POSTED ON OCTOBER 3, 2007:
More than a home to legends, Cain's is a haven for emerging artists
Homegrown. Aqueduct mastermind David Terry is a Tulsa native who packed his bags for Seattle and a chance to take his music to a national audience. He returns to Cain's this weekend.
If you've grown up in Tulsa, or even if you're a transplant like me, chances are you've heard about the history of the Cain's Ballroom at time or ten. You know the feeling: "Yeah, yeah... Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, blah, blah... Sex Pistols, yada, yada..." If you've heard it once, you've heard it maybe a thousand times.
Somewhere in the midst of all that history and blah, blah, blah, however, the Ballroom really has become an icon--and one that's recognized outside our Oklahoma borders. Even more notable, though, is the fact that the Cain's reputation has expanded even more over the past few years.
As much as we may complain about not having a cool music scene in Tulsa, it might help to take a look around and put things in perspective. Not only has the Ballroom consistently ranked in Pollstar's "Top 50 Clubs" over the past two-plus years, even ranking #31 (based on ticket sales) for the first quarter of this year, it has also become a destination.
I've mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: Paste Magazine even listed the Cain's in its June issue as one of the "Top 40 Music Venues in America," emerging from a list of 500 nominees and standing proud next to other famous concert halls such as Red Rocks Amphitheater, The Troubadour and The Bowery Ballroom.
Why has the Cain's reputation taken on a new life, though? It's not just because it's "the house that Bob built" or that it has hosted legends from Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson to the Sex Pistols, The Police, Robert Plant and Loretta Lynn. It's because the Ballroom doesn't limit itself to only Hall of Fame shoo-ins, but has open-mindedly and smartly booked up-and-comers over the years.
As a result, we get to see bands come through Tulsa that may not mean much to us now, but just might be in the next crop of legends. After all, who would've thought in 1976 that a band of miscreants called the Sex Pistols would go down in the history books as such an influential group?
The thing that marks a great venue and makes it someplace everyone wants to visit is it's affinity for booking great music year round.
If you're in D.C., you don't think twice about stopping in at the 9:30 Club because there's always live music and, even if you haven't heard of the band yet, chances are it'll be big in the near future. Kind of like what's going on at the Cain's.
Don't believe me? Let's just take a look at the coming week's lineup:
This Friday night, October 5, Aqueduct plays Bob's (the Cain's second stage) in one of the most under-publicized shows of the week. I'm not sure what the problem is. Maybe it's just not cool to hype somebody after they've skipped town, but it seems to me we should be happy to see a local guy do well--even if he had to move to Seattle to do it.
In case you don't remember, Aqueduct mastermind David Terry is a Tulsa native who gambled it all and packed his bags for the Pacific Northwest and a chance to take his music to national audience. Although he hasn't become the next Killers or Interpol, Aqueduct has become a critical favorite in indie circles with David's keyboard-driven pop confections.
Marry a little '80s synth pop with a touch of garage rock and an occasional Beach Boys fixation and you get an approximation of Aqueduct's sound. How can you go wrong supporting a local boy who's touring nationally with a $13 ticket?
On Saturday night, the Ballroom gets back to its roadhouse roots when blues-rocker Joe Bonamassa returns to Tulsa. Anyone who was waiting for Bluesfest to finally roll around and was disappointed when it was officially cancelled ought to consider this show. Bonamassa's already known in blues circles for his electric guitar skills, but his latest CD, Sloe Gin, showcases his acoustic skills as well.
This is a stacked bill for guitar fans as local hot shot Dustin Pittsley opens the show, which starts at 8pm. The wild card of the night, however, is Crosby Loggins (yes, the son of Kenny Loggins). I'm not exactly sure what to expect, but he's sharing more than two months worth of dates with Bonamassa, so expect a more soulful take on his acoustic pop to segue into Joe's headline set. Tickets are $26.50 and $31.50.
Tuesday night, October 9, sees Robert Randolph and the Family Band return to the Ballroom. If you missed the show last February, you don't want to skip this one. Robert's a talented guitar player, but his pedal-steel playing is unbelievable. His hyperactive blend of gospel, soul, pop, rock and blues is as infectious as it is catchy and will surely have the pop music-loving girlfriends and wives dancing next to their blues-loving partners.
And just in case you think Randolph is all flash and no substance, you might want to check his resume. Not only has he been a featured act at Bonnaroo, he's toured with Clapton, guested at the Crossroads Guitar Festival and is following up the current leg of the tour with a five-city run as part of the "Experience Hendrix" tour with Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the original Jimi Hendrix Experience rhythm section.
