POSTED ON MARCH 9, 2011:
Davila 666 is loud and low-fi. Just call it gutter-pop
Reverb is quickly building a reputation as one of the best places to see not only some of Tulsa's best indie bands, but also some of the genre's best touring groups. The show coming up this Saturday, March 12, is a great example of what the club, 5528 E. 11th St., has been doing so well lately: pairing local favorites with national, and now international, bands that are enjoying some success on the road.
Topping the bill Saturday is Davila 666, a six-piece garage-rock outfit from Puerto Rico. The band plays simple but catchy songs that make you want to dance.
"We just play rock 'n' roll," said lead singer Carlos Santiago. "We try to write pop songs, but it's a little dirtier than that. Maybe gutter-pop?"
Santiago sings entirely in Spanish, but said the language barrier doesn't stop non-Spanish speakers from enjoying his band.
"We actually have more fans in the states than we do in Puerto Rico," he said.
Santiago says "Davila" is a common working class name in Puerto Rico.
"We added the "666" to make it stupid -- to make it stick in people's heads," he said.
Santiago and the other members of Davila 666 spent their first six months as a band playing parties around Puerto Rico. They used the money they earned to fund trips to the states, where they played more shows, including one in Los Angeles, where the musicians were discovered by Larry Hardy, owner of indie label In The Red Records.
"He was there to check out another band," Santiago said, "but his girlfriend bought him our CD and he liked it."
Being discovered and eventually signed to a label is kind of situation many bands dream of, but one Santiago says isn't necessarily the only option. His advice to younger musicians: don't wait for anyone to help you.
A lot of kids are waiting for someone to give them something, he said. "You shouldn't do that. You have to think of it more like a job. If you work hard enough and keep doing it, eventually something's going to happen."
Davila 666 may have the help of a record label now, but the band's do-it-yourself approach to music hasn't changed.
International Incident. Santiago and the other members of Davila 666 spent their first six months as a band playing parties around Puerto Rico. They used the money they earned to fund trips to the states to play more shows, including one in Los Angeles, which landed them a record deal. During a recent stop in Nashville, Tenn., the band recorded a live album for Third Man Records, the indie label started by Jack White of the White Stripes.
"We still record at our bassist's house," Santiago said. "The label doesn't want us to go to a studio. They're afraid it would mess it up."
Being on a label has led to a larger audience for Davila 666, and more opportunities to play bigger shows. During a recent stop in Nashville, Tenn., the band recorded a live album for Third Man Records, the indie label started by Jack White of the White Stripes. The album will be released later this year.
Saturday's show at Reverb will be Davila 666's first in Tulsa. They'll be playing with established local indie rockers La Panther Happens and The Dull Drums, and another band that's new to the scene.
The Jefferson Jackson is a new band led by Mitch Gilliam. Gilliam is the singer and guitarist from Lizard Police, another local indie group that's been generating quite a bit of buzz lately.
Gilliam's new group consists of him and three women -- his friends Alyse Thelan, Kacie Ogle and Jennifer Coggins. The band plays what Gilliam calls "garage-rock power-pop, but way on the punk side of garage."
Gilliam said The Jefferson Jackson started as an excuse to have fun.
"We have a pretty large group of friends that all play shows around here." Gilliam said, "The girls were always hanging out. On my birthday back in October we got bored and decided to start a band."
The Jefferson Jackson's played just three shows so far and have yet to record any of their music, but Gilliam said an album is in the works.
"Blake Swaney from Northside Hotdogs is going to record us," Gilliam said. "He doesn't really have a studio or anything. He mixes his music on a clock radio, but it sounds good."
The girls in The Jefferson Jackson made the blue dresses they wear when they play.
"I just wear my normal clothes," Gilliam said, "but since they all match, I might have to figure something out."
The band's first show was at a bonfire. They're playing next month at Crystal Pistol with The Brew City Bombshells, a burlesque group from Milwaukee that's sponsored by Pabst Blue Ribbon.
"That should be awesome," Gilliam said.
In the meantime, Jefferson Jackson's members are looking forward to Saturday and a chance to share a night of music with familiar faces and six new friends from Puerto Rico.
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