There's a time for everything: time to rock out, a time to chill out and a time to dance. It's easy to find a good rock show in town; and with the latest round of jam bands floating through Tulsa, there's been plenty of opportunities to chill. Perhaps it's time to dance...
Admittedly, I'm no dancer (too old, too white), but we've got a gig coming up this weekend that's too intriguing to ignore. Dance Mammoth debuts Fri., Feb. 20, at Jewel in Brookside.
I ran into one of Tulsa's favorite singers, Ben Kilgore, who was eager to fill me in on his latest project. When he started dropping names, I immediately understood his excitement.
Kilgore made a name for himself as the frontman for The Hero Factor, before the band went on hiatus. He's been keeping busy as a praise and worship leader at Guts Church and gigging around town, either solo or with a few friends. (Lately, he's been sharing the stage with Charlie Redd on Thursday evenings at Jewel, in addition to semi-regular appearances at Full Moon and other venues.)
With Dance Mammoth, I get the distinct feeling we're looking at something completely different. No Maroon 5 covers, no "Brick House" (for the five-trillionth time) and no "Jessie's Girl." This group of guys will likely demand something more progressive.
Aside from Kilgore, the band includes Costa Stasinopoulos and Patrick Ryan (both of Dead Sea Choir), Jeff Coleman (of Wink & Jeff), Nathan Brandt and guitarist "Ralphy" (a.k.a. Matt Fisher). Basically, it's an all-star team of local guys. And with a group like this, I don't see them settling for standard covers, even if everyone is in it for shits and giggles.
After playing phone tag with Kilgore, who was out of town last week, I was able to talk with Fisher to get the details. He admitted that he didn't play a part in planning this group, but instead joined to play with friends. He also confirmed my suspicion that we'll be looking at a different kind of set list: more current, more aggressive and more techo/dance rock than the usual fare. Names that came up in passing were MGMT, Nine Inch Nails and The Sabian.
"It's pretty obnoxious, but it's fun," Fisher joked. "It's very musical, so that's cool, and it's got a friendly vibe and stuff."
Mostly, though, he emphasized that the music is catchy, fun and something out of the ordinary. And although it's all covers, Fisher explained that the band remains open to a little improv, but is mainly focused on maintaining the dance party atmosphere, live DJ and all.
If you're going out to dance, you might as well do it with a killer band who can deliver the goods, right?
Jewel is still the place to go for the hipster dance crowd and Dance Mammoth fits the bill. If you're as intrigued as I am, this is the weekend to shed any biases and break out the dancing shoes. If it's anywhere near as good as the lineup suggests I'm sure we'll hear more from the group in the future.
Whenever I run into one of the guys from Hero Factor, the others are usually nearby and it's always good to catch up with them as a whole. Last week, I not only crossed paths with Kilgore and Fisher, but vocalist Eric Arndt and drummer Nathan Price as well. All I can say is 'damn, these guys are talented'... Here's the latest:
Fisher has probably been the most active of the bunch with Vandevander taking the spotlight. He also mentioned that Songmaker's Night at The Colony has pretty much run its course, but he loves gigging and that it is slowly transforming into something new. The first Tuesday of the month is a bluegrass jam with Chris Becker, but Fisher has free reign on all the rest.
It all began after rehearsing with Costa and Patrick Ryan for the Dance Mammoth gig a couple of weeks ago. He invited the two out to play and those Tuesday evenings have turned into an indescribable industrial/electronic/jam night that has everyone talking; slide in and check it out.
Arndt is also a busy man. Aside from playing bass with Vandevander, new material from Refund Divison is on the horizon. A trip to Norman this week should hopefully wrap up recording for the anticipated May release. He has also been fulfilling his film aspirations and has a short completed that he's submitting to the film festival circuit.
And finally, Price has been working on his own side project too. Paired up with Ben King, the two have got something special called Old Savior. It's a little crude with a heavy indie rock influence, and is something that, after a short sneak peak, I can only describe as surprising but incredibly cool.
All this and a trip back to the studio for Vandevander mean we should be hearing plenty from the guys this summer. I can't wait.
Yes, it's still early, but we've picked our essay contest winner and SXSW keeps announcing confirmed bands for the week's festivities. A solid schedule should be released soon, but a few notable Oklahoma acts that have already been confirmed are: Stars Go Dim, Uglysuit, Samantha Crain and the Midnight Shivers, Stardeath and the White Dwarf. I think Oklahoma will be well represented. More previews in the weeks to come.
No one can complain that clubs are slow this week. Not only is the weekend chock full, but we've got an array of shows well into the middle of next week.
We at UTW recommend that you start the weekend early by stopping in for happy hour in the Atlas Life building, 4th and Boston, with our Soundproof concert series from 5-7pm. This month's installment features an acoustic set by RadioRadio. As always, there's no cover and it's open to the public, so come enjoy some cool tunes, cold drink specials and a modest appetizer menu. Brought to you by UTW and the Tulsa Press Club.
Afterwards, you go just a few blocks away for '80s cover tunes with Jukebox Hero at Flytrap Music Hall or settle in at McNellie's for Dustin & Jesse's Higher Education around 9pm. Also, My Solstice is the featured guest at Ida Red on Brookside for the venue's weekly "Artist Sessions" series on Thursday the 19th.
Friday night, February 20, marks "The Great Guinness Toast" at Arnie's. Cairde na Gael pilots the festivities. Elsewhere, Flytrap Music Hall hosts Space Station, Zero Crossing and Steve Liddell; Monolith brings in Farewell Flight with Scales of Motion and Milo's Fare and Ida Red provides a full evening of tunes with Roger Jaeger, Chris McLeod and an additional artist TBA.
Of course, Friday is also the night to catch the aforementioned Dance Mammoth gig at Jewel, so don't miss out.
Saturday, February 21, is an even bigger evening, starting with Robin Williams' return to standup comedy. His national tour stops at The Brady Theater for an 8pm show.
Also downtown, The Marquee is the place to be for hardcore and metal fans with Bleeding Through, Acacia Strain, As Blood Runs Black and Impending Doom; Steve Pryor brings the blues to Arnie's; Jessie Aycock and Little Chairs play Capella's and Flytrap has the pop/rock scene covered with The Effects, Pomeroy, Ziff and The January.
If you're looking to break away from the norm, you can always head to 18th and Boston for The Tejas Brothers and Pushrod at Mercury Lounge, also on January 21.
Sunday night has two cool shows occupying opposite ends of the musical spectrum. If you're into hip hop and R&B, check out some local talent with Austyn King at Hibiscus on Brookside. Meanwhile, classic rock fans can catch up with the latest incarnation of The Pretenders at The Brady on February 22 with openers American Bang. Tickets are $38 and $48.
February 23 brings metal back to the BOK Center as Slipknot headlines with support from Coheed and Cambria and Trivium. The rest of the week wraps up with the Waka Winter Classic at Cain's Ballroom on Tuesday (I'm still waiting to hear which local bands will compete for a spot on the Wakarusa bill) and Keller Williams returns to the Ballroom on Wednesday the 25th with his solo "looping party." It's a full week, so have fun and choose wisely.
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