Seattle’s best

The Seattle-based band Pickwick has played some of the biggest venues in its hometown of Seattle — including opening day for the local professional baseball team, the Mariners — but they’ve never played a museum.

It was an unexpected shock to frontman Galen Disston when the band was booked to play the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, 555 Elm Ave. in Norman.

“We just realized this,” Disston exclaimed. “I have no idea what it’s going to be like, but we’re pretty excited… I guess we’ll have to wait and see, but I’ll be pretty impressed if playing around works of art could actually transform us into works of art too.”

Audiences can see for themselves just how well the band adjusts to this change of pace Thursday alongside headliner Black Joe Lewis.

Raised on Bob Dylan and spending much of his career playing in Grateful Dead cover bands, it wasn’t until Disston’s then-girlfriend played him Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” that he found his true musical calling, and the sound that defines Pickwick’s, “garage R&B.”

It’s a sound that the group has crafted on their independent debut release Can’t Talk Medicine but have perfected on the road, touring across the country with blues artist Lewis and roots chanteuse Neko Case.

“I think the music on our record is a good introduction to Pickwick,” Disston said. “But I think that we expand on and make a more lively presentation of
the songs on that record, as well as the new songs that we’re currently
working on, when we play them live. I think that audiences can expect
to witness a group of people that meet in a basement, take their
basement songs out of there and give those songs their proper physical,
emotive treatment onstage.”

Touring
almost nonstop since March, Pickwick has been quickly and quietly
building up a fan base with each performance. Disston said the band is
excited to, hopefully, gain a couple of new fans here as well.

“I think we’ve kind of
got a shot of confidence in playing these shows, just being really
surprised and encouraged by the reaction to the live shows and just
blown away that people in other cities who don’t even know who we are
come to our shows,” Disston said.

“We’ve been very fortunate to be able to play almost all the venues in Seattle, large and small. We’ve done well in Seattle.

“It’s
been an exciting place to grow up and play music and develop a fan
base. But it’s also been kind of cool to see that regional fan base
expand to the entire west coast and now to the east coast and beyond.
And now we get to play in a museum. How many bands can say they did
that?”

Louis Fowler

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