Food Dude: Tuesdays aren't what they used to be in the 405 (and that's a good thing)
While the whole of the 405 appeared to be taking sides on whether the state’s new logo and rebranding effort was cool or not yesterday, I was still thinking about the relentlessly cool Tuesday night I'd spent in Oklahoma City.
With tickets to see The New Pornographers at the Tower Theatre in hand, we headed for Uptown with reservations at The Drake for dinner. Turns out, The Drake has a brand-new $39 prixe fixe menu that happened to fit our evening like a glove. For that price, choose an appetizer, entree and dessert. There are some upgrade options, too.
Lori ordered Dips Deluxe, a Lobster Roll and Lemon Cloud Pie, I chose Kung Pao Calamari, Blackened Redfish and a slice of Lemon Cloud Pie of my own.
For drinks, an Old Fashioned for me and a French Bleu 75 for Lori. Spot-on from Jason Ewald’s crew, and the food was without flaw. The prixe fixe was a nice unforeseen savings.
If you haven’t tried the Kung Pao Calamari, I recommend you do it at your earliest convenience. Blackened Redfish is not only ideal for Mardi Gras and served with Dirty Rice and greens, but it's one of those boldly flavored dishes that's actually good for you. The Lemon Cloud Pie is the same dream it’s always been. It’s down-home, church potluck simplicity plays regally on a platform of Biscoff crust and beneath a fresh cream ceiling.
Diane Coffee delivered an explosive, weird and ultimately captivating performance. Diane Coffee is the brainchild of frontman Shaun Fleming, who comes off like a cross between Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day and Jeff Pickles as portrayed by Jim Carrey on Showtime’s “Kidding.”
The live outfit was made up of a group of nerd-rockers in tuxedos to balance the bombastic Fleming, who is the first lead-act I’ve ever seen do a wardrobe change.
The show was a collision of theater and punk rock in spirit, but the music is far more refined and ambitious than punk’s standard three chords and a cloud of snot. When he’s not filling the stage with Diane Coffee, Fleming is drummer for the retro-influenced Foxygen. He comes from a background of modern, experimental music steeped in the aesthetics of rock’s early pioneers.
Call it what you want, but it makes for a helluva stage show.
The New Pornographers gave their first-ever performance in Oklahoma City. They sounded great, but made it clear from the start they didn’t want to be looking at a bunch of faceless cameras from the audience.
Fine with me, (but I did sneak one pic to include with this post!). I can’t stand audiences that spend the entire show with a screen between them and the performance.
The New Pornographers are veterans from Canada with eight albums in their catalog, mixing their singer-songwriting tendencies with the power-pop sound that was selling records when they formed back in the late 1990s. The result is driving melodies that blossom into a poppy field of musical sensibilities. That the group has found relevance through eight albums is testament to its talent and tenacity.
The only sour note was the omission of “Letter from an Occupant” as their closing song, which it had been up to Tuesday night according to setlist.fm.
Still, considering that when The New Pornographers recorded that song the Tower Theatre was in a decades long coma nowhere near its end and The Drake space was a great place for buying a used office desk, it was a pretty nice little Tuesday.
And a good reminder that "rebranding" is terminology, and terminology is empty without experiences lived, documented and shared. Focus there, and an authentic, organic brand will take root and grow.