DFest is finally upon us.
The ever-evolving and expanding music festival and conference takes place next Friday and Saturday, July 24 and 25, with conferences all day followed by music starting at 6pm. For the third year, it will take place in the Blue Dome District. The landscape has changed a bit this year; a slew of new venues that include Joe Momma's Pizza, the PAC and Flytrap Music Hall have opened their doors to the festival, and some revamped rooms have changed ownership and names, including Dilly Deli (formerly 1974), The IDL Ballroom (formerly Blank Slate) and Electric Circus (formerly Exit 6c). It's a widening canvas, and with more than 160 headliners and emerging artists, planning a feasible schedule for the two days is more overwhelming than ever.
Thankfully, the good folks behind the festival have created an electronic schedule (much like the ones available for Austin City Limits and Lollapalooza) that makes planning much more manageable (you can find that schedule at dfest09.sched.org).
And then you have us at UTW. Here's an idea of what we'll be catching; none of this is concrete, but these are the acts this writer is most excited about.
Some of them are local favorites we've been championing (and, in some cases, are nominated for ABoT Music Awards, www.abotmusicawards.com), others are headliners we're not super familiar with.
We'll jump start the day at 6pm with a performance by Other Lives on the Poseidon Main Stage. These Stillwater all-stars play heavenly prog-folk that's caught the ear of fans across the country--this is a must-see.
Afterwards, it's off to McNellie's, where local trip-hoppers The Moai Broadcast (6:30pm) will be serenading the upstairs pub with their genre-bending grooves and ambience. Next up will be the Detroit-inspired garage rock of OKC's The Boom Bang (7:10pm, Electric Circus). Be prepared for loud and dirty.
We'll stick around Electric Circus to see the latest incarnation of Tulsa synth-pop vets Stevedore (8:10pm), which is now comprised of brother and sister duo Jeff and Molly Richardson. We'll follow that with the second half of buzzed-about Latino hip-hoppers Ozomatli's set (8:30pm, Triton Main Stage).
Next up is a tough choice between two well-regarded and very different Tulsa-based acts. Young hip hop prodigy Kawnar (9:10pm, Route 66 Mother Roadhouse) is always a good time, but we may be in the mood for the ethereal post-rock of Unwed Sailor (9:10pm, Electric Circus). A difficult decision, but a win either way.
The next choice is a no-brainer. OKC's Crocodile (9:30pm, IDL Ballroom) meshes infectious, synthy pop melodies with an indie rock sensibility that makes for a ridiculously fun time.
After Crocodile is Friday night's main event. You do not, under any circumstances, want to miss the live show of Brooklyn-based gypsy punkers Gogol Bordello (10:30pm, Triton Main Stage). The fact that they're playing in Tulsa is unusual and will not likely happen again anytime soon.
This will be the party of the night.
The after-party will start for us with the gritty 70's-inspired hard rock of Norman's Rainbows Are Free (12:10am, Flytrap Music Hall). At 1:10am, new Tulsa band Ithica will take the stage at Joe Momma's to showcase songs from its forthcoming record. The music is equal parts shoegazer and lo-fi electronica (think M83 by way of The Postal Service). It'll be a nice, low-key outro for the evening.
Saturday begins with the gritty, Roots-ish hip-hop of L.A.'s The Knux (6pm, Triton Main Stage). At 7pm, vexed hipsters across downtown will be trying to decide between two hot indie bands: the sugary duo known as Mates of State will play the Poseidon Stage, while the orchestal indie pop of Ra Ra Riot is featured on the Triton Stage. We vote Ra Ra Riot.
The tough choice between those two is nothing compared to the dilemma presented to local fans at 8:10pm. Three of UTW's favorite bands--Dead Sea Choir (Dilly Deli), Recorder (Route 66 Mother Roadhouse) and Vandevander (IDL Ballroom) --will be competing for an overlapping fanbase, as well as dealing with the fact that we will be absent from all three due to indie rock navel-gazer Dignan's performance at Electric Circus during the same time frame. Sorry guys.
After Dignan, we'll most likely hop on over to Dilly Deli to see new Tulsa supergroup Native Lights (9:10pm) perform before running over to Route 66 to see reigning local rapper PDA (10:10pm) play to what's sure to be a packed house. At 11:10pm, we'll catch Stillwater barn-burners Mayola at Electric Circus, then head down to the Triton Stage for the speed-freak grindcore of Bassnectar (11:30pm). After that, we'll catch our favorite roots/folk act in Tulsa, Paul Benjaman Band, at McNellie's (12:30am). And finally, we'll once again close out the night at Joe Momma's with an Austin band we're extremely excited about. Death is Not a Joyride will be the freak show of the night--a melding of performance art and electro-goth pop, complete with crazy costumes and some very dark tunes.
That's our plan, and we're probably not sticking to it. Part of the beauty of DFest is operating on instinct and whim, following the strange music emanating from various points around you, running into friends unexpectedly and changing your plans in order to share the experience. The trick is to keep an open mind and not adhere too rigidly to a pre-planned schedule. The above list may or may not be followed, but either way, the weekend is sure to be a good, sweaty time. Just remember to stay hydrated.
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