Local Bands Can Have the Best Shows
Dig for Local Bands
Living in a college town with smaller venues can mean if you want to see popular, live music it could mean driving the 20 minutes up the highway to The City (Oklahoma City) or the 3 hours to Dallas.
No one wants to pay the outrageous prices for a big name concert and also have to make a road trip, but we do it. We pay $50 or a lot more for concert tickets, we pay over $3 per gallon in gas and we leave hours early for a show that will last for 3 at the most. There is an alternative to the over-priced super shows.
Find local bands. See who's playing in the local bar. Spend $5 on cover and experience what people are creating around you.
I have been blessed with knowing many local musicians, so I never really had to dig too much. However, I do know that people who haven't experienced these local bands end up being pleasantly surprised with what they have to offer once they go see them.
Some of the bigger bands in Norman, Oklahoma are Mike Hosty/The Hosty Duo, The Samurai Conquistadors, The Damn Quails, Mama Sweet, John Calvin, Travis Linville and the list goes on from there. This is just the surface of the music being made around here. In ten years it could be a completely different list of musicians and that would be okay, because it will still be cheaper and more intimate than the big stadiums.
A good way to find these local bands is to do local things. For example, next time you're at a coffee shop check their bulletin boards for local shows. They are usually very cheap, if not free to get in and if you don't like the music then at least you didn't lose a lot of money. Also, pick up a local newspaper/magazine to check out their entertainment section. There could be a feature on a band, which gives you more insight on whether you would like them or not. Art walks, parades and openings also feature local bands giving you easy escape if the tunes aren't your style.
Live like a local. You wouldn't drive 30 minutes everyday to eat at a chain when you have the best little café down the street, would you?
The Venues Local Bands Play
Local or Big Time?
Would you rather...
The only thing more unique than the local bands are the venues they play. The range from blocked off Main Streets to old theaters to dive bars that provide pictures and videos like the ones in this post.
The only problem with these local, small venues is that they aren't as attractive as the big arenas that can provide patrons with an expensively clean experience. But, cleanliness can come without character and believe me some of these venues have character and are frequented by characters all there own.
The Deli, for example, is a dive bar in Norman across from The University of Oklahoma's campus. It has low lighting, ashtrays and speakers that spark when turned on. It is also home of The Red Cup, which is a big plastic cup filled with cheap beer, perfect for a broke college student. You really only need two and it runs under $4 for 1.
Below is another tradition at The Deli, Mike Hosty and The Deli Light Show. Every Sunday Mike Hosty, a one man band, plays. The place fills with college students and townies to hear his truly Oklahoman music. When the set is close to finishing he plays his hit "Oklahoma Breakdown" (which he sold to Stoney LaRue) and narrates the light show, which consists of the bar workers turning on and off the light switches somewhat quickly. This isn't fancy and it's not suppose to be, but it is something that is specific to Norman, Oklahoma.
Norman also has an art walk every 2nd Friday, a free music festival in April, live, outdoor music every Sunday in the Summer, Jazz in June and quite a few tiny venues that cater to our love for local activities.
But, Norman isn't as strange as I'm sure it seems right now. We're just a little more open about our scenes. Dig a little bit and I promise you can find a way to shop locally entertainment wise.
And even if the town is small and the big time stars don't always come through town there are still good musicians willing to play wherever for their hometown to hear. Who knows, maybe one day you can say you saw them in a dim, smoky bar before they made it?