The Vanguard Sells Out for “At Your Own Risk” Release Show

Last night, Saturday, November 16, five local bands sold out the Vanguard in Tulsa. The bands gathered to celebrate the release of Cliffdiver’s second EP, At Your Own Risk, and found themselves playing to a packed room with 400+ people.

The night started with Hazelwave. For the band’s first performance, it was fairly impressive. With their enthusiastic sound and booming instruments, Hazelwave instilled excitement into those already on the floor and entertained those still in line, waiting for will-call tickets.

Second was Rose Gold. Known for their melodic tracks and screamed poetry, the band put on an invigorating show complete with rage and moshing fans. Their songs put the audience in the mood for crowd surfing, apparently, as several dove off of the stage into the mess of people on the floor. Rose Gold played to a sea of risen arms attached to head-bobbing and jumping fans while brave souls launched themselves in the air in a display of trust and adrenaline, riding the excitement for as long as possible.

Ben Quad played third. This group is notoriously fun and upbeat. Every performance is paired with some sort of comedic skit – in this case, they made jokes, sang a line from “Don’t Trust Me” by 3OH!3, launched into the first verse of “All Star” by Smash Mouth, and had everyone participate in a “team leadership building exercise.” (Everyone was supposed to say three nice things to the person beside them – and “you’re nice” or complimenting their clothes didn’t count.)

Comedy aside, Ben Quad played their tunes about mental health with their uniquely upbeat twist. Rather than simply singing about the struggles of mental illness, they performed songs that embrace the aspect of moving-on and leaving the past. The four had an incredible onstage presence that only enhanced their vibrant and interactive performance.

The Classless went next. The epitome of a pop-punk band, The Classless had the crowd singing and dancing along from start to finish. Their performance was exhilarating and their music, intoxicating. The band sounded experienced and put-together, lacking the pause for tuning and technical difficulties that the earlier bands shared.

Whether they were playing songs off of their latest EP, Try Not to Panic, Pt. 2, or older songs, they had the whole audience enthralled by their music. Even those unfamiliar with The Classless were able to participate when the group’s cover of Avril Lavigne’s “Complicated” began, causing everyone to revisit their angst-y-teen-girl side.

Then came Cliffdiver. The excitement for this band was tangible, bubbling in the crowd as people waited with bated breath for the band that brought them there. The cheers began while members were still setting up as a reminder of their love and support.

When it was time for the five to begin their set, the whole room shifted to the front, squeezing those at the stage while they belted out lyrics and voiced their approval. A range of emotions was felt throughout the next hour or so as Cliffdiver performed their entire catalog – both Small Hours and At Your Own Risk were played through entirely.

It has been said before that this band can make you feel every emotion under the sun, and last night was no exception. One minute, you’re crying to “Alone in Your Apartment” and stressing to “Satan Parked My Car,” and the next, you’re bellowing, “I know I’m good enough – enough for anyone – and finally, myself.”

Every verse, every sax solo, every note escaping the instruments onstage; it was enough to both bring a person to tears and to restore hope in the hopeless.

Cliffdiver filmed a live music video last night, as well; so, for those who attended, be prepared to soon see yourselves in the throes of a concert high while the band plays “Lost in Ikea.”

Check out Hazelwave, Rose Gold, Ben Quad, The Classless, and Cliffdiver on all social media and music streaming sites.

Cicadia “Sheds” Their Rough Start to Release Incredible New Music

On October 24, OKC band Cicadia released their EP, Exuviate. The five-track collection is the first for the band – both under this name and with these members.

Cicadia consists of Dylan McBride (vocals and lyrical composition), Jeremy Dolezel (guitar), Caleb Klusmeyer (guitar and lead songwriter), Ethan Bybee (bass), and Dylan Brooks (drums). Dolezel and Klusmeyer are the only two original members, having begun the project about two years ago under the name “Øver Cast.”

The group underwent a series of changes at the beginning of this year that led to them recruiting new people – including borrowing McBride from Lilac Kings for vocals (to trade, Klusmeyer joined Lilac Kings as their bassist).

The band cites the genre “swancore” as their main influence. (“Swancore” is defined as a type of post-hardcore music that is “melodic” and “mathy.”) Their main inspirations come from Dance Gavin Dance, Hail the Sun, Royal Coda, Body Thief, Circa Survive, and Sianvar.

Their debut EP, Exuviate, consists of five songs – beginning with “Last Laugh” and ending with “Obsessive Composure.” Each one is expertly crafted and beautifully played.

First on the list is “Last Laugh;” a haunting melody is paired with dark lyrics to create this deeply disturbed song. According to McBride, “Last Laugh” is about “sucking it up” and “going through with something you may or may not feel is morally correct.” All of this is evident by the depressed resignation in the lyrics. The song picks up towards the end, topping it off with angry cries.

With swirling, layered music, the next song, “Troubleshoot Protocol” achieves an anxiety-filled sound. Desperation, frustration, and fear shine through every note. The song, McBride claims, is about someone “struggling with … feeling relevant in life… and how to deal with… the emotions that come with thinking they’re not.” This thought is emphasized by the line,”we’re all just dying to get by.”

The next track is the instrumental “Emergence Theory.” Something of an interlude, the piece breaks the high-emotion songs in half, serving as relief from the heaviness.

Following it is “Interrelation,” a ballad of being “afraid to fall in love.” The song denotes one-half of couple in a close, friends-with-benefits sort of relationship fearing the possibility of it developing into more.

“Obsessive Composure” is about “fighting yourself for who you want to be as a person – and how it affects you and your relationships.” This one is very clearly the fight song of the collection. Battle music scores lines dripping in inner conflict.

