It isnt especially often that three of a city scenes most exciting live bands wind up on a single bill. But thats Fridays free show on the University of Oklahoma campus, and the competitions set for fierce.
For the blown-fuse vintage punkers of Broncho (right) ,that means sweating, riffing and mid-song crowd-surfing like never before. For electro rockers Chrome Pony, the synths will get bodies shaking en masse. And for psychedelic hillbillies Stardeath and White Dwarfs ... well, theyll just have to freak out harder, better, faster and stronger. Ive always thought that was something special about Oklahoma there arent a whole lot of places to play, so it creates a high level of competition to get those shows, said Matt Duckworth, drummer for Stardeath and sometimes Chrome Pony. If you dont bring something new or different to the table, then somebody else is gonna get the show. Its an interesting, competitive element that makes everybody better.
Each bands recent performance résumé is impressive. Stardeath played New Yorks famous Bowery Ballroom to positive reviews. Chrome Pony (left) slammed an exclamation point on the end of Norman Music Festival 4, while Broncho ripped Tulsas Soundpony bar apart over the summer.
How do the guys all keep it friendly when everybodys trying so hard to be the best? They agreed its a combination of collaboration and admiration.
Chrome Pony founder Steven Battles, whos been helping with Stardeaths sophomore LP, is kind of the king of Norman-area rock collaborations. He can rattle off the names of nine guitarists whove contributed to Chrome Pony, eventually stopping at Brine Web.
Well, Brine kind of. He just grabbed a guitar and got onstage at Norman Music Fest, Battles said.
Added Broncho leader Ryan Lindsey, He wasnt plugged in at all.
We didnt talk about it, said Battles. He just jumped up there.
Stardeath front man Dennis Coyne said hes always been jealous of Lindseys talents.
Weve had a few different guitar players, and every time a guys quit, weve courted him, Coyne said. Hes always been playing with another band, though, so it never quite worked out.
Ask Lindsey what hes taken from former roommate Battles onstage work and the flirting continues: Ive always admired Stevens fearlessness to go over-the-top as Chrome Pony. Thats really encouraged me working with Broncho.
Kidding aside, each group has pushed and pulled a lot into one another, whether in terms of conceptual influence or actual sonic contribution. Theyll be carrying that momentum into the near future, as each outfit has plans for more shows and releases.
Stardeath, which is signed to Warner Bros. Records, is about to start its last recording session at Normans Bell Labs Recording Studio. Battles is stretching outside his comfort zone on a gospel/ soul project with Broncho guitarist Ben King. And Broncho has a couple of tracks it intends to cobble together for a 7-inch release.
Click through for an exclusive interview with Broncho frontman Ryan Lindsey at OKSee, the Gazette music blog.