About Time. We've been begging for it and we finally got a real rock show at the BOK Center. Metallica hits the stage (in the round, no less) on Tuesday night, Nov. 18 with Down and The Sword opening the show. If you think this isn't a big deal, think again.
Everything old becomes new again, right? That is certainly the case with music. Yes, the face of popular music is constantly changing, but it always seems to work its way back around to its roots especially in blues and R&B.
To that extent, fans of straight-up rock and roll find plenty to rejoice in this weekend as The Effects, Swampfox and Taddy Porter take the stage at Plan B on Saturday evening. Of course, anyone familiar with the local music scene should know The Effects; the band has transitioned from glossy power pop to retro-tinged garage rock with attitude as Joel King and his crew matured from teens to twenty-something rockers.
Likewise, anyone who frequents the clubs should be aware of SwampFox, one of Tulsa's hottest new bands. Chock-full of attitude and smoking guitars, the real highlight is seeing Ben Mosier (formerly of Upside) channel his inner Jimmy Page as the band draws on Zeppelin, Hendrix and an arsenal of classic rock. The music is raw and aggressive.
The lesser known group this weekend, however, is Taddy Porter -- the blues rock combo from Stillwater. Although the band played in town a few times in the spring, DFest proved to be the group's coming out party in Tulsa, and its following has grown rapidly since, winning rock fans from nearly every corner of the local scene. While comparisons can be drawn to modern acts like Jet and The Black Keys, there are also plenty of ties to classic rock and blues, with the band's sound drawing from Zeppelin, Howlin' Wolf and a big dose of Bad Company.
I caught up with drummer Doug Jones via phone last week while the band was on the road for what has become a weekly migration and a sign of just how popular the band is becoming. After playing its first gig more than a year ago, Taddy Porter has already seen enough positive response to be playing nearly every weekend throughout the Oklahoma/Texas/Arkansas region.
According to Jones, the band came together innocently enough with guitarist/singer Andy Brewer coming over while Jones was playing drums with a friend. Brewer strapped on a guitar and it was clear that the two had musical chemistry. From there, they continued to play together discretely for about six months. Eventually Brewer's guitar instructor, Joe Selby, came over to jam with them. As fate would have it, Selby ended up part of the band and, in turn, Doug's brother Kevin stepped up to fill the bass slot, partially because he had played bass previously and he fit right in.
"Everything has all just been happenstance. We didn't even really audition anyone," Jones said. The pieces started coming together."
Jones admitted that, "everything took off really quickly." Not only did the band play its first gig in October of 2007 and received a positive response right out of the gate, the group also started compiling songs in short order with Jones and Brewer starting with a few songs and the others bringing songs in as well.
Then, this past spring, Taddy Porter participated in a Battle of the Bands contest sponsored by The Buzz (94.7FM) in Oklahoma City that proved to be pivotal for the band. "We entered on a whim," Jones said, "and ended up winning out of 64 bands. That gave us money for stuff like shirts and gas -- and to go back into the studio."
Anyone who's already seen Taddy Porter likely has a copy of the band's Monicle EP, which the band made itself in order to have something to give out to fans and start circulating its tunes. The question is, however, which copy do you have? What started out as a six song EP has grown, for the band returned to the studio. Songs were gradually added as time and finances allowed.
More recently, Jones said the band just recently got out of the studio, working with Brandon Inda on newer material that has a more polished and professional sound. "We've already got our second record in the works and haven't even officially gotten the first one out yet..." Jones told me, chuckling slightly. "We're hoping that by January we'll have all the details squared away for the release of our first record."
Although the band has gotten a lot of outside attention on the backs of appearances at the Bricktown Live showcase in Oklahoma City and DFest (not only has the band been contacted by a couple larger management companies, but it has also been shown some initial interest by a few major record labels), for now the band focuses on keeping its momentum going and continuing to build on the foundation that has already been laid by regular gigging and road work.
When asked if he's thought about why the band has received such a warm response, Jones said, "Not really. We just play what we like to play and people have just caught on." As our conversation turned to current modern rock, he said, "When listening to mainstream radio, it doesn't feel like there are many songs with real stories and guitar solos and melodies anymore. I think maybe people are just coming back to music that's more thought out and planned out..."
