Since its inception in 2002, the NewVo (New Voices) concert project has been part of Urban Tulsa's efforts to support live original music in the community.
Initially presented as a one-night showcase at Cain's Ballroom and shifting to fit the wants of our readers, NewVo has adapted to a variety of formats: from outdoor festival to month-long concert series to last year's block party and back to a single event.
Much like our local music scene, UTW's NewVo is constantly evolving and this year we've found a balance that will provide a cross-section of what's around without causing sensory overload.
Instead of 20 bands in five clubs like last year, we've consolidated it all into a single venue, hit-and-run event that should whet your appetite for more.
It's all coming your way this weekend, landing at Flytrap Music Hall, 514 E. 2nd St., on Saturday evening, April 25.
We'll not only showcase some of Tulsa's freshest bands but also one of our most promising new live music venues.
Our format may have changed during the years, but we've never lost our focus. Whether it's a young new band or an established favorite, the evening is arranged to highlight a variety of our community's creative voices. Granted, we can't bring everyone onstage or even hit every genre in a single evening, but we've unearthed a few gems worth examining. Hopefully, we've inspire you to continue supporting local music.
What's on tap? It's a diverse array, so arrive early, plan on staying late and if someone doesn't tickle your fancy, hang out and chat for a bit because there will be others to follow.
We've got Americana, jam, hip-hop, punk, electronic, experimental and indie-rock wrapped into one package, so you'll surely find something to your liking before the night ends.
Here They Are
The Yellow Pansies open the evening at 7pm, providing the kind of rock, blues, country, Americana and jam band blend that only an Oklahoma-born and bred band can muster.
A quick perusal of its four-song debut EP sees the band swing from old-school country twang and early Allman Brothers influence on "Midnight Man" to classic Doobie Brothers styled grooves on "Maps" to an ambient/acoustic intro on "Froze Hose" before busting out into a guitar frenzy. Everything is tied together by the group's instrumentation and jam-rock aesthetic.
The Yellow Pansies are relatively new to the scene but have already graced the stages of Flytrap, Exit 6C, The Collective (which, we regret to inform you, is now closed), The Marquee and Ida Red. The band shared the spotlight with Cody Clinton and the Bishops, Vandevander, The Okes and GHOSTS, amongst others.
Yes, the show is loose-limbed and funky, but that allows the band to find its groove and adapt to the crowd with each performance. Free-spirited and unpretentious, this sextet promises to set the tone for a fun evening of music that blends all styles.
Next up, SocietySociety takes the stage at 8pm and mixes things up a bit. Hip-Hop and pop-punk come together for a burst of energy and attitude, but it's not all just fun and games. The band's first single, "Stereo Types," hints that the band is about more than party rock with a socially conscious message about not being quick to judge.
If you remember Vito Ninefingers, you'll be pleasantly surprised as lead singer Devo and guitarist Joe "MySide" Dufresne have reunited for this project.
SocietySociety picks up where the duo's previous band left off, as this group is finding its own identity instead of blatantly aping Gym Class Heroes.
Filled out with an additional guitarist and the rhythm section from Dufresne's other project, SocietySociety provides an explosion of sound and energy to make sure the NewVo crowd is ready to participate in the show. The band is raw and unpredictable, but that's exactly what makes it so much fun.
Filling the evening's middle slot, Daniels is the experimental electronic-pop project of Daniel Sutliff. Relatively unknown within Tulsa's mainstream music scene, Daniels represents not only a growing electronic segment, but also Tulsa's bubbling underground scene that is often overlooked.
Don't think you won't recognize the man behind the electronic curtain, however. Sutliff is the bass player for indie-rock darling Callupsie, although this project reveals his more experimental side. He's already provided hints at what might come with the sampled layers and segues that he creates for Callupsie's live show, but Daniels follows his electronic muse to the extreme.
While Sutliff's Callupsie ties give him immediate clout amongst the uninitiated, those familiar with the Organum Collective already know his capabilities. Either way, you can be certain he's got substantial part of the music community waiting to see him unleash this new material in a live setting.
If you want to see what's really going on behind the scenes in Tulsa, you won't want to miss Daniels.
Just because we've reeled it into one venue to make it more manageable doesn't mean we'd be content with a single headliner, so we've doubled up to finish out the night. In fact, we're so sure of Tulsa's talent and our solid presence at SXSW that we're putting one of our best up against a very cool band from Austin.
This may be the first stop in Tulsa for The Pons, but we were lucky enough to score a stop on the band's national tour to add a little flavor to the show. The trio may have only formed a couple of years ago, but its latest EP reveals a group that has matured quickly into a band that represents much of what Austin's contemporary music scene is all about.
This indie rock power trio has tight musicianship, solid pop sensibilities and enough swagger to keep it all in check. Whether pulling out the sweet vocal harmonies and big pop hooks with "She's the One," a melancholy vibe on "Metal Heart," or rocking out with a huge backbeat on "Giant," The Pons set the bar high for our own indie bands.
That shouldn't be an issue for our final act, however. Known for both great recordings (as witnessed by last year's ABoT award for "Best Local Album") and engaging live shows, Callupsie is widely respected as the cream of Tulsa's indie-rock crop. Originally penciled in for last year's showcase at The Blank Slate, the band wasn't able to participate; so, when we got the chance to work with them again this year, it was an opportunity UTW couldn't pass up.
Yes, Daniel Sutliff will be pulling double duty, but we think he can handle it. When he hits the stage at 11pm, it will be as part of one Tulsa's most potent rock bands. Callupsie may best fit within the indie rock scene, but anyone who's seen them knows that the band stands out among other rock bands in town, regardless of the niche. Fronted by guitarist/vocalist Aaron Hamby and augmented by drummer Liz Wattoff, guitarist/keyboardist Clay Welch and Sutliff on bass, keys and samples, Callupsie ends the evening on a high note.
It's no wonder Callupsie has become so popular. All it takes is one listen to the band's self-titled debut to understand. By mixing intricate passages, melodic constraint and a firm grasp of dynamic control, the band is quirky enough to enthrall the indie crowd yet accessible enough to win mainstream audiences if given the chance. An anchor slot at Mayfest and appearances with Jacob Fred, Starlight Mints and The Evangelicals all attest that Callupsie isn't just an underground act anymore.
It's hard to believe, but NewVo is now in its eighth year. Doors open at 6pm and cover is only $5 for an all-ages, five-band showcase. Arrive early, stay late and see how we measure up to Austin's best. You won't be disappointed.
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