POSTED ON FEBRUARY 10, 2010:
Leading the Pack
The TulsaOriginalMusic.com showcase makes another case for Oklahoma bands and itself
Original Sound. The TulsaOriginalMusic.com showcase features upand- coming musical talent from across the state, such as Stars Go Dim, The Last Slice, Motown Slice and RadioRadio.
Back for its third incarnation, this year's TulsaOriginalMusic.com Showcase has a completely different face than the past two years, but that's partially by design.
Not only has the online radio station that serves as an internet sister to KMYZ and The Edge's weekly Homegroan show evolved throughout time so has our local music scene.
As a result, there are some new faces on the bill--a couple representing the most active and popular of our local acts and a couple representing the recently emerging side of the regional talent pool.
The Edge's Promotions Director Ryan Giles said he's intrigued with the turnover of bands throughout the past couple of years during a discussion of the weekend showcase.
"It's been really interesting to me, because a lot of the leaders are gone now or broken up," he said.
"Malan Darras is gone and PDA just left, I'm not sure what's going on with My Solstice [on hiatus while the band returns to the studio--tracking started two weeks ago], and Congress of a Crow and Citizen Mundi have both broken up," he said, name-checking a few of the artists who have been featured in previous showcases. "That really leaves a space for some new bands to step up as leaders on the local scene," he said. "I mean, right now, who's that band that you have to go see on Friday night? Someone needs to step up and fill that spot."
This year's third annual TulsaOriginalMusic.com showcase serves to not only draw attention to the online station and present a mini-snapshot of its playlist but also makes a case for which acts are emerging as the latest leaders of Oklahoma's original pop and rock music pool.
Scaled back to four acts, the bill is more concise and focused than past years while still giving a broad view of what the local, commercially viable rock scene has to offer.
The night's music kicks off at 7:30pm with The Last Slice, a third wave ska band hailing from Claremore. It's not often that you come across a ska band anymore, much less one that is good and takes its music seriously.
Surprisingly, The Last Slice fits both criteria and has been honing its chops, playing frequently at The Tree and King of Clubs in Claremore throughout the past year and even making a few Tulsa appearances as its profile has risen.
The young band is finally hitting its stride, and has not only scored a spot opening a couple of shows for The Toasters, but is also doing a short "Spring Break" tour with Bottlerocket. Even so, the band has just begun to draw attention in Tulsa, as this weekend's show helps raise awareness.
Next up on the bill is Oklahoma City act Motown Slice. Including a band from OKC might seem contrary to the purpose of a Tulsa Original Music showcase, but the online station plays bands from all over the state and building a partnership with a few good bands from our western neighbor metropolis could only serve to help acts from both cities grow their fan bases.
This year, Motown Slice represents the OKC contingent with a fresh vibe and sound that merges garage rock, post-punk, pop and soul and draws comparisons to bands ranging from The Godfathers to Smashmouth. The band's got some great hooks, so I'm excited to see how it delivers live. This could be the surprise of the evening.
As the evening hits its peak, a pair of Tulsa's leaders will grace the Ballroom stage to represent the cream of the current local crop.
RadioRadio's recent lineup rotation saw the return of drummer Scott Taylor and the addition of guitarist Ben Hosterman, and the group is sounding tighter than ever as it pushes its new Beau Hill remix of "I, Computer" to radio and a chance at grabbing a broader audience.
Although the band has always proven to be one of the most promising acts in Tulsa, this latest incarnation should be the one that sees the band finally reach its true potential. A renewed energy and focus should see the band truly shine on the main stage.
Finally, the evening will wrap up with 2009 ABoT Music Award winner for "Best Pop/Rock Band" Stars Go Dim. By now, you should already know the band and its music, so it's a virtual no-brainer that Stars Go Dim should be on the bill. And although the group is still building upon the release of its full-length debut in September, it continues to write and record, recently returning from yet another trip to the studios in Nashville just a few short weeks ago.
Anticipating an eager audience and a special performance, Stars Go Dim will actually be recording the show this weekend for an upcoming live DVD, so it will be a show you don't want to miss.
As much as spotlighting four up-and-coming artists might seem like the icing on the cake, this weekend's showcase also serves to draw attention back to the TulsaOrignalMusic.com Web site and online radio station that features local and regional Oklahoma artists 24/7.
