Can you have too much of a good thing? Week by week, it gets harder to sort through and pick a single show to give a glimpse of what's going on in our booming local music scene. Between local bands and the national tours that Tulsa attracts, there's a little something for everyone's taste. This week, however, the show that piques our interest the most, just may be the one that gives a brief glimpse into our musical future.
It's nothing new to see Cain's Ballroom, 423 N. Main, host a charity event or Battle of the Bands, but Friday night, November 21, the "Riverfield Rocks the Cain's" show adds a different twist. For those not familiar, the Riverfield Country Day school is fully accredited academy located in Southwest Tulsa providing individualized instruction and integrated curriculums for pre-school through high school prep courses.
Part of the freedom of that curriculum flexibility has included the development of the state's only comprehensive in-school rock band programs. True, there are music schools in town (Tulsa Music Academy, Brook Fine Arts and Barthelmes Conservatory) that pair up students of compatible skill levels to perform together. But Riverfield is the first to offer this option as part of an accredited school curriculum. Look at it this way: how psyched would you have been to be in a rock band instead of the marching band in high school and still get class credit for it?
Next Big Thing
This is the fourth year for the program, which director Paul Knight developed. Using modern and classic rock, Knight teaches the fundamentals of music theory, performance and composition in a manner that challenges each student's development on an individual basis. As part of the program, five bands comprised of middle school and high school students perform a handful of concerts, most notably Café Night (at the school) in December and an annual spring street party.
This year, however, the school teamed with Cain's Ballroom to present the first annual "Riverfield Rocks" show to provide students an opportunity to perform on a large stage with professional sound and lights.
This year's inaugural show includes eight bands total: five of which rehearse and perform as part of the Riverfield curriculum, and three more that include Riverfield students, but rehearse at Brook Fine Arts.
Wanting this to be more than just a performance opportunity, however, the school and students found a way to make this weekend's show part of a bigger service project (community service is also a part of the school curriculum), by making it a benefit for the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma. The show is open to anyone with a suggested donation of canned food items or $2 at the door, which goes directly to the food bank.
In an effort to get additional people and schools outside of Riverfield involved in the show, the school contacted other area schools in a challenge of sorts to help the canned food drive. Tickets will be handed out at the door for canned food items, which can then be deposited in boxes at the front for the appropriate schools, with trophies to be awarded to the schools that donate the most canned food items.
Doors open at 6:30pm with the concert starting at 7pm. The lineup features student acts Millhouse, The Magical Lightbulb Emporium, Velcro, Lemonade Intensity, En Fuego, The Rumbling Nancies, The Gimps and Feedback. Expect a mix of covers with a few original compositions. Who knows? You may also get an early glimpse of the next round of hotshots on local stages just a few years out.
Take it on the Road
If you've ever been curious about Christian music festivals like Cornerstone in Illinois, you've got an opportunity this week to follow up. One of the most well established festivals of the Christian music circuit, The Creation Festival, is taking the show on the road this fall -- albeit in a condensed form. "Creation Festival: The Tour" stops at the SpiritBank Event Center Thursday night, November 20, for a night full of music, speakers and more.
If you could take a full day at the festival site and compact it into four and a half hours, it would probably turn out similar to what you'll see in Bixby this week with nine nationally touring bands and top tier youth speaker, Bob Lenz, sharing a brief message mid-way through the evening.
Ironically enough, when the tour hits town, however, the biggest response may not even be for the evening's main headliners, Kutless, but for Pillar and Capital Lights, who are both from the Tulsa area.
Tickets are priced in three tiers: $15.50, $19.50 and $25.50, and doors open at 5pm. The "pre-show" music is scheduled to begin at 5:15pm with Esterlyn and Capital Lights each performing to get the audience warmed up and in the mood before the main stage kicks off around 6pm.
Tooth and Nail artist Run Kid Run then kicks off the main stage, followed by KJ-52 (who will reported MC the evening), Fireflight, Worth Dying For, Thousand Foot Krutch, Pillar and Kutless.
The festival is a great sampling of Christian rock's upstart and its established bands, all for one low price. If nothing else, Pillar always puts on a great show, which is worth the price of admission by itself. The show is an opportunity to check out the band's latest lineup, as bassist Michael Wittig and drummer Lester Estelle recent stepped out for personal and family commitments.
Tickets are still available at the door and discounts can be arranged for youth groups (One free ticket with 10 purchased) by calling 369-9360.
Although many music lovers haven't realized it yet, this is one of the biggest weekends of the season for Tulsa. Before we hit the large shows, however, let's get the weekend started on a positive note.
Of course, Thursday's biggest gig (and best value) is the aforementioned Creation Fest show in Bixby. If Christian rock isn't your thing, but swilling beer is, however, you'll probably want to head downtown. It's the third week of the month, which means Cairde na Gael will be at Arnie's for Guiness and Irish tunes. And any Thursday can be enlightening if you make your way upstairs at McNellie's for an evening with Dustin & Jesse's Higher Education. You never know who may be sitting in with them, but you can be guaranteed a great night of tunes.
Friday night is busy downtown with a handful of good shows all within walking distance. The metal crowd will be drawn to the Blue Dome Diner for Acropolis, Native War, A Breath Worth Taking, Antidoto, Inoperable and more for only $8 at the door. Just across the street, Philip Zoellner will be at Arnie's with a more organic take on pop-rock and a sneak peek at his new disc, which you'll hear more about next week. (The CD release party will be Thanksgiving night at Bob's, so mark your calendar now.)
Across the tracks, The Marquee hosts Denny Schmickle's art show with music by Unwed Sailorm, while La Panther Happens and The Frontier Brothers play the Soundpony. Meanwhile, down at 18th and Boston, Mercury Lounge hosts Jeremy Johnson and the Lonesome Few.
Perhaps the most interesting local show Friday night is at Exit 6C with a pair of local regulars, PDA and My Solstice, sharing the stage with visiting Kansas City band Pomeroy. While PDA's got the rap end of the spectrum covered and My Solstice touches on melodic modern rock, Pomeroy blends the two with a blend of electronic dance and modern pop rock. It should actually make for a cool evening of original tunes by three bands that are all ready to be sent to radio.
While Saturday night's smaller shows are interesting enough on their own - Klipspringer with Acoustic Ross at Soundpony, Blues Dogs at Arnie's and Electric Rag Band at Mercury Lounge - they all pale in comparison to the weekend's two biggest shows. At the BOK Center on Saturday, Nine Inch Nails tears things up with a tour that has been largely overlooked but drawing reviews as one of Reznor's best shows in years. Make sure you check out Josh Kline's up-close-and-personal interview with NIN on page 44. Meanwhile, at Cain's Ballroom, Ghostland Observatory brings the party back to town for a glorious encore to its buzz-worthy performance at DFest this past July. You can't go wrong with either show.
The rest of the week wraps up with Willie Nelson at Cain's Ballroom on Sunday night for $55 (Monday's show was recently cancelled), a Monday night show at The Marquee with American Idol alumnus Josiah Leming and local opener Stars Go Dim, and Hinder at the Cain's with Trapt and Rev Theory on Wednesday night, November 26.
That's all for this week, but if you're already looking for an excuse to get out after Thanksgiving dinner, you can plan ahead for the aforementioned Phil Zoellner CD release party at Bob's or Brave Combo's return to The Marquee.
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