It might be a stretch to call this the absolute best concert of the month since we've got sold-out shows by Ryan Adams and Alice in Chains to look forward to, but I can promise you it'll be my personal favorite Cain's show for October. Tickets are $24 and worth every penny.
To wrap up the coming week, rising screamo stars Senses Fail and pop-punk act New Found Glory co-headline the main stage on Wednesday night, October 10.
Two years ago, this show would have been at Crush Lounge or The Otherside. Two years from now? On to the Brady or even bigger? Only time will tell, but right now it's a chance to see two current buzz bands on one $23 ticket.
That's the kind of schedule that lands a venue in the Top 40 in the nation--and we're only a week into the month. There's plenty more coming up, but let's not get ahead of ourselves -- just kick back and enjoy what we've got, because we've got it better than you think.
A Music Club in the Heart of Downtown
Yes, it's Thursday again and that means the Tulsa Press Club is opening up its doors to everyone for the Soundproof concert series, sponsored by Urban Tulsa Weekly. This week's show features local all-star Travis Kidd.
Most people know Kidd for his country-tinged pop songwriting, but his forthcoming CD MidAmerica proves he's grounded as much in classic rock as anything else. I'm sure he'll keep the volume in check at The Press Club, but don't be surprised if he pulls a few tricks out of his sleeve like segueing AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" into Jerry Reed's "East Bound and Down." Who else would think of that? Of course, I'm sure you'll get a preview of the new material over the course of the night as well.
Make sure and come out to The Press Club for happy hour on Thursday evening from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Travis will be playing from 6 to 7pm and showing everyone why he's one of Tulsa's most underrated guitar players, as well as a darn good songwriter.
After leaving happy hour, you can continue to enjoy the evening by heading over to the Cain's Ballroom for the United Way's Rockin' Docs fundraiser concert. Tickets are $10, with all proceeds going directly to the Tulsa Area United Way.
If you're into gritty southern rock and alt-country, you need to stop in at Exit 6C on Thursday night as Dallas band Macon Greyson holds its Tulsa CD release party for 20th Century Accidents at Exit 6C. Picture a drunken, rowdy Jay Farrar (Uncle Tupelo, Son Volt) and you've got a pretty good idea what to expect. Cover is only $5.
The Tulsa State Fair dominates most of the weekend's big shows, all of which were covered in last week's issue, but here's a summary of what's left: Saliva, Switchfoot and Jordan Pruitt on the Main Stage Thursday thru Saturday nights and headlining concerts by Jo Dee Messina, Blake Shelton and Chris Cagle following the PRCA rodeo, October 4-6, respectively.
Elsewhere around town, the Riverwalk Crossing in Jenks closes out its summer concert series on Friday night, October 5 with classic rockers Foghat. A limited number of reserved seat are available at the Riverwalk offices for $20, or you can hang out in the back for free. Another "where's they go" band, Puddle of Mudd, also stops in town on Friday for a show at the Osage Events Center. Tickets are $25 and available online at www.gettix.net.
Friday is punk night at Mercury Lounge with VooDoo Glow Skulls, Left Alone and First Lady Assassins for $5, while Mooch & Burn hosts Brimstone Howl and Friendly Friends settles in at the Soundpony for the indie crowd.
Meanwhile, The Crush Lounge hosts L.A. powerpop act Plastic Parachutes on October 5 with openers Starving Europa and My Solstice.
Local rock stars in the making The Effects return to town on October 6, headlining a $7 show at The Blank Slate with Low Light Travelers and Autovaughn opening the evening.
If you're looking for a pure drunken party, however, make sure to stop in at Mercury Lounge for a night of twisted party tunes with Sugar Free All Stars on Saturday. Cover is $5 and Mercury always has a beer and a shot for $5, so $10 will get you started nicely.
On Sunday, October 7, the Jazz Hall of Fame continues its fall concert series with The Rat Pack. Jason DeLong, Jeff Shadley and Chuck Cissel recreate the magic and chemistry of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr, respectively, for a fun evening of pop and jazz standards starting at 5pm.
The rest of the week is kind of quiet in the clubs, but you can stop in at the Soundpony to hear Steve Lidell and Tech Tonic after Robert Randolph on Tuesday, or just chill out on Wednesday evening with Bruner and Crook at Ti Amo's.
If you're not visiting the Cain's, you might just choose to take it easy to work off the corndogs from the fair. Everything is back in high gear next weekend, including Jeff Martinson's CD release party (see page 51) and the Cross Canadian Ragweed at the Osage Events Center. With that in mind, you'd better rest up and be ready to party!
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