Let's face it, everyone falls into a rut now and again -- even me. Where we eat, what we watch on TV, where we hang out, and what we listen to: you know the drill. While there's nothing wrong with having a comfort zone to fall back into, it's also good for us to change things up on occasion.
That's especially true when supporting local bands. Yes, everyone needs a loyal fan base that they can count on to always be there, but they need exposure to pick up some new fans as well.
The question on the listener's side of the stage is a matter of picking whom to try next. After all, if you're a pop fan, you probably don't want to stumble into a death metal show unaware, or as a hip hop fans you're not likely to enjoy the second coming of the Dixie Chicks.
So where to start? Local musicians have long been trying different ways to network and reach more music fans, using a variety of methods, especially online. One local music website, Tulsa Music Pulse (www.tulsamusicpulse.com), started up roughly three years ago and was particularly active, mostly with the message board and interplay between musicians and local "scene-sters", before slowing down to a slow fizzle.
TMP has recently gotten a facelift, including a fairly up-to-date show calendar listing on the main page, and the forums/message boards have come back to life a bit, even if activity on them seems to be a little sporadic. Still, it's a good place to stop in and see what local shows are going on.
In the interim, another group, Tulsa Original Music Coalition, spun out of the TMP crowd and started its own myspace page (www.myspace.com/localmusictulsa) as a way to network between bands and try to reach a new segment of listeners.
Established last June, one of the group's primary goals was to create a free CD sampler of local bands that would be made available at strategic locations to reach open minded (and cheap) music fans.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the first such project finally hit the shelves of select local establishments and I must say, the group has done a nice job of showcasing a good cross-section of hometown artists and styles. Tulsa Music Compilation, Volume 1 gives listeners a little taste of rock, hip-hop, singer-songwriter pop and Americana.
The highest profile acts on the disc are PDA, with "Get Together" (the single that's been dominating Homegroan since the fall), and Brandon Clark Band with "San Antone", which give the disc a country flavored cut but isn't most representative of the band's current sound.
Optimistic to a Fault has also been playing enough recently to establish its identity and "Pride of Youth" is representative of the groove-oriented material on the band's current EP, even if OTF delivers it's material a lot heavier live than the CD suggests.
The real victory of the disc is the fact that it is creating some exposure for a number of otherwise unknown or under-appreciated artists from the area.
The band Esther opens the disc with "Big Screen TV", a catchy garage-rocker, and Waiting on One makes a solid case that straight-forward rock & roll isn't dead with "Mystery".
As a key artist on the disc, Shannon Thomas' songwriting finally takes front and center as "Always Never" showcases her Vanessa Carlton/Michelle Branch style and impressive vocals.
Other featured acts are acoustic-folkie Ira Burton ("Extinction"), experimental and indie rockers Plastic Souls ("Someone") and Neverdyingsummer ("Still in Love"), and acoustic pop singer Patrick Coman ("Little Girl").
The most impressive of the unknown quantities, however, are Tim Casey and Kawnar. Casey's "Take It" is an electronic-ambient instrumental that draws inspiration from Tangerine Dream, Yellow and Kraftwerk and steps outside of what most people have come to expect from local music.
Meanwhile, Kawnar's "Cocaine" is the surprise treasure of the bunch. Grounded by slick beats and a simple, yet catchy guitar sample, Kawnar's slick rhyming immediately evokes Speech, Young MC, and early US3 as he declares that "Myspace is starting to become my cocaine..."
If you want to check out a few new and different local acts, Tulsa Music Compilation Vol.1 is on display and available for free at the following locations: Starship Records (13th and Lewis), Under the Mooch (15th and Harvard), Lee's Records (61st and Sheridan), and Guitar Center (71st and Mingo).
A couple of the locations have already gone through the first batch of discs, but they should be restocked this weekend with a second printing, so check back in a couple of days if you can't find it immediately.
While you're at it, don't hesitate to check out www.myspace.com/localmusictulsa and Tulsa Music Pulse to find the latest online listings for local shows and browse your way to finding even more local music.
Of course, UTW will continue do its best to keep you informed, but there's always more out there -- you just have to go find it.
That's right -- the deadline is rapidly approaching for Urban Tulsa Weekly's annual SXSW Essay Contest. We really want you to go to the Big Show. But you have to show us something first, namely that you have the passion, the desire, and, an ability to put it into words.
If you can write and think you deserve passes to this year's music conference and festival in Austin, you've only got a few more days to submit your essay and prove your worth.
You've got 500 words (or less) to tell us why you should be UTW's guest correspondent to the biggest showcase in the land. Make sure you include which Tulsa band you would send to Austin to represent T-town and why.
If you are the lucky winner, you'll get two passes to the SXSW music festival, from March 14-18 in Austin, TX. All we want in exchange is for you to report back on the experience once you return.
With more than 1,300 bands performing over four days, your hardest decision will be where to begin.
