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Norman Music Festival goes on a Power Trip

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Power Trip - ANGELA OWENS / PROVIDED
  • Angela Owens / Provided
  • Power Trip

Editor’s note: Oklahoma Gazette is featuring one performer a week in the lead-up to Norman Music Fest.

Riley Gale stomped around the stage in Oklahoma City, trying to be larger than life itself. Opening up for Lamb of God and Anthrax, he had to be.

Gale fronts Dallas-based hardcore band Power Trip, which opened for the metal mainstays at Diamond Ballroom in February. That tour, also featuring artsy black metal band Deafheaven, offered Power Trip its biggest platform to date. Gale hopes that tour’s Oklahoma City stop was a good introduction for those who might see the act’s April 22 show at Norman Music Festival.

Power Trip usually plays for crowds of 100 to 300, depending on the city and venue. Each stop in which Gale opened for metal megalith Lamb of God was one of the band’s most populated shows to date.

Gale called the tour Power Trip’s introduction to big show business. He learned the best way to control large crowds by watching Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, a smart and polite person to talk to offstage.

“When he gets up on stage, he turns the country side of him up like 1,000 percent,” Gale said.

Before this experience, Power Trip’s vocalist played stripped-down punk shows where he felt more at home in his own skin.

“With the Lamb of God thing, you needed to develop this professional wrestling type of character where you’re like, ‘OK, you motherfuckers! I’m fucking stoned, and I’m happy to be here!’” he said.

Gale said Power Trip’s venture on that tour was a net positive. The band did not make much money. It was forced to spend most of its tour guarantee on a driver and a mid-level, eight-bunk camper.

“We were sleeping in this rumbling truck bed thing for a month,” he said. “That was stressful. It was like cutting your teeth on the next level of touring.”

However, the opportunity granted the act a lot of exposure. Power Trip usually plays in local music clubs and came up performing in home basements. Playing mid- and large-level venues with two legendary rock acts put it in front of a lot more people. Everyone bandmates met, from Blythe down to the stagehands, was nice, too.

Riley Gale of Power Trip - ANGELA OWENS / PROVIDED
  • Angela Owens / Provided
  • Riley Gale of Power Trip

Musical freedom

Gale was first introduced to the Sooner State before the Lamb of God tour. When he was a teenager, many punk and hardcore tours traveling the Midwest never made it down to Texas. He made the long drive to Oklahoma City or Tulsa.

On one occasion, he remembers deciding to leave the Denton, Texas, area at 5:30 p.m. to catch a Tulsa show at 7 p.m. A friend at a gas station hooked him up with a case of free beer and a tank of fuel.

“We just drove 90 miles an hour and got to Tulsa in like two hours or something like that,” he said.

Power Trip plays music fests but isn’t a band that’s routinely on the festival circuit. Instead, Gale said he plays shows where he thinks he can have the most fun.

“If [Norman Music Fest] was just a club show in Norman or something like that, where it’s like 15 bucks to get in, I probably wouldn’t be as excited about that,” he said. “But the fact that it’s an open, outdoors, fair setting with people mingling around and it’s free, that’s when I’m like, ‘OK, this can be really cool.’”

Sometimes playing a fun show means venturing outside of Power Trip’s element. Though there will be plenty of thrashers on deck in Norman, any free music event will draw mixed company.

He relishes the opportunity to share the band’s music with all types of fans.

“Some people, you put them in a public space and tell them they can act like an asshole and act crazy for 30 minutes, a lot of people want to take advantage of that,” he said.

Gale said he hopes his band’s music is enjoyable for a wide range of tastes.

“If you like heavy music, I can imagine you can probably get down with Power Trip,” he said. “You can say that we don’t suck, I guess.”

Power Trip took a break from performing after the Lamb of God tour. Gale said he’s eager to start playing in front of live crowds again. In the meantime, the band has been preparing its new record for an expected summer release.

Print headline: Road Trip, Frontman Riley Gale is ready to bang heads at Norman Music Festival with band Power Trip.

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