Rock Therapy With Blue October

alt(Tulsa, Ok.) – Thursday night, along with the new moon, brought a sold out show to the Cain’s Ballroom with the “Pick Up The Phone Tour”, which featured Hurricane Bells, Stars of Track and Field and DFest alumni Blue October.

I got to the Cain’s a little early and was surprised by the crowd already there. When Hurricane Bells took the stage, I was not expecting it to be a brother-sister duo with just an acoustic guitar, but they really amazed me.  Yes, they sounded like something you would hear in any corner street coffee house, but they had beautiful song arrangements and nice vocals.  I really liked their cover of the Shirelles “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”.  At times, they had a very free-spirited gypsy vibe. (*Side-note* There was a guy in the audience using a heavy duty screwdriver for a camera monopod to video the band. Gotta love Oklahoma). At one point, members from Blue October came out to assist on a couple songs. This part reminded me of something straight out of the hills of Tennessee. All in all, it was a very nice set. Not something I would have imagined being an opener for Blue October, but it was good for a change to not see the same genre of music from all 3 bands. I definitely think Hurricane Bells would have made Simon and Garfunkel proud.

Next up was Stars of Track and Field.  I have never heard of this band and to be honest, the name of the band is just so odd, that I probably would have never given them the chance had I just come across them on Myspace or the internet somewhere. They actually blew me away. Concert goer, Julie Darland said “if Bush and U2 had a baby, it would be this band”. I thought she was spot on with that analogy. The lead singer had really strong vocals and a very mesmerizing stage presence. Julie also brought up how much he looked like K-fed, which was accurate as well. I need to meet up with her at more concerts; she has a good eye for details.  I thought it was odd that they didn’t have a bass player, but you really didn’t miss it listening to them. I did Wikipedia the band, and saw they use to have a bass player but I guess they decided not to replace him. If you are a fan of U2 or Bush, I think you would really dig Stars of Track and Field. They definitely have the talent and the “it” factor to be a headlining band.

As we were waiting for Blue October, the room had turned in to sardine mode. Somehow with all the people coming and going by me, I had been pushed up pretty close to the front of the stage, which was nice. A nervous energy came over me when they took the stage. Then it turned in to instant insanity in the crowd. Everyone was singing along to every word, jumping up and down with fits in the air. Even though this was my first time to see the band (and hear them for that matter), I was joining in as much as I could. It was electric in the air. Justin Furtsenfeld (lead singer) worked the stage like a pro. The“Pick Up The Phone Tour”, has been about bringing awareness and help for those who are experiencing any form of mental illness. It is meant to help those who suffer from depression to suicide and everything in between. There was a representative from “To Write Love On Her Arms”, one of the organizations sponsoring the tour, who spoke for a few minutes during the intermission. They had a booth set up for anyone who needed to talk, regardless if you were needing help yourself or if you were a care-giver of someone else.

Blue October was already on this tour when ironically, Justin had a mental breakdown a few months ago. After his hospitalization, he was able to get the help he needed and resumed the tour on April 7th.  I think it’s great that this band chose to be linked up with a cause like this. Not only are they spreading the seeds of healing and hope, but Justin from the band can relate to others going through similar circumstances, which I think will draw in even more fans for these guys. Justin had mentioned what a roller coaster fan turn outs can be at concerts. I guess they had just gone through a ‘bout of not as many showing up because he went on how appreciative they were with the sold out show and how much it meant to them.


Photos by: Kevin Pyle

Like I said before, this was my first time to see and hear Blue October. The only song I knew was Dirt Room because I had just recently seen the video. But, even though I didn’t have any knowledge of their music, it was every bit entertaining. From the insane light show, to the static energy that radiated throughout the room, to Justin just being the front man he is and working the crowd. And how many rock bands have a violin player? Not too many that I have seen. I was glad to be a part of a show like this. Now I think it’s time to hit i-tunes, because this show definitely made me a fan.