POSTED ON OCTOBER 16, 2013:
Progress in the Making
Bravo Delta and more on the horizon
For those with a short attention span, the arrival of Bravo Delta for an all-ages show at The Vanguard this Saturday night is just another show. If you've been involved in the local music scene and don't just follow the flavor of the month, however, you'll know this is more than just another hard rock concert.
Brandon Davis cut his teeth on Tulsa's local music scene, transitioning from Copious to taking over duties as lead vocalist of Wreckless Process nearly ten years ago. After releasing one CD and touring to the West Coast and back, the band ran its course, but Davis hadn't. His next step was to form My Solstice, as well as front short-lived metal outfit Mercy Street and fill his time in side projects Dr. Squealsgood and The Sex.
My Solstice was by far the most successful of Davis' projects, winning "Band of the Year" at the ABoT Music Awards in 2009 and landing on the cover of Urban Tulsa Weekly in June of 2010. Just as My Solstice was reaching its peak and releasing its third disc, Passion in Progress, Davis received a call that he had to answer. After receiving a CD of Davis' vocals from an outside source, Marcos Curiel (of P.O.D.) extended an invitation to audition for The Accident Experiment, which he was preparing to relaunch. Eventually, Davis won the job and was called to relocate to Los Angeles at the end of the summer in 2010 to front the new band.
Although The Accident Experiment did go into the studio and record a new album, P.O.D. kicked back into action, taking up most of Curiel's time and leaving Davis in a state of flux. Not one to sit still, he started performing acoustic shows as "Bravo Delta" (call signs for his initials, BD) and eventually went in to record his own album, assembling Bravo Delta as a band with fellow native Tulsan Andy Ingraham on guitar with bassist Ryan Flores and drummer Scott Decker completing the lineup.
What that lineup created, however, was a transition from the acoustic tunes that the songs had started out as to the kind of commercial hard rock that Davis' voice is ideally built for. The debut disc, Sunset Wasteland, was released in February of 2012 and saw the band tour fairly extensively, playing Los Angeles and Las Vegas and touring east to Oklahoma and Texas at least three times.
With a unique chemistry forming between the band members, another CD was inevitable, and Shutdown Sequence was released in March with a more aggressive tone and demeanor. With a spring tour cancelled because of an injury sustained by Decker, Bravo Delta hasn't been able to return to Tulsa in support of the disc. But that all changes when the band arrives this weekend on a series of dates with Nothing More. This is the first time in over a year that the band has been able to return to Tulsa, and the first all-ages show that the band has been able to play here since June of last year, building a sense of anticipation for fans and band alike.
Fortunately, I was able to chat with Davis briefly before the group hit the road to talk about the band and new record in advance of the show.
What stands out most about the new disc is the sonic growth and more aggressive tone of the songs. When asked if the band configuration had changed how he writes, Davis said, "Absolutely. When I brought in Andy and Scott -- and my bass player at the time, Ryan -- I had already written the entire record, except for 'Loose Cannon.'"
"Now, I get to throw my ideas around and let them take shape," he continued. "Mostly, I take my ideas to Andy and bounce them off of him, but instead of coming to the band with the songs already written, I can get input from everyone. With Sunset Wasteland, I already had four of the songs written, so that's where I started and then the band developed."
"When I was doing the acoustic thing, people were telling me that the songs were good, but I was writing for a full band and they didn't translate well," he explained.
Thus, the transition to Bravo Delta as a band. Moving forward, however, Davis was looking to find a balance.
"I wanted to keep the same songwriting approach, but have it be more developed," he shared. "I wanted better bass and more guitars."
With Shutdown Sequence, Bravo Delta achieved just that. Davis lyrical voice and perspective are distinctly intact, but the CD as a whole makes a leap forward in nearly every aspect, from the sonic clarity to the writing and the energy level.
"I think the record still keeps the singer/songwriter element, but we were able to incorporate more intricate guitars and a heavier rhythm section," Davis said. "Even vocally, this is a much heavier record. On Sunset Wasteland, there were a couple of songs that were more personal. But yeah -- I think this is just a heavier, more aggressive record," he continued. "With Shutdown Sequence, I had been in LA for two or three years, and it was just getting to me."
For instance, Davis shared that the song "Streets Will Burn" is "literally about burning Hollywood Boulevard to the ground. There are a lot of good things as well, but there is just a lot of grimy crookedness. So much of the city and what's going on is all about money."
Of course, not all of the new disc is dark: "We Stand, We Fall" is an anthemic call to arms amidst the chaos that surrounds us, looking for some hope in a bleak future. That search for answers continues on the track "Moonchild."
