After a doughnut breakfast and a quick trip to Capp’s Rental to resolve a swampy van seat (don’t ask), we headed north on I l-35. This was the first time in Oklahoma for both Jamie and me, and I was pleasantly surprised to find it more attractive than I had been led to believe, with rolling hills dotted by rocky outcroppings.
In contrast to Saturday’s mad rush, we arrived in Oklahoma City with plenty of spare time. We met up for tacos with Melissa’s friend Jason Smith of Traindodge (who set up this show for us! Thanks Jason!) along with his lovely wife Lisa and friend Jake Stinson of Bitchwizard. Traindodge last year celebrated their 20th year as a band! We should be so lucky.
Melissa traded Jason a record for a copy of their tenth (!) LP. We were hoping to jam it in the van but wouldn’t you know it this van doesn’t have a damn turntable what the hell.
We then headed over to a local coffeeshop so Sam could hold a business meeting.
After a while we made our way over to the Blue Note, where a birthday party had been progress since the afternoon.
We loaded in through the back as the Blue Note changed over for the night crowd.
The Blue Note has a venerable history as part of the original DIY punk touring circuit back in the ’80s- people told us about seeing the likes of Government Issue there back in the day. So we were honored and excited to play there.
Saturday, September 30: The Blue Note (Oklahoma City) with We the Undead and Idre
For obvious reasons, getting into town for a gig late is a problem. Less obviously, getting in early can also be a problem, because you end up sitting around waiting for the gig to start for hours and you tend you forget why you’re even there. Or at least I do.
Fortunately, We the Undead were available to remind me: DOOM METAL.
Drummer Philip Banta brought the pain with this enormous Tama Granstar drumset. Some of you may recall that I am an aficionado of vintage Tama gear and Granstars are probably my favorite so I spent a good 5 minutes enthusing over this beast.
When the band got going, Philip played so hard that he broke the chain on his kick pedal. I rushed to the rescue with mine, only to watch him pull out a spare from a case behind his kit. Apparently this is not the first time this has happened.
We the Undead fit nicely into the subgenre of heavy music that consists of two-piece bands with a drummer and bassist or guitarist. (See also: Om, DEAD, In the Company of Serpents, Dark Castle, Black Cobra, Mountain of Smoke, Big Business, White Whale, etc etc etc) What is this subgenre called? Ponder the questions of the universe while listening to their album on Bandcamp.
We played second and felt great- much credit to engineer Tony for a voluminous and crystal-clear stage mix. I could almost understand some of Sam’s lyrics!
A Ruined Oak
The Savage Sky
Arms That Flood
Idre closed the show, with a set that (I thought) was substantially heavier than the one they played the last time I saw them, way back at No Thanks Fest 8 in 2014. At that time they came off more like a slowcore band, but this time they were crushingly loud through the sound system.
Once again I found myself impressed with Nick Wojcik’s facility around the kit and the sound of his gear. Really talented drummer and a heavy-ass band.
Idre’s first vinyl LP came out earlier this year on Wolves and Vibrancy records. If you like doom I recommend it! Bought one myself.
Many thanks to Matt, Tony and everyone at the Blue Note, as well as Jason for setting things up for us. And to all the beautiful people we met at this show. And to Ryan Davis from Idre for putting us up at his house only two blocks from the club. And to his girlfriend Chris who bought me a burrito at 2AM. And to his roommate Todd who gave us a bottle of the salsa that he bottles:
(Unlike typical salsa verde, El Rancho contains no tomatillos- the green color comes only from jalapenos. The idea of eating this thrills and terrifies me.)
With a long drive ahead of us, we were up with the sun this morning. Next stop: Denver.