Joshua Boydston and Stephen Carradini
Norman Music Festival
Thursday-Saturday, downtown Norman
In previous years, Norman Music Festival has done an incredible job of bringing acts to town that would rarely, if ever, come here. Of Montreal, Dirty Projectors and The Polyphonic Spree are were headliners that sparked an “oh, man, I can’t believe that they got them” excitement.
This year’s main stage doesn’t feature an artist like that. With the exception of Ty Segall, four of the five national touring acts on the main stage have been in the metro before (two of them in Norman!) within the last two years:
• The Walkmen: Meacham Auditorium, October 2009
• Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears: Diamond Ballroom, June 2009
• Peelander-Z: The Conservatory, October 2010, among other concerts
• Foot Patrol: Opolis, May 2010
Here’s the full Saturday main stage schedule, in reverse:
9:30 p.m. — The Walkmen
8 p.m. — Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears
6:30 p.m. — PeeLander-Z
5 p.m. — Ty Segall
3:30 p.m. — The Fortune Tellers
2:30 p.m. — Foot Patrol
1:40 p.m. — The Non
12:50 p.m. — Penny Hill Party
Headliner letdown aside, I’m relentlessly stoked that The Non finally made it to the main stage, but I’m baffled that they’re opening for The Fortune Tellers on the bill. The Fortune Tellers are an on-again/off-again band based in the metro and, uh, Greece.
I’m also surprised in a good way that Penny Hill is opening the main stage (and a band, I’m assuming, as the “party” bit). Good for her!
Headlining other stages: jam band dude Keller Williams on the Jagermeister Stage, Mississippi indie-rockers Color Revolt (not to be confused with Colourmusic) on Sooner Theater Stage, and Austin indie-pop group White Denim at Opolis.
But the most exciting headliner of the entire festival is on Thursday night at Opolis, as Norman indie-rockers The Neighborhood are re-forming. Philip Rice (now of Visions of Choruses), Matt Duckworth (now of Stardeath and the White Dwarfs), Blake Studdard (also Visions of Choruses) and Eric Mai threw down some of the best rock that the metro has heard in recent years, and it was a shame that it fizzled out a couple years back. And now they’re back for at least one show, and perhaps more. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, headline of the festival.
NMF4 is scheduled for April 28-30. The Gazette will be there, tweeting and blogging away, just as at SXSW.
It was a big week for music-related videos. Here’s a stack that will keep you busy for a good while.
Here’s NMF Main Stage band Foot Patrol’s muddy, skanky, marginally NSFW clip about their new dance, “The Mudslide.” If this inspires your groove, well, your Saturday just got better.
Heard about The Flaming Lips’ gummy-skull-music-release method? Well, here’s Wayne Coyne dropping the very first edibles off for sale at Guestroom Records (via Delo Creative). Woo-hoo!
The members of Verden, Okla.’s Southern rockers Anti-Mortem have tons of hair to headbang, and they put it to good use here.
Directors Lamar + Nik get creative with melting and growing ice sculptures in this fascinating clip for chillwave/not-chillwave tune “Reds” by Houses.
Ruby Coast (RIYL: Tokyo Police Club) dropped this gorgeous video for “Made to Change” that includes synchronized ice skating, geese and snowy landscapes.
SXSW fave Braids gets a mini-documentary, complete with interviews and four uninterrupted performances. It is pretty remarkable.
And for you tornado junkies out there, here’s terrifying video of some massive, deadly twisters that ripped through Alabama yesterday. —Stephen Carradini
After The Non's fantastic set, it was time for some food and beer. No better time to check out Norman's newest Main Street bar and restaurant The Garage, right? Right, especially since it's freaking awesome. I had a fantastic onion buffalo burger that smacked of "made, like, three minutes ago" freshness. I went cheap on the beer (I will not reveal my shame), but my friend had a Spaten Optimator with his buffalo burger. Yes, it's that kind of place. The atmosphere is excellent, too; I hope that it lasts a long time.
