By Thomas Conner
© Tulsa World
Up, up and away ... yada yada yada.
There are lots of reasons to check out the Gatesway
International Balloon Festival this weekend, but one of the best
barely has been mentioned in the advertising and the hubub: the
festival features a fantastic line-up of local music acts.
For all those harping into thin air about how much Tulsa would
benefit from a music festival of all-local rock acts, this is it.
On Friday evening and all day Saturday, two stages at the festival
will be packed with the creme de la creme of local bands — from
hot pop and rock on the Z-104.5 FM “The Edge'' Stage to more
down-home and bluesy sounds on the KVOO Stage.
Rocker Dwight Twilley is scheduled to headline the festival on
Saturday night, and it's a rare opportunity to see this
underappreciated pop master burn up a stage. Twilley, whose top 20
hits were 1975's “I'm on Fire'' and 1984's “Girls,'' currently is
enjoying the revivalist crest of the power pop movement. Those two
hit singles are popping up on compilations around the world,
solidifying Twilley's importance in rock 'n' roll history.
“It's great. It kind of let's these songs take their place in
history in the pack with all the ones being remembered,'' Twilley
said this week.
The first two albums from the Dwight Twilley Band, “Sincerely''
and “Twilley Don't Mind,'' are scheduled for rerelease in October
from The Right Stuff record company.
Twilley, though, is no nostalgia act. Saturday's show will
feature a good chunk of new material, songs that Twilley has been
writing since he moved back to Tulsa last year and then raised
eyebrows with his showcase at the South by Southwest music festival
“We've got a lot of new songs that we'll be doing this weekend,
stuff we'll be trying out before the centennial show in
September,'' Twilley said. Twilley and his band will open for Leon
Russell on Sept. 19 as part of Tulsa's centennial homecoming
Twilley's band includes guitarists Pat Savage and Tom Hanford,
plus the rhythm section that doubles for two other Tulsa bands
(Crown Electric, Brian Parton), bassist Dave White and drummer Bill
“I came back (to Tulsa) because I wanted to create another band
of Tulsa musicians,'' Twilley said. “I think this is the best band
I've had since the Dwight Twilley Band,'' which included the late
Also on the bill, the Mellowdramatic Wallflowers have a full set
of shimmering new pop songs in advance of a new CD due any time
now. Jenny Labow, formerly of Glass House, is still supporting her
solo debut CD of breezy acoustic pop, and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
once again steer their ever-winding wandering around the country
for another hometown gig.
Jify Trip is returning to form, too, after some juggling of
guitarists. After losing their original axman, Steve Francen --
formerly of Mellowdramatic Wallflowers — sat in with the band, but
his current project, Flapjack Cancer Co., didn't allow the extra
time. A sharp, award-winning player from Oklahoma City, Tony
Romanello, will be playing with the band for the balloon festival.
He's a great player, worth checking out.
The styles run the gamut, too, from the slightly wacky rock of
the Cactus Slayers to the intelligent jazz of the Jazzbos. The
festival's music schedule offers a fine sampling of what's going on
around town every weekend right under your nose, and the event
benefits the Gatesway charity. What's to lose?
Gatesway International Balloon Festival
When 3-10:30 p.m. Friday, 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m.-2 p.m.
Where Occidental Center, 129th East Avenue and 41st Street
Tickets Admission is free
Parking Available near the sight; plus a shuttle bus will be running from
the sight to Expo Square and Broken Arrow High School
These online "clips" reproduce a self-selection of my journalism (music etc) during the last 20+ years. It's a lotta stuff, but it only scratches the surface. I do not currently possess the time or resources to digitize the whole body of work. These posts are simply a bunch of pretty great days at the office.