Summer is finally coming to a close. Schools are back in session, college kids are preparing for their annual migration, and it's time to celebrate the end of the season.
With that in mind, this weekend Plan B hosts 12 bands over two evenings in what's being billed as an "End of Summer Bash," utilizing the club's outdoor stage and sand volleyball pit before retiring indoors to close out each night. Cover is only $8 per night, or $10 for both, for a concert that will showcase some of Tulsa's hardest working acts from a cross-section of the local rock scene.
Although many people may think this seems thrown together at the last minute, I can guarantee you that's not the case. My Solstice's Dustin Howard approached me with the idea and a list of roughly 20 potential bands back in mid May to get an outside opinion on what he was trying to put together.
The lineup on Friday evening, August 15, opens with We Stay Gold at 8pm, proceeded by RadioRadio at 8:45pm, then First Lady Assassins, PDA and Violence to Vegas following every subsequent hour. Friday will then wrap up with Vandevander taking the indoor stage at midnight and continuing on to close the place down.
Saturday night's lineup is just as strong--Theory of Tomorrow kicks things off at 7pm, followed by Here is There at 7:45pm and Swampfox at 8:30pm. Congress of a Crow, My Solstice and The Effects finish out the evening, taking the main stage at 9:30pm, 10:30pm and 11:30pm, respectively.
Local favorites Eye Candy Burlesque will keep the evening hopping as they close out the bash with a show on the indoor stage at midnight on Saturday for the 21-and-over crowd.
When discussing the lineup and inspiration for the show, Howard admitted that it mostly boiled down to calling up some friends to get the bands on board, but each band was considered primarily for its work ethic as much or more than its popularity.
"There are a lot of good Bands in Tulsa playing different kinds of music, which I think the lineup shows," said Howard. "I tried to get a few indie rock bands on the bill as well. I e-mailed Callupsie (who is currently on tour) and Cecada and a few others, but none of them ever got back to me."
Hard Work Rewarded
"When you go to something like Dirty Carny," he continued, "it's cool, but you've got 20 or 30 bands that don't promote their shows very well or just don't know how. I was out yesterday, flyering in 105 degree heat with a staple gun."
"Out of everyone involved," Howard went on, "These are all bands that want to work hard and want to do something with their music. We almost called it 'Tulsa Bands Unite!', but that just sounded too lame. This is really about the bands that are going out there and actually doing something to make progress and help the local music scene."
If this showcase vaguely reminds you of the Tulsa Original Music showcase held at the Cain's Ballroom with Z104.5, The Edge, there's a good reason why. The concept for that show was originally conceived by Howard and My Solstice band mate, Tom Pritner, after a show last August. In fact, I remember discussing the idea with Howard last September as he was trying to figure out how he might be able to get The Edge involved and get some promotion for local bands.
As fate would have it, a close friend of the band, Ashley McManus, was working an internship at The Edge and helped present the idea to station management, who then got on board and ran with it.
According to the guys in My Solstice, that's exactly why the so many local bands are doing so well.
"People like Ashley, who are at nearly all of the local shows, are a huge asset to the local music scene," Solstice singer Brandon Davis told me recently. "Without people like her getting involved, a lot of local bands would be doing nearly as well as they are right now."
Even though the original TOM showcase was an overwhelming success, a couple of the more recent shows haven't done nearly as well.
"That's because they're not in the trenches, they're in the office," explained Howard. "We're more than grateful for the airplay, but they don't know what's really going on. People like Ashley are out there almost every night, helping make things happen. If you want to get involved, get involved. There's a lot of good shit going on."
If you overlooked many of the local bands at Dfest or just want another peek at some of the hardest working bands on the local rock scene, you can get another glimpse this weekend at Plan B. The outdoor stage allows it to be an all-ages show, although the evening's wrap-ups are located on the indoor stage and cater to the 21-and-over crowd. If you get hold of any of the participating bands, you can get your two-night ticket in advance for $8, as opposed to $10 at the door.
Get Your Polka (and Whatever Else) On
Just this summer, the Matheos brothers took over the old Mooch and Burn, giving it a spit shine and a few updates and preparing the venue to return to action as The Marquee. Things are back in full swing this weekend as Denton, Texas, natives Brave Combo take the stage and get the dance floor moving this Friday evening, August 15.
Founded in 1979, Brave Combo was originally pegged as a New Wave polka band for combining a dancy, post-punk energy with a polka and swing band sound. Though the group has won two Grammys in the category and is still often considered a polka band, to consider it just that would be to sell Brave Combo awfully short. This is more of a no-holds-barred party band.
Yes, polka is a part of the package, but the group also throws in some rock band attitude to stir up a mix of jazz, swing and Latin rhythms as well, to make things even more interesting. Fortunately, The Marquee is a big room with a sizeable stage, leaving room for fans to dance and enjoy the show, much like the citizens of Springfield did when Brave Combo appeared as Oktoberfest headliners on The Simpsons in 2004.
If you're looking to dance, drink, have fun and blur genre lines, don't miss the biggest party in town with Brave Comb at The Marquee on Friday, August 15. Tickets are only $10 and your dancing shoes will thank you.
Though summer is wrapping up, things aren't slowing down. In fact, it seems Tulsa has finally gotten its breath back after the downtown blowout that was Dfest. There are a ton of shows around town this week, so hare are just a few highlights to get you pointed in the right direction.
If you're feeling nostalgic for an '80s fix, or if you're still addicted to the soaps and General Hospital, it's worth noting that Rick Springfield is playing the Osage Event Center at Million Dollar Elm Casino this Thursday, August 14. Springfield's got a new CD out and is doing a pretty good job of finding a balance between modern pop and his classic '80s sound with Venus in Overdrive. You can sample it live at 7pm. Tickets start at $15.
If you've gotten this far, you're already aware of Friday's two biggest shows, but if you're looking for something different, you can chill out with Brian Parton at Capella's, get your indie fix with Fiawna Forte at Soundpony or let Roger Alan Wade reveal your country leanings at Mercury Lounge on August 15.
Also on Friday night, Pillar officially opens Venue 68 with Capital Lights, Kessler, Thoroughfare and Theodress Avery. Illusionist Jared Hall and comedian Daren Streblow will help keep things moving between sets at Asbury United Methodist's new youth center. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door for the 7pm show.
Saturday, August 16, is a great opportunity to check out the Rose Bowl Event Center on 11th Street, if you haven't already, as JFK Reloaded and Street Light Fight take the stage. Other Saturday options include Sworn Against and Flatline at The Pinkeye, GHOSTS at EXIT 6C and South 40 with a free show at the Jenks Riverwalk.
Sunday night music fans will want to head downtown for the action to catch 12 Stones, Royal Bliss and Your Final Thought at Bob's for $12, Red Headed Step Children at Soundpony or The Lifers at Exit 6C.
Finally, eclectic guitarist/multi-instrumentalist David Lindley will be playing a Tuesday night show at The Blank Slate on August 19. Tickets are only $20 for what will be an impressively intimate show of musicianship.
Of course, after the show, you can always shuffle down the sidewalk to close out your night with acoustic sets by Dustin and Brandon at Capella's or Beau and Wink at McNellie's.
Whatever you do, be safe and enjoy the weather while you celebrate the close of summer.
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