Tuesday 22 Jul

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

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

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.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
06/17/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Tunes by 10

Tunes by 10

To celebrate a decade of bringing indie and alternative acts to Norman, Opolis has assembled quite a lineup for a free, two-day show.

Joshua Boydston August 8th, 2012

Opolis X
6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday
113 N. Crawford, Norman

Photo: Mark Hancock

Oklahoma enjoys a special place in the scope of American music, producing the likes of Woody Guthrie, Garth Brooks and Leon Russell.

But it’s not always been the best place for someone like Andy Nunez and his wife, Marian — respectively, drummer and keyboardist for the Norman-based Starlight Mints.

Although the ’90s and early aughts brought indie-pop favorites like the Mints, The Flaming Lips and Chainsaw Kittens out of the Sooner State and into the world, there wasn’t an ideal spot in town to book similar bands from elsewhere across the nation.

That’s precisely where the Nunezes stepped in.

“There was a big, empty void,” Andy Nunez said. “People weren’t bringing in the shows we wanted to see. Some people in Oklahoma City kind of were, but no one in Norman at all. Being a college town, it seemed like someone needed to do it. It’s turned into — by accident — our full-time job.”

Using contacts with booking agents and managers gained during the Mints’ heavy touring days, what was intended to be a rehearsal space became Opolis, where bands like Spoon, Vampire Weekend and The Shins since have performed. It opened in August 2002.

“Without Opolis, college rock — now simply referred to as ‘indie rock’ — wouldn’t have a place in Norman,” said Chris Harris, owner of the Hook Echo Sound recording studio in Norman and a member of shoegaze trio Depth & Current, which performs Saturday as part of Opolis’ 10th anniversary celebration. “Very few other venues offer shows featuring nationally touring bands that are culturally relevant to college students and young adults. There will always be bars and bar bands in any town. Opolis is more than that.”

Mmmmm, Minty!

As Starlight Mints took a break after 2006’s Drowaton, Opolis started gaining steam. The venue maintained a steady slate of shows — even as the group headed back out on the road in support of 2009’s Change Remains — all tailored to its particular sensibilities.

“We’re a taste-oriented venue. If you’re on our page, it’s great. If you aren’t on our page, it’s probably not great,” Nunez said. “But if you don’t like listening to what you are doing, I don’t see the point in doing it.”

The Nunezes have maintained a certain level of quality control to the acts they bring in, which, in turn, has made Opolis a special place for local bands to perform.

“We’d like to be a destination,” he said. “Rather than nursing them from the beginning, we’ll pick them up once it’s got going on its own.”

Tommy McKenzie, who performs with The Boom Bang, Chrome Pony and Depth & Current (all on the anniversary bill), feels much the same way.

“Playing there, I feel, is a privilege in a way, and bands treat it as such. I wanted to play there for six years before I actually did,” he said. “I have trusted [Andy and Marian’s] input on my music, and without the Opolis, bands may not have a guidance they can trust.”

Opolis has played an integral role in giving bands like Colourmusic, Evangelicals and — most recently — Broncho a place to gain traction before heading out across the country; the Nunezes have provided them with a few tricks of the trade to help them thrive on tour.

“Hopefully, it helps,” Andy Nunez said. “Bands need a place to play where the goal isn’t just to get wasted or be distracted by hormones — somewhere where it’s about listening to the music in front of them.”

Future plans

Friday and Saturday’s Opolis X is a celebration of the strong, local scene that the venue has had a huge hand in fostering. It features almost 20 acts, all but one from Oklahoma.

“Being able to play there three times with three different bands in one day is something high-school Tommy could have only dreamed of,” McKenzie said. “Thank you, Andy and Marian, for everything you have done for Norman and me.”

In its Opolis gigs, Depth & Current played to new crowds while opening for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti and Stardeath and White Dwarfs, among others.

“All of these shows put us on a stage in front of an enthusiastic crowd that had no preconceptions about our band,” Harris said. “They took us for what we were, right there. Those experiences are fantastic, and it’s those opportunities that we would have missed out on if not for Andy and Opolis.”

The Opolis a decade from now likely won’t look like the Opolis of today, Nunez said.

“It’s been 10 years, and we haven’t mixed it up,” he said, yet remaining mum on what’s in store. “It might be time to.”

But with artists like Twin Shadow and The Melvins already booked for fall, it’s likely the one thing that never will change is the good music spilling out the door, into the streets of downtown Norman and beyond.

Hey! Read This:
The Boom Bang interview   
• Broncho interview    
• Chrome Pony interview 
Colourmusic interview   
Depth & Current interview   
Stardeath and White Dwarfs interview   

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5