As a listener, I find the beauty of Taddy Porter to be the blending of elements. The band is obviously grounded in blues and classic rock like Cream, Zeppelin and Bad Company, but there's also more than enough swagger and attitude to keep the band engaged in the current music scene, appealing to fans of everyone from The Black Crowes and Kings of Leon to The Black Keys and Radio Moscow (of which the band will be doing a short tour with this winter).
Saturday night's show definitely showcases local favorites The Effects and Swampfox, but don't be late. If you love rock with soul, Taddy Porter just might steal the show.
Rock and Run
I'm sure plenty of runners and health nuts are familiar with the Route 66 Marathon on Sunday, Nov. 16. While it's a cool event that supports the Tulsa "Million Miles Challenge" to log a million miles of exercise and support a healthier lifestyle, it turns out that the event isn't just a marathon.
If you're up early and ready to rock, even if you aren't running, you can take advantage of the event and check out one of a plethora of local bands playing at checkpoints along the marathon's course.
Nearly 30 acts perform Sunday morning with highlights including Calling Matthew at Avery Plaza (11th and Riverside); TJ McFarland, Dante Schmitz and Steve Lidell sharing the stage at 41st and Riverside in River Parks; My Solstice and Swampfox at the 96th and Riverside bridge; Cody Clinton and the Bishops at the Oklahoma Aquarium; Phil Zoellner, South 40 and Travis Kidd at Woodward Park; and Tranny, Steve Conrady and The Revival at Hideaway Pizza on Cherry Street. The race wraps up at Veteran's Park and includes a full concert with The Effects and Crossland. Get your laces tied tight or just slip on your house shoes. Visit route66marathon.com for more.
It's another busy week in Tulsa, capped with a pair of important shows at the BOK Center. Never fear. We've got the highlights to get you pointed out the door and to the show.
The week starts off with Celine Dion at the BOK Center on Thursday night, November 13. Whether you're a fan on not, this is a significant show if only because it was the first high profile show they secured for our new arena and we scored one of only 45 shows on a very limited tour. The show officially sold out long ago, but the promoter released a few extra seats last week, so there's a chance you can still get in.
Friday night sees the "Disco Balls and Blowup Dolls Tour" with Metro Station, Tyga, White Tie Affair and CashCash stop at Cain's Ballroom with a $16 ticket. Of course, if you're more into modern rock, you can catch local boys Dogsway with The Revival and Hector Backwoods at Exit 6C, while southern and blues-rock fans can settle in at Mercury Lounge with Fat Dixie.
Saturday night, November 15, is the busiest night in town with something for everyone. Pop rock fans will do best to hit the Cain's Ballroom for Plain White T's and Meg & Dia for only $22. Even better - they've added on two local acts, giving Milo's Fare and My Solstice a shot on the big stage, so go show them some love. If you're more into the earnest singer/songwriter thing, you can't go wrong at The Marquee on Saturday evening. DFest alumnus Amos Lee headlines with support from rising star Priscilla Ahn. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are $25 at the door for what will be a great show in an intimate venue.
If you're more into the local scene, indie dance-rockers Dance!Robots!Dance! play the Soundpony, while Jesse Aycock brings his soulful mix of blues, pop and psychedelic soul to Exit 6C. And, of course, we've already mentioned the big rock show at Plan B with The Effects, Swampfox and Taddy Porter. Now all you have to do is pick your poison.
Sunday night features shows by Quietdrive at The Marquee and a "3 bands for $3" show at The Pinkeye with Streetlight Fight, Via Dolorosa and Winnebago Terror-Dactyl. If you're looking for something different, give the new kids a look.
Monday night's main show is the Dropkick Murphys at Cain's for $29, but it's only a precursor for the week's biggest rock show.
We've been begging for it and we finally got a real rock show at the BOK Center. Metallica hits the stage (in the round, no less) on Tuesday night, Nov. 18 with Down and The Sword opening the show. If you think this isn't a big deal, think again. The BOK Center's VP of operations admitted last month that this show made Tulsa a legitimate player for the big rock tours. Basically, it's a matter of "if it's good for Metallica, it's good for us." And fortunately, the band even put out a decent album this time. Tickets are steep at $57.50 and $77.50, but should be worth the scratch.
Finally, the week wraps up with a disparate pair of shows. Wednesday night sees Celtic Thunder follow up at the BOK, and Tech N9ne takes on Cain's Ballroom. Like I said, there's something for everyone this week.
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