As our loyal readers already know, Urban Tulsa Weekly has long been a champion of local arts and artists, especially of the local music scene. We've constantly got our ear to the ground for hot talent and an eye out to see who the latest rising stars are.
UTW also makes an effort to do more than just talk about what's going on, however, and actually do something to support our local artists. It's with a goal and a mind for shining a spotlight on some of our best local, original musicians Urban Tulsa launched the New Voices concert showcase.
Throughout the years, NewVo has evolved and changed with the market, beginning as a one-night showcase at Cain's Ballroom its first year before trying an all-day festival format, then becoming a concert series before settling into a single night, multiple venue event two years ago.
In 2009, we consolidated the event into one evening at Flytrap Music Hall, and this year we believe we've found the right balance by moving to the IDL Ballroom Complex to incorporate three clubs and three styles of music for Friday, April 23.
There's something for everyone this year. If you want your rock fix, you'll likely settle in at the IDL Ballroom. If you prefer a mellow evening of singer-songwriters, you'll enjoy the vibe at Enso, and if you want to dance, you'll feel most at home at Electric Circus. Of course, the event is free and all three clubs are intertwined, so you can enjoy it all if you so desire. Just what's on tap for local music fans, you might ask? If you're wondering, read on.
One of Tulsa's coolest lounges has to be the recently remodeled and reopened Enso. It's classy, but not stuffy and is a great place to wind down any night of the week. If Enso hosts any music, it's usually a dance party, but since Electric Circus has recently opened and will cover that aspect for the night, Enso will spend an evening hosting singer-songwriters.
Kitt Bender will open the evening with a selection of his own tunes and a handful of covers. He's been playing steadily in Tulsa for a few years now but has recently been emphasizing his own material more, so we're anxious to let him show what he's got to offer.
The surprise of the evening might be Aimee Terpening, who is a fascinating songwriter. A quick listen to her songs finds her an expressive soul with a unique and touching voice. A mixture of ambient, ethereal acoustic material and more pop-rock oriented material appears on her MySpace, but her lyrics all inspire hope.
Tulsa-native Roger Jaeger wraps up at Enso, with a set of tunes that showcases his flexibility as a songwriter. Influenced by his personal journeys, he incorporates a touch of classical Indian music (He moved to Pune, India to study music in 2005) to his blend of pop, rock and funk. Jaeger has been touring steadily, so it's an honor to have him back in town for an evening as part of NewVo.
Getting Your Rocks Off
Ever since NewVo originated with a focus on exposing "New Voices," we've spotlighted the most promising of our local original music artists. It's no secret that our local scene is dominated by rock acts, so it's become common to showcase a variety of those acts. This year, we've got a decidedly indie and punk-rock bent to the evening, however, as we welcome rising stars Bruder, Low Litas, Bearhug, Native Lights and Broncho to the stage in the IDL Ballroom.
Those who keep track of the local music movement are already familiar with most of these acts, as Low Litas, Native Lights and Broncho have all been featured in UTW in past months. Bruder and Bearhug have gotten a little less exposure so far, but we're trusting that this weekend's showcase will remedy that in short order.
Bruder opens the evening at IDL with an aggressive electronic rock vibe that will both keep the indie rockers in the crowd happy and inspire others to dance. This duo's synth pop trades in the kitsch factor and ups the ante on what we saw coming from the Stevedore camp just a few years ago. Undoubtedly, Bruder will kick things off in fine form and put everyone in a good mood.
The last time I saw Low Litas, the band was opening for Broncho at the Crystal Pistol. That night, I walked in not knowing what to expect but left impressed. Low-fi indie rock mixes with a subtle, punk aesthetic and a touch of shoegaze to make for a hypnotizing sound and performance.
Bearhug will go on mid-evening, but expect the set to be short, sweet and to the point -- a great precursor to Broncho. Bearhug's music is more raw and ragged, garage-oriented punk rock. The band has been playing gigs at local indie hot spots like Soundpony and Crystal Pistol and creating an interesting little buzz. With an appearance at NewVo, we expect that buzz will increase.
If you don't know who Native Lights is by now, you just haven't been paying attention to Tulsa's indie scene. Performing with the same lineup as the current Unwed Sailor, guitarist Bryce Chambers (formerly of Ester Drang) takes over vocals and front-man duties while Johnathon Ford settles in on bass with this iteration of the band. These guys have quickly become the favored sons of the indie-ambient scene, providing an engaging live show that rivals anyone else in Tulsa.
Finally, the evening will end with three chords and an attitude as Broncho wraps up the evening on a high note. Ryan Lindsey might be the ultimate pop songsmith, but he can also draw up some killer punk tunes. Started as a side project while working on songs for a movie soundtrack, Broncho has taken on a life of its own as a legitimate punk band. The group has even won the approval of producer Stephen Egerton, who was in seminal punk bands The Descendants and All, so you know this is the real deal.
Get Your Party Started
If you're looking for something a bit more dance oriented, never fear. This year, NewVo brings a party to the mix by including a pair of cutting edge DJs in the adjoining Electric Circus. Yes, the dance and DJ scene has begun growing again, but we know our UTW readers don't want more of the same old thing, so we've got a pair set up for the evening that will keep the sounds fresh and the dance floor busy with DJ Echo and Das Bouge. This is what you're not getting anywhere else.
Regardless of what your musical preference is, this year's NewVo showcase will have you covered: from dance and DJs to indie and punk-rock to acoustic singer songwriters. We're dedicated to exposing the best of our local artists, and we're confident that we've got a great sampling of what's on the rise for you this year.
Best of all, you can go venue to venue and not pay separate cover charges. This year, Urban Tulsa (in conjunction with Z104.5 The Edge) has you covered, so admission is free. Just show up to support your local artists and hang around to dance until the wee hours of the night. These are some of the most promising acts in town, and we're giving you an inside look with no cover charge for the evening. Plan to show up early and stay late so you don't miss anything Friday night, April 23.
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