The latest addition to Tulsa's musical landscape, Stars Go Dim, is a band I've had my eye on for more than a year now. Spawned from another band's working relationship, this group has developed slowly, finding its own identity and sound, separate from the members' other endeavors.
The development process has been interesting, albeit non-traditional. Even before the band released any songs, Stars Go Dim opened a MySpace account and documented the group's growth, via a series of video postings, from the early stages (including an initial band meeting) through writing and recording up to the band's live debut, opening for Switchfoot this weekend at The Otherside.
Along the way, the band picked up a sizable following of fans who feel connected to the band, based on the group's online networking via Myspace, Facebook, Youtube and Purevolume Web sites. To date, Stars Go Dim has added over 16,000 "friends" on Myspace before playing its first official show.
Part of that loyal and quickly growing fanbase might also seem less shocking when you realize that the band's rhythm section, bassist Michael Wittig and drummer Lester Estelle, are also principal members of Pillar, the Christian hard rock band. What will take you by surprise, however, is the fact that Stars Go Dim shares little else with their primary band. Instead of delving into powerful hard rock and arena anthems, as Pillar does, SGD explores a more subtle pop and R&B territory.
I spoke with guitarist and principal songwriter Joey Avalos recently to get a better picture of the band and catch up with its activity in advance of the group's debut this weekend.
"It's an interesting situation," Avalos told me. "Stars Go Dim has not progressed as a normal band, per se, would. I was basically a hired gun in Pillar (as second guitarist on the Where Do We Go From Here tour) and we talked about doing a fun project..."
"Mike always said it would be fun to do something totally different from Pillar, so we messed around with different styles, not knowing exactly what would come of it. I write songs of all different styles: country, pop, rock, whatever comes out, so we just played around with those. We didn't even know who would sing."
That issue was resolved when Pillar played a showcase and brought in Chris Cleveland to help on keyboards and background vocals for the performance.
"At that point, it wasn't really a 'band' yet--mostly just Chris and I writing together," Avalos explained. "We've spent the last year and a half just writing songs and over a year before releasing our first single (online, of course) in November."
Meet the Stars
"Everybody in the group has laid back personalities and we specifically wanted to keep it simple and keep it fun," he continued. "Some people hate pop music because it's simple, whereas some people are trying to be artistic and out there. I'm a firm believer that a good song can stand on its own, though, and doesn't have to be too difficult."
"The pop crowd loves a good song with good melodies," Avalos went on, expounding upon the subject. "With a good pop song, you can listen to it without doing homework to understand the lyrics or put it in context. The basis of that is simple songs and simple melodies."
"I love the art form of doing that," Avalos revealed. "That's a gift, right there, to be able to grab people's attention like that."
Even when performing and looking to have fun, the band doesn't do anything half way. Not many bands get the opportunity to make their debut opening for a band like Switchfoot--at what will potentially be a sold out show on Friday, March 28.
If you've been following the band to date, you should already have your tickets in hand. If not, this is a local pop band you'll want to keep your eyes on. My Solstice and Athlete will be filling out the bill.
Tickets are $26 at the door or $22 in advance at Starship Records and Vintage Stock locations or online at okctickets.com.
We've got a ton of shows in town this weekend, from touring acts to local boys. If you're having a hard time deciding what to do, we've got a few highlights to get you headed out the door. Here's what we've got to look forward to this week:
Thursday night's big shows are on the opposite ends of town. If you're into acoustic guitar based pop and rock, you'll want to find your way to The Continental to check out Tulsa transplant Eric Himan rolling material from his new disc, Resonate, during his local release party. Looking to the south, Hawk Nelson's "Green T Tour" rolls into The Otherside with Run Kid Run and Capital Lights (formerly AfterEight) opening the show. Tickets are $15.
On Friday, PDA will be playing at Crush Lounge with Critical Bill, Sworn Against, Theory of Tomorrow, Kawnar and Astoria.
Amongst others downtown are The Uptown Horns at The Continental, Mike Hosty Duo at Plan B and Jesse Aycock at Arnie's. The Cain's Ballroom will also be hopping with Pitbull, Play-n-Skillz and Colorblind. Tickets for the Cain's show are $29 and doors open at 8pm.
On Saturday evening, March 29, Jason Boland and the Stragglers take the Ballroom stage with Mama Sweet opening the show at 9pm, Dance!Robot!Dance! plays the Soundpony, and My-Tea Kind lets loose at Exit 6C while The Brisbanes, Taddy Porter and Autumn Shade take over at The Continental.
Sunday night, March 30, is fairly quiet, but worth venturing out if you're into twisted bluegrass as Split Lip Rayfield plays Bob's at 8:45. Afterwards, you can take a few steps down the sidewalk to close out the night with Klondike 5 at the Soundpony.
Finally, the week wraps up with the "Five for 5" tour at The Crush Lounge, featuring Dizmas, Children 18:3, Breaking the Silence, Kessler and Cayelio on Monday, March 31, and Black Tide with Crooked X and Ganem at Bob's on Wednesday, April 2.
As always, have a good week and I'll see you at the show!
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