POSTED ON JUNE 17, 2009:
Blessing or a Curse?
Punk rockers Over Stars and Gutters pave the way with new CD
No Cheese, No Whine. This isnít about pretty hair, white belts and posing. No songs about girls, how school sucks or teen angst. Instead, McHughes looks lifeís challenges in the eye and stares them down.
Do you need a wakeup call? Have you been dispassionate about local shows lately? Or, are you just looking for something different? Don't fret--we all go through it now and again. It's the curse of the local music fan: indulging or over-indulging to the point of finally becoming tired or apathetic. You just need something to shake you out of it, something to rattle and bless your soul.
If that's been your curse lately, you need to shuffle down to The Monolith this Friday night, June 19, for the CD release of Consider This Your Curse from Over Stars and Gutters. It's loud, it's brash, it's passionate and in-your-face. In other words, it's a much needed breath of fresh air.
For me, Over Stars and Gutters is a gift from the heavens. While local music continues to flourish, alternating between new bands and ongoing creativity in established ones, economic conditions have caused a handful of our already limited number of live music clubs close their doors (more to come--I'll touch on that later). With the closing of venues, we've lost a little steam in our local rock scene, so having a relatively new band jump out with a disc as raw, yet polished and complete as Consider This Your Curse is a surprise.
After a little digging, I was able to find out what's behind this explosion of sound. As it turns out, the firestorm is a group of buddies from Norman, finding their way and exploring life as post-college graduates.
After being formed by Matt McHughes in August of 2007 with three other members, the group has transformed under his watch, finally settling in with its current lineup over the past eight months. Rounded out by Taylor Hale on guitar and background vocals, Derek Lahman on bass and Jerry Jump on drums, Over Stars and Gutters has found its groove with McHughes fronting the band on vocals and guitar in one of the strongest punk bands to come out of western Oklahoma in quite a while.
A testimony to that proclamation is the band's debut disc, which was recorded in Tulsa with Stephen Egerton at Armstrong Studios. Packed with muscular guitars and thought provoking lyrics, Over Stars and Gutters is a far cry from the commercial pop-punk of radio ready banks like Blink 182 or Sum 41.
This isn't about pretty hair, white belts and posing. No songs about girls, how school sucks or teen angst. Instead, McHughes looks life's challenges in the eye and stares them down. Admittedly taking inspiration from Florida and Chicago-based punk bands like Hot Water Music and Jawbreaker, he melds his inspirations with those of his band mates to create something both inspiring and unsettling.
When he sings "Do you ever feel worthless, do you ever feel alone?" in "Between Saints and Sinners," it's more than just a pity party--McHughes is just beginning to touch on something that rings as true for 40-year-olds as 14-year-olds.
When asked about the band and record, McHughes said, "When I formed Over Stars and Gutters, I was trying to pinpoint where my other band (3rd Grade Scuffle) was falling apart. I was graduating college and trying to decide what to do with my life.
"I finally made the decision to continue to playing music and not follow the status quo of the average college graduate," he continued. "That's really the point of Over Stars and Gutters and what a lot of this record is about."
Although the band has only played Tulsa a handful of times, reception has been strong enough to warrant a Tulsa CD release party at one of the band's favorite venues, The Monolith. "Unfortunately, we found out that Monolith will be closing at the end of the month, so we're glad to be able to do it there before they close," McHughes explained. "It's a really cool DIY place that has always been supportive of us. Every city needs a club like that."
Support for the show will be provided by John Moreland and the Black Gold Band, which has gone through a membership change over the past few months as well. "John Moreland is probably one of our favorites to play with," McHughes said. "John and Wayne played with us a few times during the time when we were going through lineup changes," he continued, explaining the camaraderie between bands.
Also on the bill are openers Thunder Tusk, Violent Crime and The Science Club. As always at the Monolith, cover is only $5 and you'll be able to pick up the new disc at the show. Don't miss your chance to see Over Stars and Gutters, bid farewell to one of its favorite clubs and get your taste of their Curse -- especially if you're looking for someone to snap you out of a musical haze.
Yes, it's festival season and while we still have time before Tulsa's main event, DFest, the big Oklahoma shows are all rolling in. This weekend it's Country Fever at the festival grounds in Pryor.
Perhaps it should have been dubbed "Red Dirt Fever" this year as the lineup favors Oklahoma and Texas artists with headliners like Cross Canadian Ragweed, Stoney Larue, Randy Rogers, Robert Earle Keene, Jason Boland, Eli Young and Jerry Jeff Walker. Nevertheless, it should be a great weekend for Red Dirt, Americana and country fans. Tickets are still available for $120 for a four-day pass or $45 per day. Check out the schedule and get directions at www.countryfeverfest.com.
We're well into June now and things are heating up literally and metaphorically. As is tradition, we've got all the highlights for you before you hit the clubs. Read on...
Thursday night's biggest show isn't a rock act, but one of the biggest comedians around right now. Dane Cook headlines the BOK Center with the Isolated Incident Tour. Tickets range from $32 to $107. If you're looking for something more Tulsa-centric and cheaper, check out Cairde na Gael at Arnie's or Dave Rumsey with Water Colours at Ida Red.
Friday, June 19 has a handful of good shows beyond the Over Stars and Gutters release party. The Marquee hosts Pro-Pain with Mantic Ritual while Jonny Lang headlines Cain's Ballroom. Meanwhile, Flytrap Music hall has a hard rock showdown with Texas Hippie Coalition, Mercy Street, It All Burns Down, The Thrill That Kills, Chuk Cooley and the Demon Hammers and First Lady Assassins.
Flytrap follows up on Saturday, June 20 with the biggest local show of the weekend. "Tulsa Cares Fest" is a fundraiser with 100 percent of the door going to Tulsa Cares, a non-profit organization which provides special services for those affected by HIV and AIDS. Cover is $8 and the music starts at 5pm with My Solstice, Stars Go Dim, Ptiaradactyl, Craker Wagon, Bring Down the Hammer, Callupsie, Joe Mack and Blood Runs Cold all coming together for a worthy cause.
Elsewhere on Saturday night, Electric Rag Band plays Mercury Lounge, Steve Pryor rocks Arnie's and Badwater plays the Riverwalk Amphitheater.
Finally, the week wraps up with pop, pop and more pop. Monday night, Jonas Brothers bring their formulaic dreck to the 'tween crowd with Jordin Sparks and Honor Society opening (and Stars Go Dim playing the pre-show outside), while local hero David Cook headlines a sold-out show at Cain's Ballroom with Ryan Star and Phil Marshall opening on Tuesday, June 23.
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