The deadline for submissions is this Monday, February 19, so get busy writing and get it in the mail this weekend or e-mail your entry to email@example.com with "SXSW Essay" in the subject line. My reservations are set. I'll see you in Austin!
Wow! After a few weeks with local artists taking the spotlight, we've got a handful of touring artists stopping in Tulsa to highlight our weekend. Most prominently, Cain's Ballroom is hopping with four nights of concerts in a row, covering everything from emo and alt-rock to country to rap.
On top of that, the Jazz Hall of Fame kicks off its spring concert this season to add some extra flavor to our local scene, so I'd better get down to business.
There's bound to be no parking on N. Main Street tonight (Thursday, Feb. 15) as Cain's hosts the sold out AFI show with openers Sick of It All and The Dear & Departed.
If you don't already have tickets and plan on trying your hand with the scalpers, plan on making a quick stop to sell some plasma and dragging your kid brother along (as trade bait) to try and barter you way in... Good luck!
John Reuben is at The Otherside on February 15 (again, tonight) with The Wedding, Deas Vail and Edinbergh. Tickets are $10 and doors open at 6pm with the show starting at 7pm.
On Friday night, February 16, contemporary Christian station KXOJ celebrates its 30th Birthday with Mercy Me in concert at the Mabee Center. Aaron Shust opens the show and Audio Adrenaline is also on the bill, making its final Tulsa appearance as part of the band's "Farewell" tour. The show starts at 7pm and ticket prices range from $15 to $27.50.
Over in Broken Arrow, CJ Maloney's has been booking live music over the weekends and building a nice crowd over the past couple of months. This Friday night should be even bigger yet as CJM plays host to a CD release party for local sweetheart, Jenny Labow. (See page xx). Cover is $5 and the show starts at 10pm.
Irish/Gaelic carousers Cairde na Gael will be leading the revelry at Arnie's bar and Mike Hosty Duo plays at The Continental, both on Friday night. Meanwhile, indie-rock fans will flock to The Soundpony to hear Pacemaker or Mooch & Burn for Purple Cow Story.
And of course, Red Dirt and outlaw country fans should turn out in full force at The Cain's Ballroom on February 16 for Jason Boland and the Stragglers with Red Dirt Rangers.
Boland is touring behind his latest CD, The Bourbon Legend, and tickets are $14 in advance or $16 at the door for a show that starts at 8pm.
On Saturday night, February 17, the Ballroom is rockin' again as the 2007 Take Action! tour stops in Tulsa. This show marks the return of headliners Red Jumpsuit Apparatus along with support acts Emery, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, A Static Lullaby and Kaddisfly.
Tickets are $21 and 10% of ticket sales for the tour are donated directly to Youth America Hotline!, 1-877-YOUTHLINE (968-8454), a young adult crisis and suicide prevention hotline. Doors open at 6pm with the show starting at 7pm. Show up and rock out for a good cause!
Just a short hop away, Mooch & Burn has Hotlanta, Skyline Picture Show and Engine Orchestra to satisfy the indie crowd and a couple of bands from the aforementioned Tulsa Music Compilation disc, Plastic Souls and Neverdyingsummer, play at Deadtown Tavern with LIFE on E on Saturday night, starting at 10pm.
Also downtown, blues fans can enjoy 2 generations of axe-slingers with Dustin Pittsley and Steve Pryor at Arnie's Bar. Meanwhile, over at the Continental Club, doors open at 9pm for Them! Tulsa's "official car show afterparty" with The Susans and rockabilly/jump-blues band High School Caesar. Expect a $5 each of the four shows.
Also on Saturday night, February 17, Mercury Lounge hosts a visit from progressive country, blues and Texas music icon and all-around badass Ray Wylie Hubbard.
RWH is currently touring behind his blues heavy 2006 CD, Snake Farm, and will undoubtedly rattle the glass and cozy up to the bar into the wee hours with the Mercury crowd. Cover is $15, but will be well worth it for this intimate show. Hubbard goes on at 10:30pm.
Tulsa's music scene shifts gears on Sunday night as Tech Nine returns to the Cain's Ballroom with Sub Noize Souljaz, Dead Celebrity Status and Critical Bill in tow for a night of extreme hip-hop. Doors open at 7pm for an 8pm show and tickets are $20.
Sunday, February 18 also marks beginning of the Jazz Hall of Fame's spring concert series with the annual Jazz Keyboard Concert. This year's event features local piano wizards Chuck Gardner, Spencer Sutton, Jon Glazer, Sonny Gray, Pat Moore, Donald Ryan and Gayle Williamson.
It's a 5pm show at the Jazz Hall's current digs at the Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N. Greenwood, and tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and college students, and $3 for junior and high school students.
Weeknights, as usual, are quiet around town, but you can take a well-deserved mid-week break on Wednesday evening with Mary Cogan at Vintage 1740, Annie Ellicott at Lola's or The Pearls at the Continental.
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