Norman Music Festival 6: Day 3

Best Time Warp:
JD McPherson

For about an hour, Norman wasn’t in the year 2013, but instead 1953. Broken Arrow native JD McPherson has turned the success of his debut, Signs & Signifiers, into spots on Conan and more, and Norman got a chance to see just what it is NPR and the like have been glowing about right up close and personal at the Sailor Jerry Stage. Armed with a killer live band and tunes that Buddy Holly would be proud of, McPherson is just as much a time capsule as he is an incredible artist.  —Joshua Boydston

Best Cherry on Top:

Needless to say, Norman
Music Festival was a real treat for all that attended, but the evening
wasn’t over when Ritzy Bryan & Co. walked off the stage. After
parties took place all over downtown, but no one attracted more
attention than Broncho, who delivered a knockout punch with a
enthralling, blisteringly loud set of tunes from Can’t Get Past the Lips,
as well as a steady stream of new songs that were greeted by some of
the biggest mosh pits and crowd surfers of the weekend over at
Blackwatch. —JB

The Joy Formidable
Photo: Joshua Boydston

Most Arena-Ready Rock Band:
The Joy Formidable

Between their extravagant light show, guitar riffs as big as St. George’s Channel and Ritzy Bryan’s animated stage presence (complete with a truly amazing Cookie Monster hat), it’s safe to say that The Joy Formidable are quickly outgrowing “indie rock band” status. The band was tight — almost exceedingly so — as it plowed through an hour-plus of soaring alterna-prog that wouldn’t have sounded out of place opening a U2 or Coldplay concert. Given its rapid increase in popularity and how tangible the electricity was during their set, the Welsh trio turned out to be an ideal headliner for a festival of this magnitude. —Zach Hale

Most Fan-Tastic Performance:
Io Echo

Los Angeles outfit Io Echo has shared the stage with Garbage, Bloc Party, Florence + the Machine and Nine Inch Nails, and Saturday’s set at Opolis showed just why. With the bass drum covered with a hand fan built for Andre the Giant and chanteuse Ioanna Gika donning a kimono, the talented four-piece played a quick set heavy with selections from the outfit’s freshly released debut full-length album, Ministry of Love. —JB

Most Unwarranted Display of Political Activism:
Pro-Life Picketers

What better place to cast judgment upon 60,000 sinners and fornicators than Norman Music Fest? That’s apparently what one group of fringe activists with nothing better to do thought to themselves as they picketed the corner of Main and Jones Saturday afternoon. No word yet on how effective their efforts were. —ZH

The King Khan & BBQ Show
Photo: Joshua Boydston

Most Uncomfortable Display of Political Activism:
The King Khan & BBQ Show

The King Khan & BBQ Show could have won a number of NMF6 awards: Noisiest Chuck Berry Cover, Most Impressive Garb, Best Scream, etc. But the snarky banter toward the end of their very impressive set would eventually win out. After inviting the crowd to join them at Guestroom Records for an encore performance, the duo (jokingly) offered free abortions to anyone in need. At one point, guitarist/percussionist Mark Sultan even mocked an audience member who was apparently upset by their remarks. A comment about aborting the dozens of beach balls flying around probably would have been preferable, but regardless of your views, the remarks had to at least enhance the sheer entertainment value of their garage-heavy set. —ZH

Josh Sallee
Photo: Joshua Boydston

Best Substitute for Red Bull:
Josh Sallee

No one gets a party started like Josh Sallee, as those who were unfamiliar with the Oklahoma City rapper soon discovered. Taking the Main Stage in the hot afternoon sun, Sallee warmed up the crowd for the madness that was going down later that evening. With beatmaker/DJ Blev and a live drummer in tow, Sallee ripped through a tight, energetic set that saw him hop off the stage and into the crowd on more than one occasion. —JB

Best Scissortail Flycatcher Reference:
Samantha Crain

Samantha Crain’s performance was nothing if not charming. The rising Shawnee singer/songwriter had to make do without a couple of her band members, as bassist Penny Hill’s other band (Low Litas) were rescheduled at the same time as Crain as a result of the previous night’s rainouts. Crain made the most of it, however, with a lovely, mid-afternoon set highlighting material both new and old. Standouts included “For the Miner” — an ode to the late Jason Molina — and the loveable state bird-themed “Scissor Tales.” —ZH

Beau Jennings & the Tigers
Photo: Joshua Boydston

Most All-American Set:
Beau Jennings & the Tigers

Lots of bands aspire for the classic American rock sound of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, but few pull it off as convincingly as Beau Jennings & the Tigers do. Jennings — looking like he was plucked right out of a Ralph Lauren catalog — played an authentic, timeless set that was a perfect precursor to McPherson later that evening. —JB

Best Stomp Skit Utilization:

Jabee’s no stranger to NMF, having performed at the event each of the last three years. So as an addendum to his new single, “Stephanie (SuperUgly),” the conscious OKC rapper opted to shake things up a bit, inviting a troupe of middle-school-aged girls inside the Stash venue to perform a “stomp” skit with an appropriately positive message. It was maybe the most touching moment of the entire weekend, and further testimony that Jabee isn’t your average performer. —ZH

Myke Brown
Photo: Joshua Boydston

Best Sooner Football Star Sighting:
Myke Brown

OU fullback Trey Millard is a monster, so it makes sense that we would seek out similarly beastly rhymes of Myke Brown on the Stash hip-hop stage. Brown flexed his muscle, working the room like a champ before closing with standout cut “Atlantis” from Don’t Forget the Y. He joined Sallee for a guest spot on the Main Stage, and you get the feeling that won’t be the last time we see him there. —JB

Biggest Team Players:
Kyle Reid and Feathered Rabbit

Opening a show is usually a challenge, but it gets a heck of a lot harder when you are playing nine hours before the headliner goes on. Norman folkster Kyle Reid and Oklahoma City alt-blues outfit Feathered Rabbit took the early start and somewhat chilly temps and made the most of things on the Sailor Jerry and Main Stage respectively, doing the job that someone had to do and doing it well. —JB

Hey! Read This:
Beau Jennings & the Tigers interview     
Feathered Rabbit’s Feathered Rabbit album review   
Jabee interview     
JD McPherson’s Signs & Signifiers album review     
Josh Sallee interview     
The Joy Formidable interview     
Kyle Reid interview     
Myke Brown’s Don’t Forget the Y album review      
Samantha Crain interview     

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