Thursday 31 Jul

Power Pyramid - The God Drums

Power Pyramid doesn’t have much patience for nonsense. That appears to be the takeaway from the Oklahoma City quintet’s last 10 months, which brought The God Drums in September, the Insomnia EP in January and its latest, self-titled effort in July.

07/29/2014 | Comments 0

TJ Mayes - "When Love Comes Down"

’50s era rock ’n’ roll had been long overdue for a rebirth. Thankfully, the stockpile of capable luminaries has not been in short supply over the past few years. 

07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Boare - "playdatshit"

The world is in the midst of an electronic music renaissance, and you find most of this boon of producers laying claim to the club-friendly, bass-dropping variety, holing up in the the free-flowing world of hip-hop beatmaking or pitching their tent on the out-there, boundary-pushing EDM camp.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broncho - "Class Historian"

Broncho has never been hurting in the hook department. The success of the trio’s 2011 debut, Can’t Get Past the Lips, was predicated mostly on its ability to marry melodies with kinetic guitar riffs and anarchic energy. Yet we’ve heard nothing to the degree of pure pop catchiness on display in “Class Historian,” the new single from Broncho’s upcoming sophomore album, Just Enough Hip to Be Woman.
07/23/2014 | Comments 0

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · South spark

South spark

Oklahoma musicians weren’t great at the state’s first official South by Southwest showcase. They were epic.

Stephen Carradini March 31st, 2011

The Non was winding down the first evening of The Buffalo Lounge’s three-day stand at Austin, Texas’ South by Southwest music festival, when a fascinated reveler couldn’t hold his thoughts in any longer.

Colourmusic1Colourmusic - Stephen Carradini

“Is that what Oklahoma sounds like these days?" he yelled.

Yes, it is.

Held March 15-17, the first official SXSW showcase for Oklahoma bands, sponsored in large part by the Oklahoma Film & Music Office, went a long way to taking Sooner music out of stereotypes and into reality in listeners’ minds. From the Ramones-esque punk of Broncho to the blistering metal of Rainbows Are Free and the singer/songwriter tunes of Sherree Chamberlain, a wide variety of sounds were represented.

Deerpeople’s dance-oriented indie rock served as the score to a theatrical performance featuring costume changes, giant insects, tentacled monsters, knights in armor, deer heads, Mardi Gras masks and more. The blink-and-you-miss-something-cool set brought a party atmosphere capped off by vocalist Brennan Barnes crowd-surfing amid a sea of bubbles.

Credits: Stephen Carradini

Colourmusic mesmerized people, too, but through the power of performance. Its dedication to rhythm, bass and ferocious rock ’n’ roll resulted in a powerhouse set. Lead singer Ryan Hendrix's impassioned vocals set the energy level for the rest of the band, which responded in kind, thrashing away. There's depth to be explored in Colourmusic’s layered and varied songs, but if you want your mind melted, you can just revel in the booming glee.

The Non also set out to wow people, but the members did it purely through music. The act sports neither vocals nor theatrics, impressing audiences strictly with unique instrumental rock. Part Explosions in the Sky, part Sigur Rós, part guitar wizardry, part funk genius, The Non writes songs no one else can. Its acrobatic, emotive guitar work and lightning-fast bass fretting meshed with solid drumming to create a sonic whirlwind.

If The Non is a whirlwind, The Boom Bang is a tornado. The band’s garage/surf blend created physical and musical chaos. Lead singer James Smith was an electrifying presence, pinballing through the venue while hollering at the top of his lungs. In addition to riding piggyback on his guitarist’s back and cussing out all of SXSW, he at one point left the venue while singing so he could be closer to the crowd gathered outside to listen.

When Nikolas Thompson, front man of Kite Flying Robot, left the stage, it was to sing a song closer to the audience inside the venue. The rest of the spot-on group played its melodic, calm indie pop with a bevy of instruments: violin, trumpet, keyboards, electronic beats and more. It was an incredibly enjoyable set from a band with a bright future.

Jabee and Kellen McGugan of The Pretty Black Chains
Credits: Stephen Carradini

The Pretty Black Chains’ Zeppelin-esque rock featured a cameo verse from rapper Jabee, while Emory Grey (formerly rap act 8Bit Cynics) also featured him as a guest. Tulsa represented well with memorable sets from hip-hop force Snorlaxx, rocker Fiawna Forté and jazz-pop outfit OK Sweetheart.

The Buffalo Lounge’s location inside the bar Friends was a boon for the bands, right in the middle of the SXSW action on Sixth Street. Many people walking by stopped outside to listen, only increasing exposure for Okie performers.  

Here’s hoping for an encore.

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