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Seams opened by age, distance repaired for one-night Smarty Pants reunion show



Sorry, Oasis. Reunions are the new band breakups. Members of No Doubt, Blink-182 and Pavement all cast aside their differences recently, and the trend has found its way to the metro-area music scene as well.

Formed in 1995, Smarty Pants " singer/guitarist Ryan Bellgardt, guitarist Chris Palmer, bassist Kyle Granger, keyboard player Jeff Bellgardt and drummer Kyle Martin " was an Oklahoma City mainstay for a decade, delivering its unique brand of wacky rock 'n' roll.

Smarty Pants dissolved in 2005, after Palmer's relocation to Portland, Ore., for work.

"It was also about the time we were starting to get married and have kids, and we didn't have as much free time. We thought about going forward and continuing to play without him, but it just wasn't the same," Bellgardt said.

Smarty Pants really began with no lofty aspirations, he said, so the group appreciated all of its success.

"We never wanted to take over the world or anything," he said. "The biggest goal we had for ourselves was to get somebody to pay for us to record, and someone gave us $1,000 to record our album. To us, we'd made it. We'd reached our goal, and everything after that was just gravy."

Ironically, he said the band's true culmination was at its final show.

"We completely filled up The Conservatory with people who had maybe gotten tired of seeing us, and they came because it was the last time to see us play," he said. "It's something I'll never forget. It was so worth it, because for 10 years, you work to be a 'rock star' or whatever, and that last night, I finally kind of felt like it. I thought, 'Hey, where were you guys before? When we weren't breaking up?'"

The reunion wheels started turning when the remaining Okies talked about joining to play one more time. After recruiting the out-of-towners, Bellgardt booked the reunion show for Saturday. Also on the all-locals bill is a recently reunited Euclid Crash, Student Film and a somewhat reunited Little League Hero.

"We really wanted bands to play with us that were playing when we played " bands that are together now that we'd played with before," Bellgardt said. "It's a really cool blast from the past for people who came to shows back then. To me, it's going to feel like stepping into a time machine, sort of. We're playing stuff we hadn't played since 1996. We've relearned some old stuff. That'll be cool for people who always asked us to play those songs, and we never did."

He predicts the Smarty Pants reunion will be a one-time affair, and he doesn't quite know what to expect.

"People are telling me there will be a lot of people there. I don't know. We'll see," he said. "Really, it's fun to go back and think about how we were so pretentious; this music is so weird. Now, we're focused on being stable, having families. Doing this reminds us of a time when things were different. It's neat to revisit that."

Smarty Pants with Euclid Crash, Little League Hero and Student Film perform at 9 p.m. Saturday at The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western. "Becky Carman

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