Editor’s note: This story originally ran during South by Southwest, in mid-March. George Lang and Video Director David Morris went to Austin to cover the annual music and technology event in Central Texas. Oklahoma bands, ever growing, were out in Austin in force this year. Lang expects Oklahoma bands to continue making a national name for themselves in the future.
I drove for seven hours on March 13, leaving Oklahoma City as early as possible, but when I walked through the doors at Friends, the Sixth Street bar that serves as ground zero for Oklahoma’s Buffalo Lounge at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin, I was home.
No, I did not pass through some Red River wormhole that deposited me on my front steps after hours of pointless driving, but when I reached Friends, 208 E 6, it was as if the entire Oklahoma music scene was picked up and dropped on Sixth Street. As soon as I walked into the bar, I saw no one but the best and the brightest of Oklahoma music.
I spent three days at Friends doing live coverage of the Buffalo Lounge performances, shooting episodes of Static, tweeting and writing daily stories from the event, all sponsored by CNGNow.com. Dave Morris and I shot 21 different interviews and new Static performances and got them online as quickly as we could, so even if you did not make it down to Austin, you can experience some of the great music and interviews online at static.NewsOK.com/sxsw.
An event created and operated by the Oklahoma Film and Music Office, the Buffalo Lounge began at 4 p.m. March 13 with the Oklahoma Film + Interactive + Music event. Hosted by the OKPOP Museum and the Woody Guthrie Center and Archive, the three-hour show featured performances by Modern Rock Diaries, Desi and Cody, and Wink Burcham with Jesse Aycock. An hour after that set wrapped, the CNGNow.com-sponsored Okie Soundcheck started at 8 p.m., featuring O Fidelis, Black Canyon, Mont Lyons, Pretty Black Chains, DEERPEOPLE, Josh Sallee, Daniel(s), and Chrome Pony, wrapping at 2 a.m.
The next two days were completely jam-packed. From noon to 5 p.m. March 14, the “Sax, Clogs & Rock-N-Roll” set featured the Damn Quails, Scales of Motion, the Panda Resistance, BrotherBear, Feathered Rabbit, S/Awesome, and Denver Duncan with Jabee. ACM@UCO took over the stage for its 8 p.m. showcase with Defining Times, The Boom Bang, The Non, Horse Thief, Broncho and Stardeath & White Dwarfs.
ACM@UCO maintained control from noon to 5 p.m. March 15 for its Music Day, featuring Painted Wolfe, Fos, Day One, Brianna Gaither, Gum, paperscissor, The Rockettops and Of the Tower.
The Buffalo Lounge festivities ended beautifully from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. with the Oklahoma Showcase, featuring Green Corn Revival, Junebug Spade, Fiawna Forte, Jacob Abello, JD McPherson and OK Sweetheart.
Other than the British Music Embassy and a venue devoted to Canada, the Buffalo Lounge is the only SXSW stage devoted specifically to artists from a particular geographic place. So when people pass Friends, everything they hear wafting from the stage just inside the door comes from Oklahoma musicians.
It’s an amazing experience, one that only emphasizes the extraordinary depth of talent that resides in our state, and the bands love playing the stage.
“I’m from Oklahoma, a trailer park kid who learned to drive a tractor before I learned how to drive a truck,” said Jake Morisse, lead singer of Black Canyon. “It means a lot to come to this place where a lot of the people coming in are not flashing Oklahoma IDs. They’re coming to see Oklahoma bands. And that’s really rad, you know?”