Last week, we got the lowdown on Dfest not returning and the Free Tulsa's promise to reprise its role from last year on an even larger scale. For those who can't wait to kick off the festival season, however, this weekend's Norman Music Festival is likely to be the best showcase of Oklahoma talent all year long.
Although Norman Music Fest is also bringing in national headliners like The Walkmen, Peelander-Z and Keller Williams -- all of which are known for putting on a great show -- the real draw in Norman is the collection of Oklahoma bands. In the past, NMF has been indie-rock heavy and although that's still a strong component this year, the lineup is even more diverse than it has been in the past.
Festi-full. Oklahoma City rockers Brothers Gruesome perform 9pm Thursday on the opening night of the Norman Music Festival. Come for the rock, stay for the dancing animal shadows they'll project on the wall.
The festival kicks off this Thursday, April 28, and runs through Saturday, we've compiled just a few picks to get you started as some of the potential standouts of the weekend.
Mind you, this is just to get you started. As a general rule, if you hear of someone creating a huge buzz, follow the crowd to check it out -- if they suck, you can always cut out after a couple of songs and bounce around to check out the other bands. With over 200 acts playing over three nights, you're sure to find something to get excited about.
If you need a little bit of a head start, however, here are our recommendations:
Thursday, April 28
• 9pm - Brother Gruesome - Blackwatch Stage - Saw these guys at Soundpony the other night. Knew nothing about them, but enjoyed the music and the dancing animal shadows they projected onto the wall. (GW)
• 10pm -- Sherree Chamberlain -- Blackwatch Stage -- As one of the best female singer/songwriters in the state, I'm still let down that Chamberlain doesn't play Tulsa more often. With new material in the works, any time I can check this girl out, I consider it a can't miss show. (GKH)
• 11pm -- Green Corn Revival -- Brewhouse Stage -- This band gets my vote for most underrated band in the state. What started out as more of an Americana/country project has developed into an amazing blend of ambient indie pop and Americana that can't be described? It just needs to be heard. (GKH)
Friday, April 29
• 7pm - Tony Romanello and the Black Jackets - Brewhouse Stage - Tony's a nice guy who plays nice music. If you like well-crafted pop songs like I do, you're in for a treat. (GW)
• 9pm -- John Moreland -- Brewhouse Stage -- If you haven't heard Moreland yet, you haven't heard the true sound of Oklahoma rock. Some people call him Oklahoma's Springsteen, but that's short sighted. This guy has a punk rock pedigree and brings that intensity to a Midwestern Americana type sound that encompasses a little Springteen, a little Steve Earle and whole lot of everything else. (GKH)
• 11pm PM -- Pretty Black Chains -- Blackwatch Stage -- Get used to it, because I'll be banging this drum until the bitter end. Pretty Black Chains have found their niche and are the best flat out rock band around. Two parts Zeppelin, one part Cult, one part Doors, a dash of Rage against the Machine, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Queens of the Stone Age -- if you don't like this, you don't like rock & roll. (GKH)
Saturday, April 30
• 1pm - Klipspringer - Bill and Dees Stage - I saw these guys open for Ween like 15 years ago. They were dressed like Cap'n Crunch and gave the headliners a run for their money. They're still together and still awesome. (GW)
• 1:20pm -- The Non -- Main Stage -- Another Norman band that doesn't play Tulsa nearly enough, The Non gets my nod as best jam band around, outside of Tulsa's Moai Broadcast. There's a reason these guys are on the main stage. (GKH)
• 4pm - And There Stand Empires - Bill and Dees Stage - These guys (and girl) are a sometimes dreamy, sometimes jazzy -always interesting- instrumental group. You've gotta love anybody with a xylophone. I know I do. (GW)
• 5:15pm -- Ryan Lindsey -- Opolis Stage (indoor/unplugged) -- Ryan has been rocking out with Broncho for over a year now, but pop music is what he's best at and this is a chance to see him stripped down and at his most vulnerable. As a songwriter, this guy is amazing. (GKH)
• 6:00 PM -- Colour Revolt -- Sooner Theater Stage -- I may be prejudiced toward this band because Paddy Ryan is one of my favorite local drummers and an all around great guy, but Colour Revolt is an indie rock band that I can really get into. Ambient and dynamic, the band is all about substance over style. The best of the best. (GKH)
• 7:00 PM - MONTU - Jägermeister Stage - Tulsa "jamtronica" group draws big crowds by keeping it funky. Lots of improv, but not too "jam-bandy." Great if you like to dance. (GW)
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