POSTED ON JULY 3, 2013:
Red, White and Merc!
Celebrating with an all night blowout
Chances are, with this year's Fourth of July holiday building into an extended weekend, many Tulsans will be headed to the lake for an extended holiday or otherwise leaving town for a short vacation. Some of us, though, will be staying in Tulsa, either because we have to work or simply to avoid the traffic and headaches of travel. That doesn't mean we can't celebrate, however, as there are plenty of activities going on in Tulsa.
For those looking to get their music fix while celebrating, Mercury Lounge is throwing one of the best parties of the weekend. Garage rock, a touch of soul, psychedelia, Southern rock, Americana and classic country are all represented in a six band bill that offers a little something for everyone and even features one of our best local songwriters.
If you haven't heard John Moreland's latest album, In the Throes, yet you're missing what will prove to be one of the strongest local releases of the year. Moreland has been compared to Springsteen, Mellencamp and Steve Earle, but trying to paint him in that corner is missing the point. Sure, those writers certainly have some influence, but Moreland's songs have only proven to get tighter as he continues to write and his return to the live stage on a regular basis has only distilled it down even more. You're probably safest throwing the catch all "Americana" label at his music, but the label doesn't matter. If you like good music, you'll love this: mostly rock, part blues, a touch of country and 100 percent genuine. If you haven't heard Moreland yet, don't ask -- just go. Look him up now and tell your friends later.
Moreland is only one piece of the puzzle, however. Over the course of the night, Mercury Lounge is packing in four Nashville bands that all have their own sound and are as far from typical Nashville country as you can imagine. Billy Swayze arrives with his pop sensibilities intact -- and firmly planted in soul music, meaning you'll inevitably see hips moving on the dance floor. The Gills, on the other hand, have a distinct indie rock flair, drawing from everyone from Dr. Dog to Nada Surf to the melodic textures of Oasis. Not your typical Mercury Lounge fare, but then again -- The Merc is about anything but typical.
The Jag gives everything a left turn, digging into classic rock for a '70s vibe and psychedelic tone that recalls Steppenwolf, Mountain and BTO. Instead of sounding dated, though, these guys deliver it with an energy and genuineness that keeps it fresh. Perhaps they're the band that prepares your mind for the unhinged blues, thrash and garage rock explosion that is Blackfoot Gypsies. If there's a band made for getting crazy and cutting loose at The Merc, it's Blackfoot Gypsies. If they weren't based in Tulsa, they'd be the defacto house and party band.
You can't get out of the night at Mercury Lounge without at least a little country, though, even on the Fourth of July. That's why Mercury welcomes back one of its favorites, Lucky Tubb & the Modern Day Troubadours to headline the night. If the name sounds familiar, you're not too far off base. As the great nephew of country icon Ernest Tubb, Lucky Tubb embraces classic country, honky tonk and Texas swing as he channels his great uncle, Bob Wills and Hank Williams as well as following in the steps of contemporaries like Wayne Hancock and Dale Watson.
If you're looking to celebrate July 4th without leaving town and with a music fix, Mercury Lounge is the place to be. Make sure to arrive early as the festivities begin at 4pm with drink specials all night and The Doghouse on hand to provide the food as the party rocks on until 2am. Just hope you have an extended weekend and get to sleep it off on the fifth.
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