Bowling for Soup may not actually be a Tulsa band, but it could be. Tulsa has been a regular stop for the band since it formed in the mid-90's as a pop-punk group out of Wichita Falls, Tex. A move to Denton, just north of Dallas, only placed the band closer to Tulsa and the group has graduated from the clubs to Cain's Ballroom as its following has grown over the years.
With close ties to Tulsa, however, we're one of the few locations that still gets a special club show every now and then. A visit in 2010 saw the band play a smaller all-ages show at Ivey, but the band's last visit in April saw it return to Cain's in support of the release of its latest CD, Fishing For Woos.
It may seem a little odd, then, that we essentially get a pair of acoustic shows at Downtown Lounge (DTL) this Thursday and Friday, Sept. 22-23, but it's really just par for the course with the band.
When asking lead singer Jaret Reddick how the shows came about, he explained that "It's a friend of a friend thing, really. We've got a buddy, Brando who does out tattoos -- he's done 90 percent of the tattoos on all four of us, so that's just one more tie we've got to Tulsa: we've recorded albums here, done demos and written songs -- and we get our tattoos here."
"He took us for DTL after our show at Cain's last April," Reddick continued. "And he kind of drunkenly asked us why don't you play a show here? You can come up and I'll tattoo you all day, then you can play at night -- and were all like 'Yeah, that's great!' Then, when we woke up the next day, we thought, what have we agreed to? We really like the idea, though, and Downtown Lounge is super stoked to have us, so we're really looking forward to it."
If you haven't seen an acoustic Bowling For Soup performance, never fear. Yes, it's stripped back and simplified, but it's nothing new for the band. Although the group officially did an acoustic tour in 2010, as Reddick explained, the acoustic gigs are something he's been doing since the early days of the band.
"Erick and I have been doing acoustic shows forever, since the 90's," he said. "To be honest, it's how we were able to quit our day jobs. We realized we could play at some pubs for tips and it allowed us to work on our vocals and get better. Once we got more popular with Bowling For Soup and started going to radio stations it worked out well, because it was one more thing we could bring to the table, whether playing a little radio show or doing it in the studio."
Although the Reddick and bassist Erick Chandler have played a variety of different acoustic gigs, ranging from full band shows in front of large audiences to smaller gigs with just the two of them in small clubs like Downtown Lounge, Reddick said "we like the more intimate shows because we really enjoy the audience interaction. It works in front of thousands of people and we've done it in Europe for 700-1000 people a night, but we prefer to do it for a smaller audience.
What makes this week's shows even more special is the fact that both Reddick and Chandler will be pulling double duty and opening for themselves. Erik Chandler has a solo album in the works which is due to be released next year and Reddick has a side project, People of Vacation, so both will play sets before Jaret and Erik wrap up the evening with what Reddick called "Two hours of beer drinking music."
"Last April we did this, with People on Vacation opening for Bowling for Soup, and I think that's part of the appeal. I know there are people flying in for this show with some people coming from Baltimore and Austin and St. Louis, because we don't play a show this small very often. Plus, you'll be able to hear Erik's solo stuff and my thing as well as the Bowling For Soup stuff."
"The cool thing is we can play pretty much any Bowling For Soup song. When it's the full band, we've got about 30 songs rehearsed when we go out on tour, but we've got 11 albums worth of material, so we can't get to everything. Erik and I bring a little cheat sheet, so we can go a little deeper. It's very much off the cuff, so we'll see what happens."
Bowling For Soup is still in high gear, with its first visit to Russia coming up this fall, followed by a string of shows in the United Kingdom. The band is also putting the final touches on its second Christmas CD and Erik Chandler is working on his solo album for a release next year, so that makes these stripped back shows at Downtown Lounge even more special.
Friday night's show is sold out and a few tickets are left for Thursday night, so get yours quickly by heading over to Downtown Lounge now to get the last of them for only $10 or order online at ticketstorm.com. If any tickets remain, they will be $15 at the door, but you can expect both shows to be sold out and the club to be at capacity for one of the most intimate shows in town.
After name changes and speculation of it not happening this year, Tulsa Greenfest makes its return this year with yet another new location (18th & Boston) and a new format, transforming the block into a small festival grounds. Over 40 bands are scheduled to play over the course of three nights (Friday-Sunday) with an announced lineup that includes Stephen Speaks, Moai Broadcast, Green Corn Revival, The Del Toros, Future Depression Sound and more. Tickets are only $10 in advance at stubwire.com or $15 at the gate for the entire weekend and more details can be found at tulsaunderground.com.
This seems to be the weekend for festivals, but if you aren't at Stone River or hanging out at Tulsa Greenfest, there are still some cool shows to be seen. As always, we've got the highlights...
• Thursday, Sept. 22 -- Robotic Thursdays continue to build in excitement and this week is no exception as Le Castle Vania arrives from Atlanta to keep the weekly dance party at IDL Ballroom one of the hottest events in town. Tulsa International Film Festival also joins the fray with a block party to kick things off on Thursday evening at the Tulsa Center for Creativity at 9th and Boston. It's a free show with music by OK Sweetheart at 7pm, followed by screenings of a series of short films and sets by Fiawna Forte at 10pm and Lizard Police at 11pm. OK Sweetheart follows up with a club show at The Colony at 10pm with Paul Benjaman Band.
• Friday, Sept. 23 -- ZZ Top plays the big show of the night and is sold out at The Joint at the Hard Rock Casino. Elsewhere around town, Rattlesnake Blake returns to Hunt Club and Midnight River Choir headlines at Mercury Lounge.
• Saturday, Sept. 24 -- Hound Dog Blues Festival brings a full lineup of local blues artists like Little Joe McClerran and Wanda Watson to Chandler Park, but most blues-rock fans will flock to Osage Events Center for Kenny Wayne Shepherd at 7pm with a cheap, $10 ticket for a white hot display of guitar prowess and killer blues vocals. The Musiclynx showcase caps the night at SoCo's in South Tulsa with RadioRadio, FM Pilots and Dante and the Hawks.
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