POSTED ON JANUARY 12, 2011:
Local Musicians Reunite to Honor a Friend and Dedicated Scene Organizer
Back in September of 2010, the local music scene lost a good friend and supporter of live original music when Jordan Hiteshaw passed away due to injuries sustained in a longboarding accident in Broken Arrow. His loss came as a shock to everyone who knew him and sent a ripple of shock waves through the local music community that knew him.
Hiteshaw's passing wasn't just the loss of a friend, however. At the young age of 26, he had already done more for local music than many twice his age will ever even consider. As the founder of tulsamusicpulse.com, he provided a forum for musicians and local music fans to come together to discuss music and support the local scene. As a website designer, he helped many local bands set up and maintain their websites. He wasn't just an Internet guru, however, as he also supported many bands in other ways, occasionally helping them design and finance merchandise for their shows or help them plan and route their tours.
Hiteshaw was one of those fans that did more than just talk about music -- he got involved and proved how much he cared about the bands and local scene on a regular basis, as witnessed by his creation of the weekly TMP podcast, which also aired on the University of Tulsa's radio station during its roughly three-year run, and founding his own record label, Vigilant Records, releasing CD's by Wreckless Process, River City Ransom, Downstate and Shutdown Sequence Go.
Show Goes On
Back in November, handful of bands planned a memorial show to honor their friend, but last minute venue and zoning issues at Crystal Pistol caused the show to be postponed. The rescheduled show will be held Friday, Jan. 14 at Bob's, making it an all-ages show to include everyone in the local music community, just as Jordan would have preferred.
The lineup itself is a mixture of bands, three of which are reuniting to honor their friend, a pair of active bands and one that is making its live debut. Although they all differ stylistically, they all share common musical bonds as well as the sense of community that came from the members having been a part of the Tulsa Music Pulse (TMP) site, which started out a s a message board and forum before evolving into the site that carried the podcast and concert calendars.
Of the bands involved, Liverheart is the newest, making its live debut this weekend. Comprised of Ben Mosier, Jordan Coon, Brent Blackburn and Brennan McDonald, the group is a full-throttle rock band with definite punk rock underpinnings, which come from not only the band members' influences, but ties back to their involvement in the latest incarnations of First Lady Assassins. Vocalist Jordan Coon was the original lead singer for Wreckless Process and bassist Brennan McDonald was a member of that band through its lifespan, working with Hiteshaw extensively in everything from touring and merchandising to releasing the first CD on Hitshaw's Vigilant label.
John Moreland will also perform with his latest band, The Dustbowl Souls, continuing to move from his punk rock background into an Americana infused singer/songwriter rock. Although Moreland wasn't an active part of what was jokingly referred to as the "T-Town Wusscore" movement early in the decade, he was an active member of the TMP community and has developed tremendously as a musician and artist over the past decade.
A late add to the bill is the inclusion of Oklahoma City band Glister. Although the band is from OKC, its members knew Hiteshaw. When looking to play an all-ages show in Tulsa this month, the opportunity to participate in this show only made sense to the members of Glister. The group's inclusion also reflects the sense of community that was part of Hiteshaw's legacy, drawing together everyone for the common good of the local music scene.
Finally, the bulk of the night will be carried by the reunion of three bands that were part of the T-Town Wusscore movement that was active as the TMP site was established: Hotrodbob, Urban Tribe and Day By Day. While all of them are tied together musically with punk rock underpinnings, they diverge musically from there, with Hotrodbob keeping to a garage punk style, Urban Tribe incorporating a heavy groove and reggae influence and Day By Day diverting into an emo/scream territory that saw the band prove to be on the cutting edge of the Tulsa scene, musically, at the time they were together.
In fact, many people believe that if Day By Day had completed the album that the group began work on, it likely would have been signed to a label and gone on to see the type of success that bands like Taking Back Sunday and even A Day to Remember have experienced. Arguably, Day By Day was one of the most popular bands of that niche in the local music community at the time, but eventually splintered while recording its debut CD at Armstrong Studios. The reunion show in tribute of Hiteshaw will be a one-off performance, but a great time to reflect on the band and what it accomplished at the time.
