Tulsa, Oklahoma (July 26, 2018)– In the bustling Tulsa Arts District, an unassuming brick building hosts one of the best venues for catching visiting rock, punk and metal bands that stop in Tulsa. This venue, known as The Vanguard, hosted a trio of California rock bands on Thursday night, with the regional band Øver cast warming up the crowd.
Although advertised as an “all-ages show”, I must confess, I didn’t expect upon arriving to see children in tiny headphones running up on stage during the Øver cast set to give kisses and hugs to their fathers on stage. Taking it in stride, the band seemed fine with the interruption and paused the music and head banging to embrace their children. It was an endearing sight and started the night out with a relaxed, anything goes vibe, that would continue for the rest of the evening.
Next up was the band, Andrés, who brought a laid-back California vibe to the evening with a twist of alternative rock. Frontman and guitarist, Andres Aparicio, was likable with his stage banter and attempts to engage the crowd with his stories of past gigs he played in Tulsa. Backed by a solid band, Aparicio continued the moment of the evening with songs like the tongue-in-cheek “Self Aware” and the post break-up song “Salty“.
The clear crowd favorite of the night was the instrumental rock band, Night Verses. A trio hailing from California, made up of Nick DePirro on guitar, Reilly Herrera on bass and Aric Improta on drums. Citing a difficult day and night, Improta asked the crowd to gather around the stage and rock out with them. Spoken words and heavy, driving beats are the basis of Night Verses songs, sounding at some times similar, but still different at the same time. What made the set really shine was the dynamics of the trio. Improta especially was a joy to watch. Having never seen him play before, I can only speculate if tonight’s performance was his normal way of playing or due to the frustration he mentioned at the first of the set. Whatever it was, it resulted in Improta jumping up on speakers and his drum set, clutching drumsticks and pumping up the crowd.
Headlining the evening was Strawberry Girls, another California based, progressive rock/instrumental trio. Made up of guitarist Zac Garren (formerly of Dance Gavin Dance), drummer Ben Rosett and bassist Ian Jennings, the trio ended the night on a high note with their skillfull playing. Founded in 2010, it was obvious this group is a well-oiled machine. Their playing was effortless and made it easy to get lost in their songs, with each song seamlessly blending into the next. One moment you’re dancing along to a steady drum beat and the thumping bass, the next its an almost delicate guitar riff.
The Party Nights tour is quickly coming to an end and finishes the last three dates on the west coast. If you’re into a great mix of the instrumental rock of Night Verses and Strawberry Girls or the lighter, alternative flavor of Andrés, you’ll want to check out the remaining dates of this tour.
The Vanguard Tulsa: