Wednesday 16 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · River rage

River rage

After choppy waters, Riverboat Gamblers right the ship. All bets are off, punk fans!

Chris Parker August 24th, 2011

Riverboat Gamblers with Dead to Me, Off with Their Heads and Over Stars and Gutters
The Conservatory
8911 N. Western

Punk rock’s Riverboat Gamblers are something to behold. Singer Mike Wiebe is a feral animal stalking the stage, jumping into the crowd and climbing any available rafters, exposed piping or speaker cabinets while his bandmates rip through high-energy, melodically charged garage sound.

They’ve built a reputation for furious performances, but their LPs have inconsistently captured that live energy.

“There’s some really out-there songs on the last record for sure,” Wiebe said. “I think we’re trying to narrow in on the vibe for this new record we’re working on now. I feel good about trying something a bit grittier, which is what we’re going to try to do with the next full-length.”

They’re fortunate to have made it this far. Over 15 years, the band has gone through enough guitarists and drummers to rival Spinal Tap. Prior to 2009’s “Underneath the Owl,” founding bassist Pat Lillard called it quits, and Wiebe got divorced.

But the Gamblers returned rededicated, and even earned props from Bruce Springsteen, who called Wiebe one of the hardest-working men in show biz.

These days, Wiebe feels even better equipped to deal with the everyday trouble and strife of being in a band.

“I’ve kind of learned to be a little more Zen about it. I used to obsess about the band ... just getting really stressed out about a lot of decisions,” he said. “I kind of realized the thing that works best is to keep working the best you can, but also to realize there’s a lot of shit that’s just out of control, that what happens is going to happen the way it’s going to happen.”

For example, after expressing dissatisfaction with their label, Volcom, Riverboat Gamblers patched the relationship and will return for their forthcoming sixth album next spring. Wiebe feels everyone’s on the same page now, and is heartened by the work Volcom did promoting “Owl.” Despite complaints in the blogosphere, the disc was one of their best-selling albums.

“You can overthink it ... but that’s what happened,” he said. “We’re still here, and things are going pretty good right now.”

Wiebe is extremely excited to be touring alongside Off with Their Heads and Dead to Me. Those groups helped out when Gamblers guitarist Fadi el-Assad’s mother was injured in a car accident, and he had to return home for a week earlier in the tour. The other acts’ guitarists filled in, further cementing the tourmates’ bond.

“It’s like the tour of the summer I’d like to see. Those are my two favorite punk-rock bands stateside. They’re fucking awesome,” Wiebe said. “And we’re all really good friends, so it’s been really fun. We’re always jumping up onstage and helping out on each other’s stuff.”

Photo by Gary Copeland

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