POSTED ON DECEMBER 12, 2012:
Let's Get Ugly This Christmas
Concert returns to rock the season
Over the past couple of years, The Edge (Z104.5FM) has been making all the right moves to reestablish itself as the preeminent rock station in Tulsa. Although the annual "Edgefest" has not yet returned, the station did have a strong hand in 2011's "Brady Block Party" concert and has successfully resurrected the annual Homegroan CD (now back in its fourth consecutive year).
Not content to rest on its reputation or simply revive past glories, however, The Edge is looking to create new traditions. Last December, the station introduced the "Ugly Christmas Sweater" concert with headliners Rise Against and Cage the Elephant, as well as a spotlight set by Awolnation that many thought stole the show. This year, the concert returns with an even better lineup and the promise that this could become a new tradition for modern and alt-rock lovers.
The Christmas twist to the show comes in the timing (obviously, the December date coincides with the Christmas season) and the pre-show festivities, as The Edge encourages all of its fans and attendees to break out their most embarrassing seasonal covering and compete in the "Ugly Christmas Sweater" contest for an undisclosed prize.
Beyond the contest, this is a Christmas show for those who simply want to rock. Sure, one of the headliners might break out a Christmas cover in honor of the season, but this is primarily a rock concert and The Edge's seasonal gift to its loyal listeners. And if you thought last year's bill was cool, this year's is even bigger and better, featuring four bands that bring the show a couple of established groups and a pair that promise to explode in the near future.
This year's show hits Brady Theater (105 W. Brady Street) on Thursday, Dec. 13, with doors opening at 6pm and music starting at 7pm. The lineup features Metric and Passion Pit along with co-headliners Silversun Pickups and Shiny Toy Guns, giving modern rock fans one of the best package shows of the season.
Metric may be described as a Canadian-based New Wave band, but that description is a bit misleading on both fronts. Although the band was initially founded in Toronto in 1998, it has also been based out of Montreal, London, New York City, and Los Angeles over the course of its career. In many instances, the band's New Wave influences come shining through, but this is primarily synth-based dance rock that can fit just as well in rock clubs as on the dance floor.
Of course, the New Wave roots are obvious enough that even though this in one of the lesser known bands on the bill, it's likely the one that will be a favorite for older fans -- parents who are bringing their kids, only to be banished to the balcony seats during the show. The laugh remains on the kids. There's a reason this band is still around after 14 years: its latest disc, Synthetica, is a great album that highlights all the band's strengths and should end up in dad's stocking after he takes you to the show.
Passion Pit hasn't been around nearly as long, debuting in 2008 with an EP, Chunk of Change, that was initially written by band leader Michael Angelakos as a belated Valentine's Day gift to this then-girlfriend.
Initially written and performed by Angelakos alone with his laptop, the project became a band after keyboardist/guitarist Ian Hultquist approached him about collaborating together. Although the full band lineup has shifted, the pair continues onward together as Passion Pit has become one of the hot buzz bands with its sample-heavy, indie dance rock.
Although the group's sophomore effort, Manners, wasn't the breakthrough that many expected it to be, the band was nonetheless one of the hot acts at SXSW and even scored an opening slot on the fall 2010 Muse tour, opening the show that stopped in Oklahoma City that year. This is the band's first return to Oklahoma since that show, and it sees the band supporting its latest album, Gossamer, which came out in July.
For many, the headline draw of the night will be Silversun Pickups, who haven't performed in Tulsa since September 2009. The group released its third studio album, Neck of the Woods, in May and launched the album with lead single "Bloody Mary."
Formed in 2002, the group broke through to gain mainstream attention and radio airplay with the single "Lazy Eye" off of the band's full-length debut, Carnavas. The single "Panic Switch," off the group's sophomore disc, Swoon, kept the band in the spotlight in 2009. The current album sees the band continue to refine its sound and approach, adding even more dynamics to its songs. A fall tour that featured a handful of different opening acts, including The Wombats, 3OH!3, and The Hives, didn't make its way through our area, so this is the band's opportunity to reintroduce itself and its new album in front of a larger crowd at The Brady.
Although many are anticipating Silversun Pickups, the true headliner of the night is undoubtedly Shiny Toy Guns, which was founded by Jeremy Dawson and Chad Petree, both of which are Oklahoma natives who grew up together in Shawnee. The band's debut album, We Are Pilots, was initially released independently on Stormwest International and was up-sold twice, ultimately landing the band on Universal Records for the album's third release in 2006 that sent the band screaming up the alt-rock charts.
The band just released its third album, appropriately titled III, on Oct. 23, and the band makes its first appearance in Tulsa in support of the album (and lead singles "Waiting Alone" and "Faded Listening") to be the true spotlight act of this year's Ugly Christmas Sweater concert.
Although I wasn't able to connect with the band to discuss its return to Tulsa, Dawson and Petree have continued to stay connected with their Oklahoma roots. Dawson has even become known as quite the DJ outside of the band, appearing semi-frequently in Oklahoma City. This Thursday night's show will undoubtedly feature the band's biggest hit singles, such as "Le Disko," "You Are the One," "Ricochet," and "Ghost Town," as well as highlights from the new CD.
Although doors open at The Brady at 6pm, fans are encouraged to come out early as the official pre- and after-parties are being held just around the corner at The Vanguard (222 N. Main Street). After a full night of dance rock at The Brady, the party will continue with an open dance floor at The Vanguard and hopes that Dawson will make an appearance to DJ and conduct the party.
This year's Ugly Christmas Sweater takes on a whole different tone and should turn into an all-night dance party as Metric and Passion Pit lead into Silversun Pickups and Shiny Toy Guns and the party rolls around the corner to The Vanguard to extend into the wee hours of the night. Admission to the pre- and after-party at The Vanguard is free and tickets are still available for the concert at Brady Theater for $37.50 plus service charges. This promises to be one of the biggest parties of the season for alt-rock and dance rock fans as The Edge does its part to create a new Christmas tradition for its listeners.
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