Thoroughly revitalized with beer, water and food, I ventured out to K.C. Clifford's set at Brewhouse. David Broyles of Dr. Pants is married to K.C. Clifford, so I saw him for the second time in three hours. He did not dance. He did, however, play acoustic and electric guitar accompaniment to Clifford's acoustic country and folk songs. Clifford's songwriting is of the Blue Door, catch-every-word variety, so it was a bit out of place at the Brewhouse (she mentioned as much, noting that she'd probably never played at a place with so many TVs before). But her sonorous voice, engaging stories and vibrant songwriting kept people focused on her and not the draft. Her lyrics were some of my favorites at the fest. Highly recommended.
I caught a bit of Foot Patrol's set somewhere in the course of the afternoon, and it was about as weird as I expected a foot-fetish dance band led by a blind keyboardist to be. If you were there, you know what I mean. Funky, dancy, weird. Good horn section, too.
Tulsa's And There Stand Empires was another incredibly memorable set from the fest. If The Non had jazzier roots and a tendency to freak out sporadically, they might be an approximation of ATSE's wild instrumental amalgam.
I am that guy that start-ups hate. I am skeptical of pretty much every company at the ground level (notable exception: Clio).
Nevertheless, there are those who are much earlier adapters than I, so I feel compelled to bring you word of the latest music-related companies that have passed through OKSee’s inbox recently.
Taking advantage of social networks, both Musester and Munite want to create databases of talent, musical and otherwise. Then people can find it easier, right? Well, if we can get people to use it, sure thang, bro.
Munite’s niche is music, allowing people to sign up as everything from “vocalist” and “venue” to more arcane things like “beat boxer,” “roadie” and “agent.” Their website has a clean design and is incredibly easy to navigate. They also make it easy to sign up, which is a wonderful, wonderful thing.
But there are only 1,380 people signed up at the time of this writing; seeing as those people are spread all over the world (and none are in Oklahoma), Munite seems a thing to keep your eye on more than anything. I like this idea, though, and would really like to see it grow.
Musester spreads its net farther than just music, encompassing all artistic talent: animal talent, architectural design and announcer/host/speaker are all available sign-up categories. If you’ve got any skill that you want to market, you can market it on Musester and see what happens.
Ignoring the fact that it has the kiss ‘o death “–ster” in the name (Friendster, Napster), it seems like a flexible and useful concept. So far in Oklahoma, the photography company Okie Studios and an actor/model named Nathaniel have signed up; both are from the OKC metro. This organization seems a bit further along than Munite, so check it out.
Also taking advantage of social networks, but in a much different way, is Zaarly. This service lets people who have signed up state to the Zaarlyverse (my word, not theirs) what service/thing they need, what they would be willing to pay, and when they need it. If someone is in the vicinity who meets all the reqs, money is exchanged through credit cards, and Zaarly takes a bit. They marketed it to me as a way to beat ticket scalpers, which I don’t really think would work (no incentive for scalpers to use the service, unless they get desperate and stuck with tix, I suppose).
I see it having a lot of other uses, however, and OKC has the honor of being one of the launch cities. I’m still uncertain as to how it all would work in actuality, as opposed to on paper, but it seems like a good concept that could save a lot of time and money for people. On the other hand, it could have too small a user base, or generally be considered too creepy by potential users.
While you’re here, grab these free MP3s:
1. “Welcome Me” — Foot Patrol. If you didn’t get enough of foot fetish funk at NMF4, grab this free track from the Austinite dance crew. (pictured)
2. “When I’m Alone (Live from Shepherd's Bush Empire)” — Lissie. Stevie Nicks and Pat Benatar smile on this impressive performance. (scroll down page for d/l link)
3. “Sing the Same Song Twice” — Helios. Mesmerizing ambient track created mostly on acoustic instruments.