arnie's with a $5 cover.
Saturday, Jan. 9, is the busiest night of the week by far. Not only can you check out the aforementioned show at Flytrap with Jakob, Mercy Street and Stone Cold Sober, but it's a good night for dancing as well. DJ collective DanceRobotsDance! keeps things moving at Soundpony on Saturday night, while the monthly Assimilation Show at The Marquee is being billed as the "Skinny Puppy Tribute v2.0."
Meanwhile, just down the street from Flytrap, blues fans can rock out with Steve Pryor at Arnie's. If you're a fan of flat picking and great songwriting, however, your best bet is easily the Robbie Fulks/Robbie Gjersoe concert at All Souls Acoustic Coffeehouse with John Russell Fullbright opening the evening. Tickets are $15 and you can check out more information on Fullbright and the show on page 43.
Finally, the week wraps up with a couple of shows at Bob's as Cain's starts to awaken from its annual holiday break. Sunday night, Jan. 10, it's the Punk'D show with Madewell, Streetlight Hero, Kick Tree, The Dull Drums, The Defects and First Lady Assassins for $12 at the door with a 6:30pm show.
Monday night proves to be the stealth gig of the week as 100 Monkeys plays a club sized gig in Bob's. This band was already starting to make waves as an eclectic indie-rock act, but the buzz is only growing crazier as word gets out the Jackson Rathbone (Jasper in the Twilight series) is in the band. Expect an entertaining clash of indie rock and teen girls for your $19 ticket.
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