the scene.

Every so often, something comes up that’s compelling enough for me to leave South Tulsa and head out on the open road towards Downtown. Whirligig shows are just such occasions. Especially when they have Special Guests sitting in.
Whirligig is a Tulsa band that’s been around a while – since about 1994, according to founding member(and long-time friend of mine) Dylan Layton. They underwent a few personnel changes over the years, but as near as I can tell, they’re back to almost all the original members save one drummer.
So Saturday they were at the Colony – kinda like today’s version of Club One from back in the day. If you’ve never heard of Club One, you really missed out. It was a small dumpy bar in an apartment complex off of Riverside and I’ve heard all kinds of stories about that place; my favorite being how someone found Clapton passed out in a dumpster. Real Tulsa history there.
So. The Colony. It’s a cozy place and I feel alright going by myself – I never sit by myself mind you, but I can show up alone and be alright. The very first time I went there I was a little worried by the large group of drunken Rugby players, but I’ve not seen them since. And thank goodness it’s all non smoking.
I showed up in time to catch the entire first set and almost made it all the way through the second before giving out around 1:20 a.m. It was a great show – the band sounded great and their Special Guest was Brad James – my favorite local guitarist save for Dylan and the other Whirligig guitarist, Kelly. I love getting hugs from Brad – I come up to about his belly button.
So when Brad plays with Whirligig, it’s like Christmas for me – my 3 favorite local guys. Everyone sounded great, we heard original stuff, and covers including an awesome version of JJ Cale’s “I’ll Make Love to You Anytime” – one that Brad’s old band Medicine Show used to cover all the time. It was like I was back at Club One again in the early nineties on New Year’s Eve on mushrooms all over again… OK not really.
I know I’ve mentioned this before – I’m not a big fan of alcohol or more accurately I’m not a big fan of what alcohol does to people, and this night was no exception. I’m sure people think they dance really awesomely when they’re drunk but they just look kind of stupid and are a health hazard for the rest of us. Oh well.
And then Biker Fox showed up… if you don’t know who he is, well I don’t want to be the one to have to “expose” you to him. You can Google him if you like – if you want a real treat, check him out on Google Images… I had never seen him in person before and all I can say is, I’m now scarred for life. It’s enough to almost turn a man-lovin’ woman off the male gender altogether.
At some point someone showed up in a gorilla suit – I’m not sure what that was all about, but he didn’t look too out of place though. And let’s see… Medicine Show’s old drummer from waaaay back, Kenny, was there, and also Rocky Frisco was in the house, sitting alone and sipping his McDonald’s coffee. He used to play with JJ Cale back in the day, and used sit in with Whirligig as a guest keyboardist.
It was a good night. I got introduced to someone who I already knew from 1991 – I’ve seen him out and about over the years but I guess he’d forgotten who I was, but so this time I got to hear about how he had come over to the house I was renting with a friend and… oh well it’s not important. I had forgotten that story and it’s probably better that way. Also a nice guy I had seen out at shows since 1993 finally introduced himself – a super nice guy, he and his wife also used to go see Medicine Show all the time. This nice person told me I was “a doll.”
Well, it’s a start.

the brad james.
matt, brad and dylan.
yup.
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parliament: good band or gateway drug?

I think I have a problem. And it all started with creating a Parliament/Funkadelic station on Pandora a few months ago. I thought that this was great – I could kickstart my day with a little funk, no harm done. So I would have it on while I got ready for work. Then I started listening to it at work during the day. And maybe a little bit at home while making dinner. And then – it just didn’t do it for me anymore. I started to crave something stronger.

This is when the real trouble started – this is when I got a little crazy and created a James Brown station.
I thought, I’ll just use it when I really need it, when I’m feeling a little down, or when I’m extra tired. I could turn it off anytime, no problem.
But then I stopped listening to Parliament altogether. And I stopped listening to the Jack Johnson station. And then Angie Stone fell by the wayside. It was James Brown all the way.
And now I’ve got it pretty bad. I can’t stop listening to my James Brown station. When I listen to it, I can’t stop moving. Which is good when I’m at home – I get extra exercise. But it’s a little inconvenient when trying to sit still at work. I have a hard enough time sitting still as it is. Now it’s real bad.
I think I have a problem. Good God ya’ll.

 

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the scene.

Last night my friend Matt and I ventured out from the depths of South Tulsa and headed downtown to check out some live music. We went up to Fassler Hall – the “German concept” bar created by Elliot Nelson (also known for opening McNellie’s). He seems to be conquering downtown one block at a time…
Our mission was to see the Paul Benjaman Band. I’d seen Paul play before, but not with his own band, and I was really curious to hear him on his own. Matt, who I know from work, agreed to come along, even though there was no punk band to be seen.
One thing I hadn’t anticipated was not only was it Oktoberfest weekend, but it was raining, which would drive all the drunks to take cover indoors somewhere. When we got to Fassler it was packed, loud, and smelling like french fries. PBB started at Standard Tulsa Band Time ( = late) but that gave us time to mill around, watch the early drunks, and find a few of my friends – Dylan, and Brad and his wife Anne.
Both Dylan and Brad are veterans of the Tulsa scene, and they’re great people to watch music with (which isn’t often, as most of the time they’re up on stage, not in front of it). They always manage to get good seats & know everyone worth knowing who’s playing music. Which is great for an up-till-now recluse like me – it’s the fast track to getting to know people.
So regarding the music – I think that Paul Benjaman is one of, if not the best, guitarists in Tulsa. That dude is good. Respect.
Things really got good when bassist Daniel Sutliffe sat in for the first two songs of the second set. I’d never seen him before, but that is some mighty funky bass. He’s small in stature, but huge in sound, and brought a little extra funk to the night.
Paul did originals, covers including a few JJ Cale songs, and it was all good. I didn’t write any of the set list down, sorry. But take my word for it – super good. I’ve included a clip off of YouTube so you can get more of an idea of his sound. It’s from last year, but you get the idea.
The audience was a little distracting though – Oktoberfest or no, I honestly haven’t seen that many people dancing on tables all at once in that small of a space before in my life, and I’m a veteran of Fender’s Grand Ballroom in the ’80’s so that’s saying something. And there was the drunk girl that passed out at our table… and the Car Bombs that Brian bought for everyone… And the yelling, and the sloppy staggering (I thought for a minute I’d get my eye poked out by one woman and her brand of “dancing”)… I’m not a big fan of alcohol to begin with and a night like that just reinforced my belief that not much good comes from it.
People kept asking me what I wanted to drink, and I would say, “I don’t drink” and they all seemed surprised. This isn’t the first time I’ve hung out with these folks so I’m not sure why it finally only came up last night.  One theory is the addition of a short skirt and cowboy boots to my bar wardrobe.

Dylan says that Fassler Hall has that semi-controlled chaotic atmosphere on a regular basis – not just during Oktoberfest. I was surprised to hear this, and I guess a little disappointed. They say the sausages are good, so that’s a plus…

All that said, I had fun – good music, good friends, good times. Paul plays every Sunday at the Colony, and tonight Brad is sitting in with him – but I can’t go. I’m one of the squares with a Day Job.

dylan after da bomb

 

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