Strange days

Genre-shattering hometown hero Bartees Strange riding wave of acclaim back to OKC for Beer City tour stop.
“There are times when I’m just like ‘Oklahoma, I love you,’” Bartees Strange said from Washington D.C. He’s been reminiscing about cheap Norman apartment complexes, sadly departed OKC indie venues and the surprising wealth of musical styles and identities in the local scenes, but it was a mention of Oklahoma’s pink evening skies that got that concise and loving response.

Ornamental orchestration

Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings its holiday bombast to the Paycom Center Dec. 8.
Last year’s version of Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s annual holiday tour was an outing unlike any other for everyone involved in bringing the visually spectacular concerts to audiences across the United States. On the one hand, coming off of 2020, a year in which the TSO tour could not happen because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a special excitement and appreciation for being back in arenas and performing the concerts.

Surprise landing

Rainbow Kitten Surprise bring their popular breed of indie rock to The Criterion Dec. 12.
When Jess Haney was asked to join Rainbow Kitten Surprise while the band members were in college at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, he certainly wasn’t thinking it would be a long-term commitment. In fact, as commitments go, it was as minimal as it gets.

Hood makes good

The influential songwriter plays Belle Isle Brewing Co. Dec. 10.
You may not be too familiar with Adam Hood just yet, but these days, a lot of movers and shakers in Nashville have come to know him well. He started performing live shows at just 16 years of age in his hometown of Opelika, Ala., and hasn’t stopped writing, touring and recording music.

Tuning in Tokyo

Synth-pop duo Blueprint Tokyo, featuring members of veteran Oklahoma alt-rockers Winter Circle, are staying low-key and seeing high returns.
Blueprint Tokyo might be something of a little-known name here in their home state, but they’re blowing up around the world. 100,000-plus streams on Spotify.

Rocketmen

Groundbreaking EDM duo SLANDER dropped their debut album ahead of bringing their densely visual and science fi-focused tour to The Criterion Nov. 17.
SLANDER have been on the dance scene for nearly a decade, consistently blowing up, garnering massive video views and streaming play numbers and collaborating with an exploding cast of singers and songwriters. They’re also just getting around to dropping their debut album.

Halloween to the extreme

Oklahoma’s premier 90s tribute rockers My So-Called Band keep Halloween tradition alive with back-to-back Beer City bashes.
Without question, one of the modern Oklahoma music scene’s greatest institutions is My So-Called Band, the “mostly” 90s cover act that packs rooms and picks at nostalgia all over the state, prompting the kind of full-throated, drunken singalongs most major acts can only dream of. As raucous and radical as an average MSCB show can be, the wildest way to see them is their annual costumed Halloween show.

House of ideas

SixTwelve is ramping up arts education with its First Friday concert series in the Paseo.
2020 saw a loss of jobs, of homes, of community, and for many even the loss of access to their own art and creativity. Amy Young, owner and founder of art school and community center SixTwelve in the Paseo, nearly lost all of those things and more.

Live wires

OKC is in the midst of a live music renaissance and as the pandemic wanes, the concert schedule waxes.
Ten years ago, Oklahoma City had no Criterion. The Jones Assembly hadn’t been assembled, and Tower Theatre was still an abandoned relic of a bygone era.

Straight in, no tricks

Louisiana guitar master Tab Benoit bringing real bayou blues to The Auditorium at The Douglass.
“I’m always fighting with it,” modern blues guitar legend Tab Benoit said about his now near-mythical 1972 Fender Telecaster, the same guitar he’s been playing practically every single day for over thirty years. “It’s not easy to play.

Safe in sound

Legendary guitarist Steve Vai brings Inviolate Tour to Oklahoma City.
Legendary rock guitarist and composer Steve Vai relaunched his 54-city tour this fall — with an Oct. 7 stop in OKC — after it was waylaid by the omicron variant of COVID-19 earlier this year. He spoke with the Oklahoma Gazette over Zoom to discuss the upcoming tour and what it’s like playing for live audiences again.

Is your grass still blue in ‘22?

The Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival returns to Guthrie for its 25th year.
Well it’s just about that time of year once again when many a bluegrass bard, bone playin’ chicken pickin’ troubadour, and country-fied crooner will all be finding their way to Guthrie. That’s right folks, it’s almost time once again for The Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival.

Controlling chaos

The Goo Goo Dolls drop in to OKC Sept. 17 for a stop on the band’s first full tour since 2019.
Kicking off with a ringing, driving guitar, the newly released single “Yeah, I Like You” revs up scrappy rock ‘n’ roll, skewering meaningless internet and social media celebrity culture with its big choruses and pop hooks. “That song’s a lot of fun,” said singer/songwriter/goo John Rzeznik.

