Over the past few years, Tulsa's local music scene has been largely dominated by indie rock, Red Dirt, rock and the "New Tulsa Sound." That's not to say that's all we've got going on, but it has encompassed the vast majority of the local music scene and our new music releases. This weekend, though, we've got a couple of release parties that buck the trend and show that Tulsa's got even more going on than meets the eye.
Ready to Blow Up
I initially met Parker Simon a year and a half ago as he was just beginning to delve into the world of dance pop. At that time, he shared some rough demos and was working with a producer in Los Angeles, trying to shape his sound and find a focus. Although Simon admits that his efforts in LA didn't render much, he was able to find his vision for the project by returning to the keyboard, where his songs start to take form. After meeting Joey Avalos (of Stars Go Dim), Simon found his sounding board and a songwriting partner that could help him find his way.
The first real fruits of Simon's labor resulted in the single "It's Going Down," which ended up on Hollister's in-store Spring Break playlist for three months in 2012 and still pops up in store rotation on occasion. Once that single was not only finished, but getting national attention right out of the gate, Simon knew that he was on the right track and had a renewed focus on completing his debut.
That debut is finally ready for release, a five track EP entitled Blow It Up, which reaches beyond Tulsa's standard pop-rock and dives headlong into dance music. Although Simon's current focus has been on pushing the initial single, "It's Going Down," to internet radio (primarily on Jango.com) to a solid response, these songs aren't built for radio so much as nightclubs and the dance floor.
That makes Parker Simon a bit of an oddity within Tulsa's music community as he steps out within a genre that most others aren't touching. It also puts him in a bit of a quandary when booking shows, but so far he's tackling that issue with aplomb, organizing this weekend's release party from top to bottom on his own and learning all the ins and outs of the live production side of the business in a quick and steep learning curve.
"The hard part has been putting it all together," he admitted last week. "I've been working on everything from the lights and video and choreography to the live band and the production aspects. It's been challenging, but I like the idea of being an entertainer as opposed to just a singer, so I've enjoyed the learning experience as well."
When discussing this debut EP as the platform to something more and asking what he sees in the future, Simon said, "In my mind, I see it as a five year plan. I'm really just trying to build a nice base right now and build momentum. I don't really know what that looks like yet, but I didn't know my first single would get picked up by Hollister, either. Right now, the song is doing well on internet radio and once the first single starts to cycle down, I'm going to release "Blow It Up" to keep my name and awareness up."
With a vision that reaches outside of Tulsa, Simon is already looking at appearances in Dallas and other markets, but for now, he's launching the disc with a release party this Saturday night, April 13 at The Broadway. Doors open at 8pm and he has a visiting DJ to keep the dance party going well into the night, with a live performance and the debut of his new tracks being the highlight. Admission is free, but seating is limited, so email email@example.com to get confirmed for the guest list and check out Tulsa's newest dance artist, Parker Simon.
Also on Saturday night, Down For Five returns from hiatus and will be blowing up CJ Moloney's in Broken Arrow with a whole different sound. The band returns from a lengthy quiet period with a new CD in hand and a renewed vision to wake up the local metal community.
That disc, Heroes and Villains, will be a welcome return for the band's established fan base. If anything, this disc sees the band return stronger than ever and finding a balance between its '80s metal roots and modern metal.
Of course, the strength of the album lies in Janna Jordan's always meaty guitar work, but Syke Mochek has stepped up his vocals here as well. Heroes and Villains packs a 12 song punch, the highlight of which (at least in my book) is "Send the Angels", which pushes the band into "Silent Lucidity" territory, with startlingly positive results.
If you're an old school metal fan or have been awaiting the return of Down For Five, the band drops its new CD this Saturday night, April 13, with a release party and all new stage production at CJ Moloney's in Broken Arrow and cover is only $5 at the door.
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As always, we've got a ton of great shows in town this weekend, but there's one that deserves some extra attention. If you're out and about on Thursday night and don't already have plans for another show, you ought to be at the "For the Life of Bryan" benefit at IDL Ballroom.
Retired TFD Captain Bryan Hanson served with the Tulsa Fire Department from 1991-2004. This past January, after suffering short-term memory loss and seizures, he was diagnosed with a golf ball-sized brain tumor. Surgery to remove the tumor was scheduled for Wednesday, April 10, taking place after deadline.
A group of local bands, all of which know Hanson and have experienced his support over the years, are banding together Thursday, April 11 to throw a benefit to support Hanson's family and medical expenses. Doors open at 6pm and music starts at 7p, beginning with Freakjuice. Additional participating bands include Charlie Redd & Full Flava Kings, The Blue, Zen Hipster and Sweatin' Bullets.
Admission is $8 at the door and all proceeds will benefit the Bryan Hanson family. As a 13-year veteran on the Tulsa Fire Department, Hanson is a real life hero -- a man who has saved lives and entered burning buildings to rescue others. Tulsa's music community has always stepped up to help others, and this is a great opportunity to help out one of our own.
There are plenty of other great shows coming up this week, but you can find all of them in the events and live calendars. In the meantime, don't overlook some killer shows that have been flying under the radar, like Shawn Mullins at All Souls on Friday, April 12; John Moreland at The Phoenix Café on Saturday, April 13; Dustin Pittsley Band, Dante & the Hawks and Nicnos at the Guthrie Green on Sunday afternoon, April 14, and a solo show by Justin Furstenfeld at Vanguard on Wednesday, April 17.
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