Promotions director Giles said that the site has steadily grown throughout the past two years.
A real spike in hits came, however, when The Edge posted its new iPhone application. Once downloaded, users cannot only stream The Edge over their iPhones but also stream TulsaOriginalMusic.com as a substation on the app.
With more than 16,000 downloads since the link went up, both the station and the Web site have seen a noticeable increase in online users. Perhaps it's only fitting that the showcase should fall this month as one of our most popular rock stations and most vocal supporters of local music approaches its 15th anniversary this month.
If your taste for local music leans toward the commercial rock and pop vein or even if you're just ready to get out after the prolonged cold and wet spell, a trip to Cain's Ballroom for this showcase will be well worth the time and money spent.
Doors open at 6:30pm Friday, Feb. 12 with music starting at 7:30pm with The Last Slice. In addition, tickets are only $8 in advance or $10 at the door to check out the latest leaders on our local scene.
While the aforementioned showcase is undoubtedly one of the weekend's highlights, it's by far not the only worthy show of the weekend. If you're looking for a tip-off as to a couple of the coolest new projects in town, keep reading.
Thursday nights always serve to kick off the weekend early, and this weekend is no exception. If you're looking for something beyond the weekly standing gigs, you can check out Apollo with Arlis Moon, Cait Moore and Here Is There at The Marquee or A Lull at Soundpony to get things started.
Friday night, Feb. 12, has a handful of cool shows including Jesse Aycock holding down the fort at Arnie's and Poundcake and Deviation mixing things up at Soundpony.
If you're not checking out the TulsaOriginalMusic.com showcase at Cain's and still need your rock and pop fix, you can't go wrong at Flytrap Music Hall. Recently featured act The Televised headlines the show with the act that could win a vote for "Best Band we wish was from Tulsa" by a landslide, Denton's Oso Closo. If you haven't seen these guys yet, drop $5 at the door and don't miss the show. Never Feel Real and Mercy Street open the show to keep the bill about as diverse as they come.
If you're in more of a country and Americana mood, however, you have to stop in at Mercury Lounge on Feb. 12 to catch Turnpike Troubadours.
The band just released a new CD, Diamonds & Gasoline, and it's an absolute home run. This could very well be the best country disc to come out of our local scene during the past two or three years.
Evan Felker's songwriting has reached a new plateau and the band's performance steps up as well. As strong as the debut was, the new disc outshines it by miles--this one should launch the band beyond Green Country and make it a player both regionally and on the Texas Music scene. Don't miss your chance to catch on early and grab your copy of the disc. You'll undoubtedly be hearing a lot more about Turnpike Troubadours as 2010 progresses.
Saturday night's hot band tip is Love Ghost, appearing at The Eclipse. A link to stream the band's debut disc, Exit Wounds, is available at loveghostmusic.com.
The band includes Eric Arndt on bass, Jeff Matika on guitar, Dave Easley on pedal steel and Dylan Turner on drums. Regardless of the players, it's a freaking great CD--especially if you're partial to indie-pop with an organic feel. Love Ghost is new to the scene and doesn't play near often enough, so this is a "Can't Miss" gig, regardless of who else is (or isn't) on the bill. Trust me on this one.
And for the record, that's two (yes, two) tips on hot new releases that you need to catch up on. You can thank us later.
If you're dead set on something else on Saturday night, there are still some great shows with local favorites to check out. Brandon Clark Band keeps Mercury Lunge busy for the honky-tonk crowd, while blues rockers will enjoy Dustin Pittsley at Arnie's and Moai Broadcast brings its latest disc, hUMAN, to life at Soundpony.
Sunday evening, Feb. 14, features a Valentine's Dance with Roundup Boys at Cain's Ballroom, followed by RjD2 at Bob's on Monday with Kenan Bell and Happy Chichester for the electronic and DJ crowd.
The best torching show of the week, however, arguably stops at Flytrap Music Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 17 as Gov't Mule returns to Tulsa.
Last year's show at Cain's was flat-out amazing, and I can only imagine this show will only raise the bar on the band's performance. If you haven't seen them before, don't miss. If you already know, you won't miss.
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