By Brittany Dalton
It’s time again for the ACM@UCO to take over Bricktown, for this year’s ACM Rocks Bricktown. Last year’s event, held on a Thursday night, drew hundreds of participants and fans.
This year, the powers that be have moved it to a Saturday night – Saturday, April 13 to be exact – so many of you won’t have work as an excuse to beg off. Although Iron and Wine will be playing at OU’s Must Stay weekend the same night, there are more than 60 bands performing for you to see and enjoy, including headliners Nile Rodgers and Chic. The festivities start at 4:00 p.m. and last past midnight at venues throughout Bricktown.
It’s impossible to spotlight every band playing, although I wish I could. The bands below are just those on my schedule for the night. But don’t just take my word for it – check out the full lineup here and let me know which bands you’re stoked to see, in the comments!
4 – 4:40 p.m.
The Hitt Boyz
Chevy Stage (Fountain by Harkins Theatre)
First up are the Hitt Boyz, showing that sometimes the more things change, the more they really stay the same. The Boyz recently released the AlphaCat EP, which at only three songs still manages to capture the essence of what a Hitt Boyz show is about. This weekend marks a pick-up from what was a hiatus of sorts, it’s one of their first shows in a while.
So come down to the fountain stage in front of Harkins to welcome them back with me – most Hitt Boyz shows in the past have involved at least partial nudity, but all of them entail good tunes and fun shenanigans.
Still skeptical? Here’s a little taste of what you can expect, taken straight from their performance at last year’s ACM Rocks Bricktown.
5 – 5:40 p.m.
Bricktown Candy Co.
I was never much for instrumental rock, until my first shows seeing the Hitt Boyz and Giraffe Massacre. But this show promises to be pretty sweet, pun fully intended. A two-piece band featuring David Carlyle on guitar and Nick Morgan on drums (aka “that one Hitt Boy”), Giraffe Massacre’s music often leaves you wondering what’s next. The answer? Time signature jumps and guitar melodies that manage to stitch it all together into one distinctive “sound.”
They also played at Guestroom Records at last year’s event – here’s “The Weak Hammer.”
6:30 – 7:10 p.m.
ACM Performance Lab
Once I’ve filled my “math rock” craving, you can find me over at the ACM Performance Lab to see Moongiant. The band, whose four members you may recognize from some other local bands, played their first show little more than a month ago and have wasted no time in establishing a foothold in the scene – they even played during SXSW in Austin last month.
Although their Facebook page has billed them as “indie,” you’ll have to listen for yourself to get an idea of just what that means.
“We like to keep our sound as organic as possible,” bassist Billy Muschinske said.
If you’re at another performance during their set this Saturday, don’t fret! They’ll also be playing Norman Music Festival Thursday, April 25 at 10 p.m.
PS – I’ll buy a Sonic drink, of your choosing, for whoever is the first to tell me what bands the Moongiant boys have come from.
Ah, here is where I wish I had one of those handy little Time-Turners – you know, like Hermione used to be in multiple classes at once in Harry Potter? The eight o’ clock hour contains three good acts, so I’ll give you a little dose of all three. Personally, I’ll be splitting my time between them as much as is humanly possible.
8 – 8:40 p.m.
Chelsey is a fourth-semester vocal performance student at ACM, and my first experience seeing her wasn’t a traditional ‘show’ at all. Rather, it was last semester’s final class performance. Chelsey teamed with fellow vocalist and now-grad Adriene Bible to sing TLC’s “Waterfalls”. Chelsey’s music of choice is acoustic pop covers as well as original works. “[Tegan and Sara] definitely influence me in my own work, but as far as covers I do a lot of Britney Spears, some Pixies, Katy Perry – I love taking my favorite Top 40 songs and making them into my own acoustic version,” she said.
She’s played at Picasso’s and Urban Wineworks in the Plaza, but she and her cover band haven’t planned any future shows yet – so if acoustic is your cup of tea, check her out at Brix (it’s on Sheridan, next to the Bricktown Brewery).
8 – 8:40 p.m.
Oklahoma Cloud Factory
A street over, at the fountain stage, we’ve got Oklahoma Cloud Factory. My first OCF show was back in August 2012, at the ACM’s “Back to School” bash at the Performance Lab. For those unable to trek down to OU for Iron and Wine – you’ll get your dose of melodic folk rock with these guys. As one who’s in the past dismissed some folk rock as “all sounding the same” (I admit it! It’s a rare folk band that can hold my attention for a long period of time), my first time seeing OCF had me awestruck. Although they’ve deemed themselves folk, their sound is so much larger and fuller than I’d expected.
This is just one of a few performances they’re slated for in the coming weeks. They’ll be at NMF6, performing Thursday at 9:00 p.m. at the Bluebonnet. Then Saturday, April 27 you can catch them at the OKC Festival of the Arts at 11:00 a.m. and again that night at Gray Owl in Norman – that one’s at 9:00 p.m. This is definitely a band I’ll be watching in the months to come, because any band that can turn my preconceptions of a genre on its head so entirely, is a band worth keeping an eye on.
8:30 – 9:10 p.m.
ACM Performance Lab
Ah, Tallows. If you frequent the local music scene, or if you know me personally, you might have heard of them. Tallows is technically a newcomer to the ACM Rocks Bricktown, although the band’s been together since around the time of last year’s. They’ve played a number of shows since their demo was released and subsequently spread like wildfire back in November. They’re in the process of recording a full-length release, but haven’t let that stop them from performing, most recently at the first H&8th last month in downtown OKC.
As for Saturday night, I’ll be waiting eagerly to hear my two favorites – “Small Talk” and “High Brow” – check the links to see why.
This is a band I’ve followed through nearly a year, whose performances alone were almost worth a drive to Austin to catch them as one of many talented Oklahoma artists featured at SXSW’s Buffalo Lounge (as seen above). Over the past few months, I’ve gone from singing along to their songs, to crowd-watching while I do – over time I see more and more faces, both familiar and new, singing along too. That’s what it’s all about, and why Tallows is one band I’d recommend to any newcomer in our local scene.
They’ll be playing NMF, as well as a number of other shows you’ll probably also see me at. “A Soft Exchange,” their collaboration with some dancers at OU, will be April 21 at 8:00 p.m. As for other shows, they’ll be playing with Samantha Crain at the Opolis on May 30 – bring presents, that one is the night before my birthday!
11 – Midnight
Mutating Cell Ensemble
ACM Performance Lab
My last stop of the night will likely be the Mutating Cell Ensemble, directed by Stephen Drozd of the Flaming Lips. What is the Mutating Cell Ensemble, anyway? Participant William Ogletree (a student at ACM and Hitt Boy #7) described it simply as “a cacophony of sound, an hourlong song of almost only two notes played over and over in a 5/4 time signature.” Indeed, the Mutating Cell Ensemble is an entity that like its name, leaves much to the imagination.
Come on, though – did you expect anything less of a side project started by a member of the Flaming Lips? So wherever you’re at for shows Saturday night, get over to the Performance Lab by 11 – let’s get weird.