Although I'd argue that Tulsa is still a far cry from becoming the next Austin, two things are beyond debate. First is our talent pool. If you love live music and can't find a local artist to your liking, you're just not looking hard enough. Second, Tulsa is indeed becoming a "Music Town" on other people's (and specifically artists') radar. Just last week, Pollstar announced their quarterly statistics and Cain's Ballroom rang in at no. 11 worldwide for ticket sales in the first three months of 2013, with over 32,000 tickets sold. Meanwhile, BOK just announced the return of Sir Paul McCartney to celebrate the venue's fifth birthday.
That said, although we may not get all of the biggest shows, Tulsa is drawing most of the hottest tickets on the road. If you're not convinced of the diversity of our choices, just take these two shows into account and be grateful for what we've got -- and what we're getting.
This Thursday night, April 11, the Spring Fever Tour kicks off a month-long run with a package of hot and rising artists at Cain's Ballroom. Co-headlined by All Time Low and Pierce the Veil with support from Mayday Parade (who already has a following in Tulsa) and You Me at Six, this is the show that the younger audience is clamoring for.
Truth be told, some of the older music fans (like myself) have been anticipating this one as well. I saw All Time Low when the band was here in November 2011, and it was one of the most purely enjoyable shows of the year. The band recently separated from Interscope Records and returned to its previous label, Fearless, and a less produced, high-energy sound more representative of the band's live presence. Although a party band, ATL has enough introspective lyrics for even the parents to appreciate a band of 20-somethings living out their rock & roll dreams.
What's intriguing on this visit is co-headliner Pierce the Veil, whose latest album, Collide with the Sky, sees the band jump from just another post-hardcore band to a group with the vision and focus to be compared favorably to My Chemical Romance.
When discussing the band's development with bassist Jaime Preciado, he said, "From the first record to now, there have been a lot of changes. We're always trying to get better and each record is kind of a mini-picture of up changing and growing up. We listen to our old songs now and laugh a little, thinking 'That's all we had?'"
"It's cool, though, because each record is a new experience," he said. "We like taking lessons from our experience and experimenting with new things, so I think this record is the best of us up to this point -- although we've still got a lot of growing left to do."
When asked how the Spring Fever Tour came about, Preciado said, "ATL came to us with the idea and we were stoked about it. On some tours you try to be the best band on the bill, but we're such different bands and different genres, there's not really any competition."
Fans have responded immediately, with many of the shows selling out in advance.
"I think it's a combination of a lot of things, but mostly the bill itself," Preciado said. Both bands could probably headline on their own and do well, but we're co-headlining instead. Then there's Mayday Parade, who could play most of these cities on their own, and You Me at Six, who are huge in the UK, so it's really just a great tour."
Preciado said all of the bands already know each other and are friends, so the Spring Fever Tour might be better termed the "Spring Break" tour. Thursday night's show at Cain's has already sold out, but rumor has it that All Time Low will be in town a couple of days early, rehearsing at an undisclosed location, so keep your eyes and ears open if you're a fan and try and find a ticket to this show.
Pierce the Veil
Contemporary country fans on Saturday, April 13, will be headed to the BOK Center for the Locked & Reloaded tour starring Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert. When these two toured last time, Lambert was opening for Bentley in 2006. Now, the two are on equal footing, with Lambert having raked in a stack of ACM awards including a past win for Entertainer of the Year and this year's Female Vocalist, Record and Song of the Year.
Tulsa also gets a little twist thrown in to make the night even more intriguing with opener Corb Lund.
Now, if you've paid attention to the local calendar, you might remember that Lund was in town last September with a stop at Mercury Lounge.
What Lund brings to the table is a more traditional country sound that draws from classics like Jennings, Haggard and Cash as well as more modern songwriters like Steve Earle. The intrigue comes when you realize that Lund and his band, The Hurtin' Albertans, are major country stars in their native Canada, having released seven albums since 1995. It's just since Lund has released his last two discs with New West Records that he's been getting more attention in the states.
Lund admitted last week, "I'm in a strange position, musically, because although we play arenas in Canada, which are a little smaller than the ones here, our audience is about half radio country fans and half songwriter fans, along the lines of Hayes Carll and Steve Earle. It would probably never happen for us like that in the states, but there's enough leeway in Canada that it works for us."
Although Lund has traditional country roots, he calls his hybrid approach "scruffy country", a mix of traditional, alt-country and songwriter approaches.
"Miranda is cool and I think she's pretty open to the underground country movement, which has helped. I'm anxious to see how we go over with country fans on this tour," Lund said.
Following his short run on the tour, Lund will be back in the clubs promoting his latest album, Cabin Fever, and spending the summer playing festivals in Canada.
If you're a country fan, you definitely won't want to miss the Locked & Loaded Tour at BOK Center this Saturday night. Just make sure to get there early to catch Corb Lund as he adds another layer to the show when he opens at 7:30pm.
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