Yeah, we don't know either
Outsiders may consider Tulsa a sleepy little town, but as natives and residents, we know better. Just because we're smaller than the major metros doesn't mean we don't have a few surprises up our sleeve. As if our music schedule hasn't been busy enough over the past month, it gets even more hectic as SXSW approaches and everyone wants to stop here on the way to and from the big showcase south of the Red River.
Occasionally, we even pull a figurative rabbit out of our hat, as is the case next Wednesday night. If you're not aware, it's the unofficial debut of Tinted Windows, a new band featuring Tulsa native Taylor Hanson. This isn't just any side project or simply Hanson's baby, however. Cheesy terms like "supergroup" have been thrown around the internet and outlets like Billboard since news of the band was released few weeks ago. While I hate to ascribe to elitism, the band definitely has a pedigree to live up to.
What's so super about it? Perhaps it's because it includes musicians from Hanson, Fountains of Wayne, Smashing Pumpkins and Cheap Trick. If you find yourself scratching your head and asking "Did I hear that right?" you're not alone. It does seem odd that four acts from different corners of pop music (not to mention different decades) would come together like this. Not surprisingly, the guys kept this project quiet until they were ready to unveil it; and once the curtain was dropped, it's been full steam ahead.
As a result, it's caused a minor media frenzy, which makes it difficult to speak with the band. What we do know is this: Apparently, Taylor Hanson and Chris Schlesinger (the songwriting mastermind behind Fountains of Wayne) are longtime friends who have been toying with the idea of doing something together for a few years now. Once they decided to pull the trigger, Schlesinger got James Iha (former guitarist for Smashing Pumpkins) onboard for the ride. That was an easy one, as Schlesinger and Iha are not only friends, but business partners who co-own a recording studio in New York with Ivy's Andy Chase.
The real wild card of the bunch is drummer Bun E. Carlos (yes, the big man with the backbeat from Cheap Trick). Once the initial trio started writing, they knew they were looking for a drummer similar in style to Cheap Trick, so why not go to the source? A couple of phone calls and conversations later, Carlos joined the group.
So far, the band has only released one single, "Kind of a Girl" streaming online, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. The group went into Iha and Schlesinger's Stratosphere Sound Studios in New York for a little less than a month last year, and emerged with an eleven-song package that will be released by S-Curve records on April 21.
Talk from the band and sneak peeks of "Kind of a Girl" and "Messing with My Head" suggest this will be a pure pop/rock record with strong '70s and '80s influences. And while Schlesinger is credited with writing the bulk of the material, much of the sarcasm from his Fountains material has been stripped away, for a straightforward yet engaging disc.
Of course, there's still an edge, as Iha's guitars add some crunch, but everything that's been previewed so far points to pure pop with very little modern or alt-rock inspiration.
The band's official debut will be in Austin at SXSW on March 20 followed by a few additional dates with appearances at the Double Door in Chicago and Bamboozle Festival. What hasn't officially shown up, however, is the band's warm-up show at Bob's next Wednesday night. With a $7 ticket price, the show sold out almost immediately, especially after Hanson's name was tied to the project. The guys over at Cain's have already tried to convince the band to move it into the main ballroom, but to no avail. The group is set on keeping it intimate, so if you're one of the 400 or so people who got a ticket, you're looking at something special.
Who says Tulsa's not cool? It may help that this is Hanson's hometown and it's relatively close to Austin, but getting a preview and unofficial debut of an act like this is undeniably hip, even if you're not into pop music. My bet is you can count on the group returning later in the year for a show in the ballroom once the album is out and has gotten some traction and drawn more attention. Either way, for once, we've beaten Austin to the punch.
Official Rock News
March is a rock and roll month. Not only do devoted music fans watch what's going on in Austin, but the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions occur every spring. This year's inductees include big names like Jeff Beck, Metallica, Run DMC and Bobby Womack, but there's also an Oklahoma native in this year's group. Rockabilly Queen Wanda Jackson is scheduled to be inducted in the "Early Influences" category as one of the first female rockabilly singers to gain popularity in the early '50s.