When discussing the Hiteshaw benefit, I spoke with Jay Pitts, longtime bassist of Hotrodbob and a strong supporter of local music in his own right as he not only played in a band, but also hosted the Homegroan Show on The Edge before moving to Oklahoma City to work in radio there. As a close friend of Hiteshaw, he could only say great things about what he meant to the local music community: whether designing backend scripts so that bands could maintain their own websites, creating the TMP site, or even launching Vigilant Records, Hiteshaw was always active in the local music scene.
"TMP was a refreshing community, almost like a family in some ways, and Jordan was responsible for that," Pitts said. "Basically, he was just a fan, but he got involved and supported the bands. He had a gift for building websites and helped us with that, and then he started putting together shows with other people and bands on TMP."
When trying to explain what Hiteshaw really meant to the local music scene, Pitts stated that "Jordan was the rock -- he was the glue that held it all together. He let you crash on his couch when you were fighting with an wife or a girlfriend; when you couldn't make rent on your band's rehearsal space, he helped pay that; he helped pay for merchandise and even helped sell it, just taking back his initial investment and not asking for anything more. He was just a true friend to everyone."
Mostly, though, Pitts said that Hiteshaw kept everyone organized and on the right track.
"He was good at bringing everyone together and getting everyone on the same page," he said. "He would help stuff CD's and send them out to labels and venues and even help book and route tours."
Undoubtedly, Hiteshaw's untimely death last fall left many in the community at a loss and although his funeral and memorial services were packed to standing room with friends and acquaintances, many are still looking for a sense of closure. That's what this weekend's show is about: paying tribute to a personal friend and friend to the local music scene, as well as providing some sense of closure for many who never got to say goodbye.
Doors open at 6:30pm for the 7pm show and cover is only $5, with all proceeds going to Hiteshaw's family to help pay hospital and funeral expenses associated with his accident and death.
It's not often that I get an opportunity to support shows at Downtown Lounge, 25 N. Cheyenne Ave., as most shows come and go quietly. There's a big one this weekend, though, and you can be sure it won't be quiet when Honky (featuring J.D. Pinkus, of Butthole Surfers) plays the little bar this Saturday, Jan. 15. If that's not enough to raise eyebrows and get you out, ABoT award-winning band Chuk Cooley and the Demon Hammers will open, along with Austin, Texas-bred Whiskeydick, promising it will be a wild, loud and rowdy night at Downtown Lounge. If you haven't visited DTL yet now's the time to check it out.
The temperatures may be dropping, but that doesn't mean the local scene is cooling off. If anything, we're finally getting turned back up after a New Year's blowout. We've got all the highlights to get you pointed out the door, so read on if you need help in planning your weekend.
Thursday night has plenty going on like standing gigs by Ben Kilgore at Ivey and Rebellion at The Warehouse, both in Brookside. Over at Midnight Rodeo, however, red dirt and country fans can check out Wade Bowen as he returns to Tulsa. Indie rock fans can also check out the Daymoths at Sound Pony for some weeknight action.
One of the best shows of the week, however, is Taddy Porter's return to Tulsa, headlining a show at Bob's on Thursday, Jan. 13, with Red Line Chemistry and Vandevander opening. After a long 2010 that included touring with Saving Able, Finger Eleven, Evans Blue and even Slash, the band is how and preparing to go back to recording, so an adopted hometown show in Tulsa is well overdue and promises to be a great night for rock 'n' roll.
Friday night's highlight is the aforementioned Jordan Hiteshaw benefit at Bob's, but that's far from the only show in town. The Platters, Coasters and Drifters all come together for a retro showcase at River Spirit Events Center on Friday, Jan. 14 and local highlights include Mountain Sprout at Mercury Lounge, Klondike 5 at The Colony and Trash Angels at Hunt Club.
Perhaps the biggest show of the night, however, is tobyMac's Winter Wonder Slam Tour at Mabee Center with Brandon Heath and House of Heroes opening, covering the gamut of styles for Christina music fans. Tickets are still available ranging from $20-44.
I've already mentioned Saturday night's honky show at Downtown Lounge, but other highlights for Saturday, Jan. 15 include Electric Rag Band at Arnie's, Native Lights at Soundpony and Paul Benjamin Band at Fassler Hall, which is quickly becoming one of the best new venues in town.
Finally, the weekly highlights wrap up with three bigger shows: Silverstein at The Marquee on Sunday, Jan. 16; Boyz II Men at Osage Event Center on Monday and the Waka Winter Classic on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Cain's Ballroom, where local bands can compete for a spot on this summer's Wakarusa lineup.
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