Inevitably, this is a band project, but it bears Davis' distinct perspective (and at times, cynicism) in the lyrics and presentation. Shutdown Sequence makes a mighty statement, however, as Bravo Delta has found its voice and sound as a band to go with Davis' voice. It's a sonic achievement as well, having been fully funded by the fans via a Kickstarter campaign, allowing the band the opportunity to take its time developing and recording the songs. The finishing touches came from Derek Taylor (who has worked with Red Line Chemistry, Skillet, and Shinedown) mixing the disc. It proved to be a perfect fit. "He knew what we wanted, sound wise, and did a great job with the record," Davis said.
Looking forward, Davis current plan is for Bravo Delta to do even more touring and pick up some higher profile gigs. The band has already played road dates with Alien Ant Farm, P.O.D., Powerman 5000, and Otherwise. Davis is also focusing on trying to build the band's presence on radio, focusing primarily on independently owned stations and building the band's relationships in outside markets.
And what about The Accident Experiment? Although the band has been on hold while P.O.D. was on the road, Davis revealed that it did allow the band to rework the new record. Although the album was recorded over two years ago and has been sitting dormant, Curiel has been shopping the music to different industry people and collecting their comments. According to Davis, the band booked studio time this past summer to make adjustments to some of the songs, changing guitar parts and transitions and he even got the opportunity to record new vocals, literally working through all of the songs to prepare the album for a label release, hopefully in 2014.
As for now, though, Davis continues to move forward with Bravo Delta, building upon the foundation he's been laying since moving to Los Angeles in 2010 (and subsequently relocating to Las Vegas last year) and continuing to build his songwriting with Andy Ingraham as his right hand man.
You can finally catch up with Davis and Ingraham once again as Bravo Delta plays The Vanguard this Saturday night, Oct. 19, with San Antonio-based hard rockers Nothing More. SocietySociety and OTSB will open the show at 7pm and tickets are $8 in advance or $12 at the door.
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Fall is here and football is definitely taking over, but don't use that as an excuse to be lame and not go out. The local music landscape is bustling as well, so get out and enjoy! If you don't know where to start, here are a few highlights to get you out the door:
Thursday, October 17
You've got plenty to choose from, starting with John Fogerty at The Joint, revisiting all of his Creedence classics as well as his solo stuff. If you're looking for something equally cool, but more current, don't miss American Aquarium at Mercury Lounge. And if you're looking for some reggae, catch Ugly Lion at The Shrine. If you're looking for something new, though, check out Bright Light Social Hour with Walker Lukens as Cain's Ballroom hosts a free show to thank all of its regular patrons.
Friday, October 18
The Joint is busy again, this time with the classic Texas boogie of ZZ Top and Cain's Ballroom welcomes the return of Blue October with The Unlikely Candidates and Tori Vasquez for the big shows of the night. Just down the street, you can catch Dante & the Hawks at Hunt Club or a dance party with DJ Cole Patterson at The Vanguard. Over at 18th and Boston, Mercury Lounge welcomes Deepfried Squirrel with Lucky Tubb & the Modern Day Troubadours while The Shrine throws a big rock show with Vandevander, the Wright Brothers, Clairaudients, Always the Alibi, and Rockwell Ryan.
Saturday, October 19
Bravo Delta and Nothing More rock The Vanguard with SocietySociety and OTSB while Brujo Roots and Hey Judy pack out The Yeti. Meanwhile, you can get your metal fix with Freaktoberfest at The Shrine with Hell Goat, Social Genocide, Joint Effect, and more. Also, Mercury Lounge hosts Zach Ryan & the Renegades.
Sunday, October 20
Hunt Club hosts Summer Better than Yours and The Last Slice and The Vanguard brings in songwriter Ellis Paul. The night's big show is Pokey LaFarge returning to Cain's Ballroom with Samantha Crain opening. Afterwards, wrap up your night with The Howlin' Brothers at Mercury Lounge.
Monday, October 21
Hard rock icons UFO land at The Vanguard with Firstryke opening the show for that classic metal fans shouldn't miss. Also in town, Earphunk plays The Shrine and Mercury Lounge throws the party of the night with Left Alone, Voodoo Glow Skulls, and The Toasters!
Wednesday, October 22
Check out the blues, world music-style, when the Taj Mahal Trio, Vusi Mahlasela and Fredericks Brown appear in Chapman Music Hall at the Tulsa PAC. Or move around at the big dance party at Cain's featuring: Brother Safari, Etc! Etc!, CRNKN, and Peppermint Fingerbangs.
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