2012 marked the 10th anniversary of operation for Norman’s premier micro venue and independent rock band club Opolis in Norman’s downtown arts district. The celebration included free performances at the venue sponsored by the Fowler Volkswagen dealership organization. Vice President of Fowler Holding Company and dealership General Manager Jonathan Fowler isn’t your stereotypical business suit. He and spouse Natalie have a passion for indie rock coupled with a love for sharing it in their community. They don’t just pay for events such as this once or twice a year, it’s a constant stream of generosity encompassing dozens of shows and special activities open to everyone throughout the calendar. The Fowlers and Opolis have announced a double-day concert redux for 2013. Undoubtedly one reason the Fowlers have chosen to celebrate the Opolis eleventh anniversary is because of the dedication, hard work and love for music shown by another couple. Andy and Marion Nuñez own and operate the Opolis. They consistently schedule exciting new, old, local, foreign, famous and unknown indie bands of many genres into the place. Due to the Nuñez connections in the business, artistic acumen and business savvy, Norman has been afforded the opportunity to experience performances that most towns this size don’t have. Admission charges are minimal and undoubtedly profit margins are narrow or sometimes non-existent but Opolis’ doors remain open.
The Opolis XI bill is panoply of musical styles. It includes singer/songwriter red dirt, snotty nose punk, veteran rock band, experimental psychedelic and brave new noise. Bands are slotted to start an hour apart both Friday and Saturday evenings. Friday performances will be indoors and Saturday outdoors behind the venue. A full schedule of all bands and start times is posted at opolis.org. Below are selected picks from among the dozen artists and/or groups scheduled to perform.
**** Poolboy is a new outfit who describe themselves as “Garage rock from the heart of Norman.” They’re Michael Loveland, vocals and guitar, bassist Sean Barker and John Calvin playing skins. Their sound will bring an instantaneous smile to your face. Loud, fast and happy they’re the cannonball dive of punk rock.
***Beloved Norman band Shi**y Awesome have announced this will be their final performance. It’s your last chance to soak up their aural nitroglycerine before disintegration.
Denver band Dressy Bessy will perform at Opolis Sat. evening. Shown here lead vocalist Tammy Ealom. Dress code will be enforced.
*** Copperheads are in a similar vein with all songs fast and furious coming in less than three minutes in length. They’re a viper strike to the ears with song titles including “Implode,” “Sewr Rat” (sic) and “Meat By Product.” If there’s no mosh pit for Copperheads there’s not going to be one for the entire show.
*** Low Litas are coming from Tulsa. They are lead vocalist and guitarist Mandii Larsen, drummer Liz Wattoff and Penny Pitchlynn (Hill) on bass. Low Litas are a rich and complex experience that’s full of found sound, breathy vocals and jangling guitar. Much of their music has a dream-like quality that’s ranges from dreamy to tantalizingly disturbing.
*** Samantha Crain is among Oklahoma’s finest singer/songwriters. It’s a genuine treat to be able to hear her perform live and she has a prime 7 p.m. set. Crain’s voice has remarkable singularity that makes you want to hear more. Undoubtedly she’ll play from powerful new disc “Kid Face” with its autobiographical exorcisms and insightful introspection. Crain’s lyrics are poetic without being indecipherable.
*** Dressy Bessy is a rock quartet from Denver, Colorado fronted by vocalist Tammy Ealom. They play an energetic and upbeat flavor of original power pop that’s sunshine and lollipops with stiletto heel edge. Dressy Bessy’s musicianship is stellar and their stage presence entertaining. Songs are well-crafted and John Hill’s guitar is a thing of wonder. Ealom’s vocals on numbers such as “This May Hurt (A Little)” and new hit single “Lipstick” are scintillating. This is not the set to miss because you went to reapply lip gloss.
*** Punk rock band Broncho has roots in both Tulsa and Norman. Former Starlight Mints keyboardist Ryan Lindsey is now Broncho’s lead vocalist and guitarist along with percussionist Nathan Price, Ben King on guitar and Jonathan Ford playing bass. They’re signed to LA’s Fairfax Recordings. Broncho has a brash and unabashed punk sound that fondly recalls another era without ever looking back in irony.
If You Go
What: Opolis XI celebration concert by various bands.
Where: Opolis Bar and Micro Venue, 113 N. Crawford.
When: Today 6:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. and Sat. 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Specific band start time schedule is listed at opolis.org.