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.
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.
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.
Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.
Riverboat Gamblers with Dead to Me, Off with Their Heads and Over Stars and Gutters The Conservatory 8911 N. Western conservatoryokc.com 607-4805 $12
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.”