8 p.m. Saturday
The Exchange on Film Row, 700 1/2 W. Sheridan
I hit Traindodge every year at the festival, because their crushing rock'n'roll has a been a favorite of mine since 2002's "On a Lake of Dead Trees." They mashed out their solid set of bruising tunes at Bill and Dee's. If you're not familiar with their rock'n'roll, you should check it out; it's heavy, loud and passionate. They've got a new EP coming out soon called "Remains," and I assume that Traindodge remains as heavy as ever.
Also, at some point during Friday evening, I hit up the Sonder Music open jazz jam, partly because I wrote about jazz jams a couple weeks ago and partly because I hoped Cami Stinson would be there.
The next day, I started my day with Gum, whose pensive piano rock was punctuated with bursts of noisy rock. With the bright blue sky behind them and a full day of music ahead of me, the mood didn't really fit, but the music was good. Also, the Red Bull had not kicked in yet, so this set is a little hazy in my mind.
Dr. Pants gained my love by introducing their drummer as Disco Pony. Their power-pop did even more to gain my love once they started singing about young men who love John Cusack (guilty), bearded hipsters (guilty), Firefly references (guilty), donuts (guilty) and ironic rapping (guilty). This band seems as if it were scientifically engineered for me to like it. Their power-pop tunes split the difference between Fountains of Wayne and Weezer, albeit with ironic rapping every now and then.
I'm really thankful that Bluebonnet was literally next to the main stage, because The Non went on promptly at 1:20, just barely giving me time to step out the door from Dr. Pants' set to the OKC four-piece's instrumental mastery. After the band's incredible showing last year at NMF with a full orchestra, I was interested to see what they would do to top it. They didn't try to: They just went out and did their really excellent thing on a really huge stage. I and other writers have gushed about The Non before, so I'll say this and then go on: This band could open for Sigur Ros or Explosions in the Sky tomorrow. They are ready.
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.