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"NY Pizza Gig Shows Signs of Life in Stagnant Campus Corner Music Scene"

- by Danny Marroquin

Saturday I saw two things that were very strange.

The first, and less notable vision, was an episode of Saturday Night Live that was actually funny.

The second thing I saw was a happening. A real happening. Not in the Warhol sense, because the Warhol kids were somewhere else (a private party or at The What Made Milwaukee Famous show).

No this was a happening in the sense that students and Normanites of all sorts were dropping their guard and spazzing out to a band that executed a set that was longer than an hour. And they fogged the windows doing it (or maybe the tight fit generated that heat as well).

Galapagos, a new funk band based out of Trout Ave. and DJ K Reel played to a huge crowd at New York Pizza.

Once a bearded man with a tie kindly wrapped my wrist with a glow bracelet, I decided that there were some real good vibes, man.

That's what Norman music used to be about, I'm told. One of my favorite reporting experiences was listening to Mike Hosty talk about how nervous he was before playing live in Norman in the late eighties. He told me, if you couldn't play all night, you might as well stay home.

Now everything seems to be all about the production. How cool does your promo poster look? How many Myspace invites can we cast out? How long can we make you wait between sets?

From a personal bias, I support stylish rock. I am a whore for The White Stripes, am intrigued by Grizzly Bear and have worshipped at the altar of the Velvet Undergound.

But those studious kinds of bands don't make a music scene. It takes bands, people ready to tirelessly rock Campus Corner, on the sidewalks if they have to.

So people like me aren't supposed to dig bands like Galapagos. But I did because they rocked, and because they brought people to see some music. Jam bands pretty much guarantee a certain audience to come, drink and be merry. Saturday those merrymakers welcomed others. And I guessed that's what I liked best: the diversity.

One collared shirted guy bought round of tequilas for the whole band, which prompted bassist Scott Strandberg to play a little "Tequila" riff on his bass.

Kiel Dehnert's drums were tight and seemed to use the hi-hat smartly while the guitars with Mack Burke on rhythm spun nice little equations that Jerry would enjoy figuring out himself. Adam McFarlane would tie-together 7-10 minute jams (sometimes explosive) with his keyboard. Sometimes the keys tempered the growing energy of the band.

Audiences spilled into the streets with glowsticks and technicolor hats, while the dancing never really stopped inside. When the bandmates hung their guitars for drinks and smokes, the audiences gravitated toward DJ Reel.

With two tables, Reel spun an infectious mix of doo-wop ("One Fine Day") and soul music that had some kicking legs like it was a sock hop.

There's room for this music and much more on Campus Corner. We can even get the art students involved (beyond Cafe Plaid commisiion). We just need to follow the lead of this one show.

Walking Boyd, no one hit me with an SUV, and I didn't hear a Pearl Jam cover. Instead I got artistry. Who would've thought New York Pizza would be the first to open its doors?

With lukewarm clubs changing ownership each year, Campus Corner should take note and start opening its doors to students with some exciting ideas. - Galapagos Concert Review - Oklahoma Daily (4/16/07)


Space Whales EP (2007)
Electric Shaman (2008)



Galapagos was created at the University of Oklahoma in January 2006 as the byproduct of numerous late night jam sessions between students Kiel Dehnert, Mack Burke, Scott Strandberg, and Zane Russell. Over the course of the year that followed, they jammed and jammed some more. Eventually keyboardist Adam McFarlane began to jam as well, and before anyone realized it, he was in the band too.

In January, 2007, two weeks after the five piece became reasonably official, Galapagos appeared in their first public performance, competing for a spot at the Wakarusa Music Festival. They did not win, but that was OK. Let's, they thought, take a break and practice like crazy.

Over the next three and a half months their dedication to music, and multiple, inconvenient wisdom teeth surgeries kept the shows at bay.

Galapagos re-debuted on April 14th, 2007 at New York Pizza. Since then things have been going well for the band, playing like madmen in 35+ packed shows. Practicing and jamming like crazy with aims to improve musically have always been a large part of the band philosophy, so expect them to keep getting better.

Galapagos recently traveled to Glendale, Arizona to play the pregame show for the 2008 Fiesta Bowl. The band finished recording their first studio album, entitled Electric Shaman, at Dirtybird Recording in March, and should be available in early May. They recently won a spot at the 2008 Wakarusa Music Festival and will tour regionally this summer.

Galapagos MySpace