It's been an especially busy concert season this fall; and it's often easy to get wrapped up in all the big names that come to town, overlooking potential rising stars who visit Tulsa on their quest for fame. As the holidays roll in, however, many of the larger acts are wrapping up their tours, giving us a clear view of the scene as a whole.
One such show stops at Bob's this Thursday evening, December 18, as Oklahoma Greenfest presents Electric Touch with openers Radio Radio and Aranda.
Bursting out of the Austin music scene, Electric Touch channels dance rock with a palpable energy and a vaguely cinematic quality that draws from all points on the pop spectrum: from The Beatles, Bowie and T. Rex to current hit machines The Killers and Snow Patrol. After forming a little over a year and a half ago, the response has been overwhelming, sending the band to major festivals such as SXSW, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and ACL and a string of shows with likeminded Scots, The Fratellis.
I recently caught up with front man Shane Lawlor to see what makes the band tick and what went into its impressive self-titled debut disc, released this past August. What I found was an upbeat Brit heading a somewhat atypical group of Texans that don't feel the need to focus on blues or country.
According to Lawlor, who came to America and followed a girl to Austin, the band formed when he and Chris Leigh met via mutual friends and started hanging out. "Inevitably, the guitars came out," he explained. The jamming turned into songwriting and a demo process for the new tunes. "We just went on recording and before we knew it, we were on the road and playing festivals..."
The result was not only a string of shows and festival appearances, but a debut CD that delivers ten tightly wrapped pop confections. The decidedly rock punch and positive energy recalls The Beatles (in part due to Lawlor's Lennon-esque delivery), as well as hints of 80's pop such as INXS, Duran Duran and Simple Minds.
When asked if he had any specific goals in mind while constructing the songs, Lawlor said that "Song-wise, we wanted to keep things simple and not too complicated, so the songs are fairly short and to the point -- fairly economical. Musically, it's a little of everything we like, It just came out naturally."
He mentioned that the tone of the album is more reminiscent of classic 80's pop. Lawlor explained that pop music has taken on a darker tone over the past decade or so, "We like it, but that's not us. We wanted to make music that's more upbeat with a lot of harmonies and a message of love. We want people to have a good time and feel good. Even on the darkest moments of the album, we give people things to think about."
"Rock and roll is about feeling good. That's what we get from it." In turn, Electric Touch's live set translates that energy to let the audience enjoy itself. If you're looking for a good time, this week's show at Bob's should be just the lift you need with opening sets by local boys Radio Radio and OKC act Aranda. The show starts at 8pm and tickets are $15 in advance or $18 at the door.
Check them out now, because you're sure to hear more from them in 2009.
The show is presented by OK Greenfest as part of a series building up to the festival itself, planned for June 26 and 27, 2009 at the River West Festival Park. While it might be a bit early to start thinking about the festival itself, it is worth noting that its concerts make all of the environmentally conscious efforts that the festival does.
According to OK Greenfest founder Barry Durbin, last year's inaugural show, held at Cain's, was the first carbon neutral event held in Oklahoma and was designed to promote environmental themes. "Basically, the idea is reduce what you can and offset what you can't," Durbin explained.
So, the coming festival uses recycled paper products and biodegradable materials on the festival grounds as well as alternative fuels, such as bio-diesel generators for powering the stages. At the end of the day, Durbin also calculates the carbon emissions from the cars at the show and purchases carbon offset credits to compensate. Last year's credits, incidentally, were invested in wind energy farms in Wingate Texas.
This year, Durbin is working with Harry Willis to start a non-profit, the OK Carbon Fund, which focuses on investing the credits back into Oklahoma resources. You'll surely hear more about OK Greenfest and the non-profit's efforts in the future.
If you need a break from your Christmas shopping or just need some decent music to wind down after your company Christmas party, you know where to look. As always, we've got the week's highlights -- Christmas music and all -- to point you in the right direction thru Christmas Eve.
The weekend kicks off early Thursday evening with a few good shows on December 18. If modern pop-rock isn't your thing and you opt to skip the Electric Touch show, you can always slide down the street a few steps to Soundpony for Sleeping in the Aviary or if you're in a more traditional mood catch some Irish Folk tunes and a pint of Guiness with Cairde na Gael at Arnie's.
Friday night's big Christmas show is the Jingle Bell Ball at Cain's with Texas Hippie Coalition, XIT72, Down For Five, Dawn Armada and more. Doors open at 6pm with the show starting shortly thereafter with 10 bands for $15. Other Friday night shows include Johnny Polygon and DJ Green Lantern at The Marquee, Caroline's Spine with Tokyo Jones and Swampfox at Flytrap Music Hall, Jesse Aycock at Arnie's and Jeremy Johnson and the Lonesome Few at Mercury Lounge. You can also get a sneak peek at Ben.Ben's latest with a listening party at Under the Mooch on Friday night at 5:30pm.
Saturday night, December 20 is even busier, perhaps to offset a full day of late shopping. If you're ready to cut loose, all you need to do is point yourself downtown. Once you see the inner circle's profile, you can choose between Coolio with Tone Loc and Shock G (from Digital Underground) at Flytrap Music Hall, Pall Wall with Mars, PDA and Critical Bill at The Marquee or Eli Young Band and Bleu Edmondson at Cain's Ballroom.
If you're looking for your local fix, indie fans can't go wrong at Soundpony with I Said Stop!, while rock fans will want to stop in at Plan B for My Solstice and First Lady Assassins.
Sunday evening's main event is the Ben.Ben CD release show at the Blank Slate with performances at 9pm and 11pm. Also on the calendar are shows by Ali Harter at Soundpony and an interesting combination of Yatagarasu, Wylie Post and Benjamin Lyman at Monolith for $5.
As the week rounds itself out, you can get your Christmas fix with The Rockettes and The Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the BOK Center with 4:30pm and 7:30pm performances on Monday and Tuesday evenings and 12pm and 4:30pm performances on Christmas Eve.
Finally, Hard Work Records is at it again with "Hard Work Winter" at The Marquee on Tuesday, December. Plan on catching Stevedore, Guardant, Recorder, Wighead, DJ Nutter, DanceRobotsDance, I Said Stop! and more for $10.
Share this article: