Located right on the 100 block of Main Street (right on the still-active train tracks), the Main Stage starts off with Norman’s jungle-remixing El Paso Hot Button (11:55 AM), the don’t-worry-it’s-not-actually-a-student-film rockers Student Film (12:50 PM) from Oklahoma City, Los Angeles’ up-and-coming alt-rock The Absolute (1:45 PM), and Stillwater’s indie-folk Sheree Chamberlain (2:45 PM) & indie-pop Other Lives (3:45 PM), who will be coming off the release of their new self-titled record.
4:45 PM – Stardeath and White Dwarfs
Stardeath and White Dwarfs first got notice outside of their Norman home when they opened for hometown heroes The Flaming Lips (QRO live review) – due in no small part to Stardeath lead singer Dennis Coyne being the nephew of Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne. But they’ve built and built since, with a light show to make the Coyne name proud (QRO photos) and bring their strong festival presence (QRO festival photos) back to where they started.
6:00 PM – Man Man
There might not be a wilder band – live (QRO live review) or on record (QRO album review) – than Philadelphia’s Man Man. The self-described ‘Viking-vaudeville’ collective bring a powerful percussion and more, setting up right at the lip of the stage, dressed in tennis whites and war paint, with more instruments than you can throw a stick at. And things only get crazier outside… (QRO photos outdoors)
7:30 PM – Sugar and Gold
On tour with of Montreal (see below), San Francisco’s psychedelic, electro-dance-tastic Sugar and Gold bring that sound outdoors to Middle America, to give everyone a good disco workout.
9:00 PM – Starlight Mints
Norman’s own Starlight Mints bring their indie-pop flavor back home. The band includes Ryan Lindsey, who soloed it up last year at Norman (QRO photos), and Andy Nunez, owner/operator of Norman’s premiere alternative music venue, Opolis – which has a whole stage of its own this year (see below).
10:30 PM – of Montreal
There are few acts that do a live show like of Montreal (QRO live review). Kevin Barnes’ epic orchestra literally fills the stage with a performance more akin to (the actually French Canadian) Cirque du Soleil than indie-rock. The band emerged out of the Elephant Six Collective to reach serious heights, most recently with 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (QRO album review) and last year’s Skeletal Lamping, but they have to be seen live (QRO photos) to be truly believed.
JÄGERMEISTER 2nd STAGE
Norman’s second stage has seen more activity than most main stages, being a one million dollar, custom-built trailer that hydraulically becomes a performance area, like some sort of Transformer that even Michael Bay couldn’t have imagined. Having served as second stage to 2007 Ozzfest and 2008 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, more than just a shot of Jäger comes to Norman, starting with Buzz Radio’s contest winner (11:00 AM) and Norman’s resident Resident Funk (11:45 AM), before going roots-y with Oklahoma’s Camille Harp (12:35 PM), Lake Tahoe’s Blue Turtle Seduction (1:45 PM), Miami’s sacred steel ensemble The Lee Boys (2:40 PM), jazz-man of Norman, Travis Linville (3:40 PM), and Austin’s progressive country pioneer Brandon Jenkins (4:45 PM).
6:00 PM – Billy Joe Shaver
Now almost seventy, Billy Joe Shaver helped invent the ‘outlaw country genre’ back before the sound was New Country-fied. And he’s stayed busy ever since, from surviving an on-stage heart attack to doing an in-store performance right after posting bail for shooting a guy in the face (keepin’ it real, Dick Cheney-style). That includes 2007’s Grammy-nominated Everybody’s Brother and serving as spiritual advisor to fellow outlaw musician Kinky Friedman, in his quixotic run for governor of Texas in 2006 (QRO’s Musicians as Politicians). Oh, and he sings the theme song to Adult Swim’s Squidbillies…
7:30 PM – Todd Snider
Portland, Oregon singer/songwriter Todd Snider adds wry humor to his folk-rock, whether riffing on the nineties Pacific Northwest alt-scene on “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues” or last year’s Peace Queer, which reached #1 on the Americana Airplay Chart.
9:00 PM – Tea Leaf Green
It may not be fair to compare Tea Leaf Green to The Grateful Dead, but other than starting in the nineties and not the sixties (and all still being alive), it’s all there: Came out of the Bay Area? Check. Endlessly touring, festival favorite jam band? Check. A dedicated fan base that record their live shows? Check. The past few years have seen them release a three-CD box set, Seeds, and the new Raise Up the Tent (produced by David Lowery of Cracker – QRO live review – and Camper Van Beethoven – QRO live review).
SOONER THEATRE STAGE
Returning for second year of festival duty is the Sooner Theatre – the first movie theatre in the region to show dem dere ‘talkies’. Starting at 11:00 AM, it stays regional with such diverse acts (on the hour) as indie-freak Ford Chastain, Tulsa’s experimental Here Is There, alternative-contemporary Lemma, blues-jam Galapagos, ‘folk-dirt’ Gabriel Marshall, self-described “Chicago Blues meets the Grim Reaper” Ike Lamb Band, Oklahoma City’s alt-rock Hush Hush Commotion, indie-country Mama Sweet, and, headlining at 7:00 PM, expansive and expanding The Uglysuit (QRO photos).
Owned & operated by Starlight Mints (see above) drummer Andy Nunez, Opolis is the venue every indie band has to hit when heading through Norman, so it’s only fitting that it’s now part of the festival. Beginning at noon (with bands on the hour), Opolis matches Sooner Theatre (see above) with locals like The Gunship, visual Dead Sea Choir and genre-busting friends Gentle Ghost, experimental folk Mayola, neo-sixties Brit-rock Locust Avenue (QRO album review), many-faceted Penny Hill, punk-rock Early Beat, Francophile indie-pop The Separation, and, headlining at 8:00 PM, Tulsa’s indietronic Crocodile.
COACHES BREWHOUSE STAGE
Right on 110 Main Street are more local musicians at Coaches Brewhouse Stage, starting at noon (and running on the hour) Susan Herndon, Richard Daddy Love, Meredith Meyer, Depth and Current, Kristen Stehr, The Workweek, Michael Bendure, John Fullbright, and, headlining at 8:00 PM, the dark road-press of Pretty Black Chains.
DREAMER CONCEPTS STAGE
Down on 324 East Main Street is the more high-minded Dreamer Concepts Stage, beginning at 11:00 AM with Popstar Karaoke for kids, then Bungalouski (noon), Hollywood Homicide (1:00 PM), Lily Guild (1:40 PM), Edgar Cruz (2:30 PM), Glowbeat (3:45 PM), Proprietors of the Earth (5:00 PM, Rainbows Are Free (6:15 PM), and the synth-rock of Dorian Small (7:30 PM), returning to Norman Music Festival for a second year (QRO photos from Norman ’08).
Also at the sprawling Norman Music Festival is the ‘Little Rockers Stage’ for the youngest of festival-goers (and their parents), the dance-performance ‘Sonder Music Stage’, and a reading from Oklahoma Gazette music writer Charles Martin’s debut novel, The Dominant Hand: The Unauthorized Story of Jim Jacobs and the Cult that Saved the World.