Every bit of Exuviate is well-worth the listen. It’s the kind of music you can get angry with and the kind that prompts inner exploration. Packed with a plethora of one-liners and quote-worthy material and combined with tunes that perfectly embody inner strife, Cicadia’s new music come highly recommended.

Check out Cicadia on all social media and music streaming sites, and be sure to listen to the new music:

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Schat and the Skeleton Trees Debut “There’s Nowhere to Go”

On October 24, Schat and the Skeleton Trees is set to debut their single, “There’s Nowhere to Go.”

The Norman band is comprised of Chris Schat and Derek Mehl – both long-time band mates in a different project, Walking Relic. Their music is composed mainly by Schat. He started the project as an outlet for songs he had written that didn’t quite fit with the group’s style. The band cites their genre as indie rock.

No other songs precede this single, but the duo has played multiple performances. The band will be showcasing their track tonight in Norman.

Their brand new single,”There’s Nowhere to Go,” is both urgent and emotional. With the repeated insistence of “there’s nowhere to go” and “don’t lose me,” the singer reiterates his plea.

Simple in lyrics, the song focuses mainly on riveting music. With a sound that seems to be influenced by bands like U2, the score contains a rhythm that is as desperate as it is familiar. Rather than telling a story, the song discusses existentialist feelings and themes in the form of tunes only.

It’s the kind of song that carries the listener through the sky – light, almost transparent on the surface, but as dense and capable as the wind.

“There’s Nowhere to Go” is the perfect song for a cool fall day. It brings to mind gray skies and chilly winds. The ending – an echoing, fading conclusion – only reinforces that image.

Check out a teaser trailer of the lyric video for the track below:

Schat and the Skeleton Trees will be performing tonight at Bison Witches & Deli in Norman at 8 pm with Tribesmen and Bobby Chill & the Wave. Be sure to listen to their new track, and follow them on all social media and music streaming sites.

(Click the link below to listen!)

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Brand New Music from a Brand New Band

If you’ve been with us for a little while, you’ll remember the mention of the band, Lookouts, in our Annihilation interview with Hoarseman. The band consists of Camilo Gonzalez and Hoarseman’s Quinton Hoagland, and it has been around for a lot longer than their music has been out.

The group initially began when Gonzalez contacted Hoagland with a piece of instrumentals. After voicing his approval of the composition, Hoagland offered to work with Gonzalez. They spent the summer dividing their attention between this project and their other various musical involvements.

On September 25, Lookouts released two singles: “Can You Take It All Away?” and “Spinning.” The songs are just a taste of what is to come – the band is already hinting at an upcoming album.

Both songs give off serious coffeehouse vibes. Soft piano music is accompanied by light strings and melancholy harmonies; all of this creates a sad, romantic nostalgia that settles in your chest. The vocals hold theatrical elements that underline the show business experience both members hold.

The singles are unlike anything we’ve seen from either of the two musicians. They wield a reflective undertone that is missing from the two’s previous projects. While I won’t say which project is better (each has its redeeming qualities), I will say that the differences are refreshing.

Lookouts plans to have their album out by early next year. They also anticipate adding several performances around the same time.

Be sure to follow Lookouts on all social media and music streaming sites, and look out (pun intended) for mentions of their upcoming album. Listen to their new music below:

Have an opinion on Lookouts and their new music? Want to tell us about your favorite local musician/band? Comment below or email us at!

On Holiday Performs at Punk Rock Social

Last week (Sunday, September 22), On Holiday ended their tour at 89th Street in OKC with a killer lineup. The Punk Rock Social Mini Fest included the bands Irrational Consumers, Ben Quad, On Holiday, Cliffdiver, When the Clock Strikes, and The Big News, in that order.

On Holiday is a self-described punk/rock/ska band. The three-piece includes guitarist and vocalist Aaron Miller, bassist and vocalist, Skyler FlyingOut, and drummer Jon Michael Jackson. The group had an EP called Going Mad come out back in March, and they recently released a new single, “Arizona,” on September 13.

On Holiday frequently tours, so having them back in OKC so shortly after their new song dropped was a special treat.

From the beginning of their set, it was like they came alive on the stage. Friends in the crowd catcalled and cracked jokes with the band members throughout the performance, keeping the atmosphere fun and friendly.

They started the show with their song, “Fuck If I Know.” In that moment, it was clear that this was the ultimate rock show. The air was electric with people bouncing and dancing in the crowd – the band wore huge grins as they moved onstage – it was brilliant. And it stayed that way through the rest of the performance.

The songs, in order, were as followed:

  1. Fuck If I Know
  2. Seattle to Chicago
  3. Arizona
  4. Rock Show (Blink 182 cover)
  5. Hey Look
  6. Ska Song
  7. Better Than This
  8. Going Mad

The music itself was good, but the energy was what made it great. This wasn’t a show where everyone knew every word to every song; there were six bands, and all of them attracted their own fans. Still, everyone sang along to their cover of “Rock Show,” and the band managed to get the crowd to sing “whoa” at the end of “Hey Look.”

While the audience may not have had On Holiday’s entire catalog memorized, they definitely enjoyed the music. Some overzealous fans took advantage of an empty space at the back and danced along wildly in an non-choreographed fashion.

All in all, it was a great show. Once the last song ended, and the band started taking down their equipment, the crowd began to sing “Happy Birthday” to drummer Jon Michael Jackson.

I spoke briefly with members of the group after, and the show was schedules specifically for his birthday. He chose the bands because they were personal favorites – he claims, “It was a birthday present to myself.”

Check out On Holiday on all social media and music streaming sites. Be sure to catch them at a performance near you – you won’t regret it.