Jackson is a multi-genre performer and had a string of country hits between 1966 and 1973, but she's one of the leading ladies to cut a path for females in early rock and roll. If you haven't seen Jackson previously in one of her more intimate shows at Mercury Lounge or elsewhere, you can help congratulate her on her award and welcome her home when she plays Cain's Ballroom on Friday night, March 13. Tickets are $21 for reserved seating or $17 general admission, with openers Bill Holden and the Nighthawks.
Also in the news this past week, Oklahoma now has an Official State Rock Song. Yes, our wonderfully weird brothers from Edmond, The Flaming Lips, have been honored the label for "Do You Realize," from the 2002 album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.
Other nominees included All American Rejects' "Move Along," the Ventures' "Walk Don't Run, "Heartbreak Hotel" and even John Moreland's "Endless Oklahoma Sky." The Flaming Lips won by a landslide, however, collecting 51 percent of the 21,061 votes. The primary state song remains Rogers and Hammerstein's "Oklahoma," but at least we've now got a rock song as well. Congrats to The Lips.
Tulsa's Best Kept Secret
Anyone who's really plugged into downtown has been privy to this for awhile now, but word continues to spread and hours have expanded, so I might as well ruin the exclusivity of it all.
If you're looking for some killer grub after the bars close downtown, you don't have to resort to Whataburger, wait in the drive thru line at Taco Bell for 30 minutes or even hit "Awful Waffle" or IHOP. Instead, you can eat better and enjoy some after-hours tunes as well at Phat Philly's, 1101 S. Detroit Ave.
It's been more than a year since Phat Philly's reopened its doors at midnight on Saturday and staying open until 4am Sunday morning. Just recently, however, popular demand convinced owner Jason Smith to open up Friday night from midnight to 4am as well.
Phat Philly's steps up again this spring and summer with live music on the outdoor stage once the weather warms up, but you need to check them out now for your late night eats.
Because Tulsa becomes a stopover point for bands heading to and from SXSW during the next two weeks, shows are abundant; and there are too many shows for me to hit on all of them, so we'll just hit the highlights this week.
The Ballroom's schedule is packed this week with a variety of bands representing different genres. Here's the lineup: Thursday, March 12, sees The Game headline with openers Nipsey Hustle, Johnny Ringo and locals Filla, Navigator and Laylo for $27. Friday night is the Wanda Jackson show, followed by James McMurtry with Johnny Burke on Saturday for $19.
Sunday is a day of rest, then it's back to business with Stardeath and White Dwarfs on Monday with Guardant and Brother Bear opening for $16. Tuesday, March 17, is the show indie fans have been most excited about as electric art/folk/pop singer Andrew Bird returns to the ballroom with openers The Heartless Bastards. Finally, Bob's will be packed to the gills with the sold out Tinted Windows debut on March 18.
Friday, March 13 is hopping downtown as My Solstice plays Flytrap Music Hall, Ceceda plays Soundpony with Lindsey Neal and Panda Revolution; Capital Lights returns to Tulsa for a homecoming show at The Marquee with Motive For Movement, Restless Ribbon and Zeke Duhon opening.
Saturday, March 14 is even busier as Blank Slate hosts a "Blues Bash" with Dustin Pittsley, Little Joe and Jennifer Marriot; Flytrap Music Hall throws a rock and roll party with Roger Clyne and the Arizona Peacemakers and Brandon Clark Band. Just across the tracks, The Marquee hosts Dear and the Headlights with Reuben's Accomplice and Miniature Tigers while Crocodile and La Panther Happens play Soundpony. And if you're looking for your punk and rockabilly fix on Saturday, Mercury Lounge has you covered with The Rippers and First Lady Assassins.
Finally, don't forget that Tuesday is St Patrick's Day. If you're longing to do an Irish jig, you can never go wrong at Arnie's for St Pat's. Don't miss Four Fiddlers of the Apocalypse, Cairde na Gael and Larkin. The music and drinking start at 5:30pm, so if you plan on staying the whole evening, you might as well call in sick on Wednesday.
St Paddy's isn't all we've got on Tuesday, however. Besides the Andrew Bird show at Cain's, Billy Joel and Elton John come "Face To Face" at the BOK Center (tickets are $17, $99 and $53.50) and Dredg returns to the Marquee with Pelican and Tombs for $15.
Have fun and rest up; next week will be just as busy.
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