Now that the country music tornado benefit concerts are over, Oklahoma rockers took their turn to raise money for the May tornado victims.
Rock for Oklahoma was the brainchild of native Oklahoma ban Kings of Leon manager Andy Mendelsohn. who then teamed up to raise money for those affected and awareness about the need for tornado shelters with Scott Booker, manager of The Flaming Lips and CEO of The Academy of Contemporary Music at The University of Central Oklahoma, or ACM@UCO. In collaboration with The United Way, Oklahoma natives Kings of Leon and The Flaming Lips, along with Jackson Browne, Built to Spill and Ben Kweller played to fans and supporters at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Built to Spill opened the indoor portion of the night playing cover songs like The Smiths’ “How Soon is Now?” and Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”
Oklahoma City based rockers The Flaming Lips and wild-haired Wayne Coyne did not disappoint, playing what amount to almost cult hits, like “The W.A.N.D” and “Do You Realize.”
Before the crowd even know what they were about to see, it was evident that the busy work of stage hands was going to make for a psychedelic show. Fiber optic rope that flickered tiny lights with the rhythm of the music, a digital video screen that showed scenes from perhaps someone’s acid-tripping daydream, and fake props that included what appeared to be a newborn baby were just a few of the theatrics The Flaming Lips provided
Special guest Grace Potter flew in just to sing one song with The Flaming Lips, who she has a long-standing musical relationship with. Almost like an angel, Grace Potter’s strong voice and white flowing dress mesmerized the crowd and left them asking for more.
Headliner Kings of Leon rounded out the night and by the sound of the thousands of feet stomping, brothers, Caleb, Nathan and Jared Followill along with their cousin Matthew Followill, were a crowd favorite. The Grammy Award winning Southern rock/alternative band played hit songs like “Use Somebody” and “Back Down South”.
The voice of lead singer Caleb is at the same time smooth and whisky rough, creating a great sound. Add in the upbeat energy and talent of the band and what Kings of Leon makes is great music.
Temperatures Tuesday may have reached the low 100s but that did not deter the local bands from ACM@UCO from playing their hearts out and donating their time to help victims affected by the May tornadoes.
Groups and solo artists ranging from indie folk to hip-hop fusion performed indoors and out for Rock for Oklahoma in a collaborative effort with headliners Kings of Leon and The Flaming Lips.
Outside, Bowlsey, Oklahoma Cloud Factory, The Kamals, and Stardeath & White Dwarfs, braved the heat.
Inside, the walkway that encircles the Chesapeake Energy on all three levels became its own stage for ACM@UCO musicians. It almost felt like you were somehow transported to a New York City subway because around every curve, a different artist or band could be heard, “busking” for United Way donations.
For more information about ACM@UCO artists, go to www.acm.uco.edu.