The first day of DFest 2008 was jam packed with good bands and good times. I did more show bouncing this year than last. At almost every turn, I had a dilemma on which band to see. This is a very good problem to have.
6pm – The City Lives @ Hadaly Stage
The newest signing to Doghouse / Edmond Records played to a crowd of 300+ in the sweltering hot sun. The City Lives features an up-tempo power pop sound that will be a hit with listeners (“Bad Enough” is a sure-fire hit). And lead singer Chase Kerby
will be is a hit with the females, aiming his lyrics straight to their swoons. Members of The Uglysuit and Edison Glass were in attendance, while Edmond Records co-owner Mike Kennerty (of The All-American Rejects) could be seen smiling and bouncing backstage like a proud papa.
8pm – Black Swan @ The Continental
I knew very little of Black Swan the week leading up to DFest. On a couple recommendations, I checked out their myspace and fell in love with a couple of their songs. Their super-energetic live show did not disappoint either. Sometimes, you know you’re going to have a good time after the first song — this was one of those shows. Scanning the audience, you saw all smiles from the receptive crowd, which included Ty Kamm of Klipspringer. While I foresee some unfair comparisons to Bloc Party in their future, Black Swan is a true original and an ultimate fun show.
9pm – Mayola @ Blue Dome Roadhouse
I thought I saw energetic with Black Swan. I had no idea what energetic was until I saw Mayola live. Unbelievable. The stage presence, the crowd interaction, the showmanship are heads and shoulders above most other bands — it simply could not be better. Mayola has really matured as a band in recent years, slowly evolving their sound into this interesting “vaudevillian Built to Spill fronted by a deranged Tom Waits” band. Members of Colourmusic, Hush Hush Commotion, The Non and Taddy Porter, as well as Acoustic Ross and P.D.A. stuck around to enjoy the set.
10pm – The Uglysuit @ The Blank Slate
There’s a lot of well-deserved buzz currently surrounding Touch and Go Records’ newest signing. The band’s smooth sounds exploded into a fury early on, setting the tone for the show. Switching between moments of beauty and moments of ferocity in the sweaty “Home of David Cook”, the band elicited a great reaction from the crowd. It’s reassuring to see the band is really in-tune with one another on stage. Members of Glister, Colourmusic, Mayola, The Stock Market Crash and Rainbows Are Free packed the venue to catch a glimpse of The Uglysuit.
10pm – Mama Sweet @ The Oklahoma Stage
It had been a couple of years since I had seen Mama Sweet, but it was just like old times. The very Oklahoma-sounding band was ever tighter and more polished than I remembered. Their explosive set was led by Aron Holt’s strong vocals and Alan Orebaugh’s outrageous guitar skills. I demand that someone find out why this band isn’t bigger on the red dirt circuit.
10:30pm – Ghostland Observatory @ The R.U.R. Stage
Who knew Tulsa was full of so many ravers? The smoke, lazers and dancy-pop from the Austin band turned Tulsa into Dance Party USA. Thousands of people were dancing along with members of Mayola, Crocodile, Black Swan, The Stock Market Crash and Ghosts.
11pm – The Starkweather Boys @ 1974
I don’t know if anyone around does classic 50s-style rock and roll better. There’s just a level of musicianship in The Starkweather Boys that isn’t seen in lot of bands. This was the only show of the weekend where I actually saw couples dancing. Members of Glister, Rainbows Are Free, Philip Zoellner and The Oh Johnny! Girls stayed to enjoy the set.
Midnight – Blake O. @ McNellie’s
Blake O. leans to the Uncle Kracker / Kid Rock side of rap-rock that some people just love. I’m not one of those people. Different strokes for different folks, right? Let me say this though — is McNellie’s douchebag central or what? Nothing but fauxhawks and drunk girls in summer dresses dancing on chairs, shouting “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!” I didn’t stay long.
1am – The Stock Market Crash @ The Blank Slate
TSMC put on a good show like always. At this point, there isn’t a lot more you can say about them — if you haven’t seen them live, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Members of El Paso Hot Button, Callupsie, The Romantic Disaster, Unmarked Cars, Glister and Mama Sweet lined the audience.
1am – Gravity Propulsion System @ Exit 6C
A sparse crowd watched as GPS destroyed everyone’s hearing within a mile radius. Members of El Paso Hot Button, Callupsie and Rainbows Are Free stuck around late to enjoy some GPS.
Day 2 Recap coming soon, as well as a DFest review in pictures and video.