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Fun to Watch, Fun to Hear

Candid/Ever Since Tomorrow/Last Tuesday/MidAmerica
May 23rd, 2005
The Pinkeye, Tulsa, Oklahoma

This was the first time that I’d been to the Pinkeye since they did ‘re-modeling’ on it. I was concerned as to what they had done, exactly- because the Pinkeye is a hole in the wall, and we all love it that way. I was pleasantly surprised to find that while the capacity of the building had been increased by about 50 people, the ‘hole-in-the-wall’ image wasn’t tarnished one bit. It’s still got couches and chairs along the walls, holes in a wall or two, and general decay going on. I love the place. It made me happy to start out with.

Unfortunately, Candid did not help out my good feelings. As a emo/hardcore band, they were worse than average. That’s definitely not good in the over-crowded emo/hardcore scene. Their music just didn’t go anywhere- the drums were simple, the bass player played the root of each chord and nothing else, the guitars didn’t have bite, and the vocals just didn’t mesh with the music at all. About every 5 minutes a good idea would come up- and seeing as their songs were 3-4 minutes long, that gives you an idea of how interesting their 30 minute set was. It appeared to be one of the band’s first gigs though, so hopefully they’ll get better as time goes on.

Ever Since Tomorrow is one of the most intimidating bands in the scene to play after- they have a rabid fanbase for their hardcore sound that makes a lot of noise and a lot of movement, but once EST is off the stage, every single EST fan leaves, leaving an empty floor for the next band to set up to. It’s horribly intimidating. Their brand of hardcore is what we like to call ‘generic small-town hardcore’- a wall of sound that obliterates everything, leaving no room for technical expertise. It’s supposed to crush you, and that’s about it. Ever Since Tomorrow did show an interesting side of themselves by announcing that their reason for playing was to give glory to Jesus Christ- to which a rousing cheer went up. They then went into another bashing, smashing hardcore song, and I really couldn’t tell if their words backed up their mission statement or not. Oh well- the crowd liked it.

After the EST fans unceremoniously left, Last Tuesday proceeded to set up to a floor with absolutely no one on it. That’s gotta be intimidating. By the time they started playing, the floor had filled out to 40-60 people- so it wasn’t a total loss. They blew through their set with gusto, cracking jokes at every turn and leveling the audience. If their musical gig falls through, I’m pretty sure that the members of Last Tuesday could make it as a stand-up act. But they’ve decided to play music, and play they did. Their music is punk music- but it’s beefed up with a huge bass sound and huge bass riffs- watching the fingers fly on some of the bass riffs was just amazing. What’s even more amazing is that a lot of that bass work was done as the guitarist and bassist jumped manically around the stage. It was above and beyond what normal punk bands do- this was an athletic event! Their dual-vocal sound also made it fun to watch- with both vocalists singing their lungs out, it was pretty obvious that Last Tuesday is here to stay. They had all the bases covered- crowd interaction, impressive stage presence, excellent musicianship. As a bonus, they declared that “Tulsa is quickly becoming our favorite place to play in America”. We’ll add that to the ever-growing list of bands that have hailed Tulsa for the great concert town it is: Snow Patrol, Switchfoot, Relient K, Bleach….

Finally, Mid-America set up to play. Having only heard one song by Mid-America, I really didn’t know what to expect. Thus, their energetic brand of modern rock was a surprise to me. Mid-America is a band that’s more fun to watch then to listen to, as all three of the non-stationary members flailed about wildly in the breakdowns. The bassist danced hilariously throughout the set, making himself the main attraction of the band. When he put his mind to playing, he was the main attraction of the band as well- his bass lines were perfectly timed, perfectly played, and extremely complex. He gave Mid-America the shot of creativity that it needed. They worked the crowd excellently- calling fans out by name and asking them for which song they wanted to hear. This led to a rather confusing set-list, as no one really knew how long Mid-America was going to play- not even the members of Mid-America knew how long they were going to play. The solution came about in one particularly rocking song where the bassist became so animated that he jumped up in the air, landed, threw his bass at the drum set, kicked over some of the drumset, then crossed his arms as the song ended. The lead singer, looking at the mess, pulled up the microphone and said “We’re done! Everyone go home! Get yourselves home on time. Thanks for coming, thanks to the bands, good night!” Needless to say, it was a wild ending to the show.

Overall, Last Tuesday and Mid-America were the show. Last Tuesday stood out as the shining star of the night, and if they’re ever in town, I recommend you go see them. There’s no way you can have a bad time- even if you don’t like punk. That’s how amazingly inclusive their show is.

-Stephen Carradini