Life during wartime

Grammy-winning guitar-rock giants The War on Drugs bringing evolving show and road-worn honesty to OKC stop Sept. 21 at The Criterion.
Adam Granduciel immediately apologizes for being a few minutes late to our call, explaining that he was folding laundry and listening to some brand new demos he’s been working on and just kind of spaced out, losing all track of time. That’s a well-known feeling for any fan of Granduciel’s band, The War on Drugs.

Muling the load

Gov’t Mule takes the stage at The Jones Assembly on Sept. 20 with a new record of blues-heavy material in tow.
As someone who cut his teeth growing up on the sounds of power trios like Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Warren Haynes always knew the blues was as important an underpinning of that musical style as the hard-rock riffing of those outfits. Blues has been a major part of Haynes’ musical expression, whether it was while he was a member of The Allman Brothers Band or doing his own thing either as a solo artist or as a part of Gov’t Mule, so it should come as no surprise that the North Carolina native has always been hankering to record an all-blues record, something that came to fruition late last year with the release of Heavy Load Blues.

When PiGs Fly

Wellston’s PiGFest going whole hog on Oklahoma music Sept. 9-11.
“I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew,” Dylan Swindell says with a laugh, not overlooking the food pun for a second. “I can admit that.”

Violent delights

The new Screen Violence effects pedal from Old Blood Noise Endeavors sees the OKC locals collaborating with international synth stars CHVRCHES.
The continually exploding guitar effects pedal industry – which has something of a surprising epicenter in Oklahoma City with some of the world’s biggest and most respected manufacturers based here – has a long and lucrative history of major artist collaborations. Superstar guitarists and aficionado heroes alike regularly partner with pedal builders to create loads of little stompboxes that help players to dial in their signature sounds and guitar tones, with even locals like Keeley Electronics producing fan-favorite artist collab pedals with the likes of Andy Timmons and Ariel Posen.

As the Crowes fly

A couple of years behind schedule due to the pandemic, The Black Crowes are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their debut album with a tour.
When Chris and Rich Robinson made the November 2019 announcement that The Black Crowes were reuniting, it represented a reconciliation between the siblings after the band was blown up in 2015. The plan was to launch a lengthy reunion tour in 2020 commemorating the 30th anniversary of the group’s 1990 debut album Shake Your Money Maker.

Sounding off

Local bands will be putting on a fundraiser concert to support access to reproductive healthcare.
While the lineup is comprised primarily of women for the Bans Off Our Bodies fundraiser show, it wasn’t by design. “We were like, ‘Is it weird that it's all women?

Therefore he AM

OKC’s resident rap superstar Jabee confronts his own self-doubt on first part of multi-EP project
There is another pandemic coming hot on the heels of the ongoing one we’ve all come to know and loathe. A pandemic of doubt.

Subculture sanctum

The Sanctuary, OKC's newest underground venue, thrives as a punk ethos safe space for all ages.
Like a flower blooming from a cracked sidewalk, Oklahoma City’s DIY scene has always found a way. The last few years have seen a pandemic decimate the live music world, and when compounded with the usual punk community struggles (house venue regulation crackdowns, threadbare economics, etc.), OKC has been a particularly inhospitable place for a movement that prioritizes artistic freedom over financial viability.

A little help

Renowned ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro takes to Tower Theatre’s stage solo to support his recent album of collaborations with musical legends.
In the world of stringed instruments, the four-string ukulele has a small and kitschy niche that was associated with the likes of the late Tiny Tim and vaudeville. More recently, it’s gotten a slightly cooler image as artists ranging from actress Zooey Deschanel to musicians Nellie McKay and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder have been using the uke to express themselves.

Still Stoopid

Reggae roots band Slightly Stoopid makes a stop in Oklahoma City as they hone in on three decades as a band.
When guitarists/singers Miles Doughty and Kyle McDonald started Slightly Stoopid in 1994, they were out front of a second generation of bands that wanted to build on the reggae-rock sound that was starting to take hold thanks to the success of groups like Sublime, 311 and, to a lesser extent, No Doubt. Now some 28 years later, Slightly Stoopid is one of several California reggae-rooted bands that can headline outdoor amphitheaters and a veteran member of a scene packed with acts playing some variation of reggae-rooted music and espousing California culture built around skateboarding, surfing, and in many cases, the benefits of cannabis.

Stompin’ at the Speak

The weekly jazz nights and jam sessions at the 51st Street Speakeasy are bringing jazz generations together.
The mid-week jazz night has swiftly become a staple of bars and bistros across the country, a seemingly perfect, chill way to wind down and de-stress with some calming music and cocktails or wine. But jazz isn’t always about “calm.”

Homecoming

After shuttering through the pandemic, The Blue Door has reopened its doors after undergoing a facelift but the venue’s signature charm — its intimate and songwriter-focused room — has remained intact.
When Courtney Patton played The Blue Door on March 8, 2020, no one knew it was going to be the last show there for nearly 2 1/2 years. Greg Johnson has owned and operated the beloved venue for the last 29 years.

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