Oso Closo
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Oso Closo


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"Oso Closo: The furthest thing from gangster rap"

It's bands like Oso Closo that define Denton as the independent rock capital of Texas. If you've heard their new album, you're well aware that this band is following in the barefoot steps of other Dentonites who made the transition from "local" to "national" acts. If you haven't heard them, you're thoroughly missing out.

Oso Closo is a close-knit bunch with a knack for creating music that can soothe your savage soul--while intensifying the range of emotional substance within the confines of Generations X and Y's cognitive crosshairs.

Their new album Rest contains atypical lyrics and a laidback beat. It's chock-full of fearlessness and has a remarkable ability to convey those emotional sentiments best contained within journal pages. At this time, they're trucking across the union on their first tour, supporting the CD.

It took Oso Closo two years to record Rest. Why so long?

"We didn't have the time," lead guitarist Chris McQueen explains. "We could only get into the studio about once a month. The hardest part was just getting [the recording] done. Even though it took two years; to us, it doesn't sound like it, because we were unable to nitpick every little thing."

We spent so much time in between trips to the studio," singer/songwriter Adrian Hulet adds. "Whenever there was something I wasn't totally happy with, nine times out of ten--after a month of listening to it in my car--it had grown on me, and that became part of the charm of it."

Throughout the album, Hulet references his parents' concerns. This openness is not too common and is an interesting facet. As Hulet notes, "My parents pastor a church, and there are some references to them and their thoughts on my career choice. Not because they're against it. They're really supportive. But they get concerned about the lifestyle--like road life and what all it entails. My mom and I are real close, and I reference her a couple of times. I think it is a ballsy move, to talk about your mom. The only dudes I know that do that are gangster rappers."

Other Oso Closo members are Lindsey Miller (guitar), Andy Rogers (bass), and Ryan Jacobi (drums). The band returns from their tour later this summer.

If you see the band and run into Adrian, he promises to dance with everyone. As he puts it, "I'm a wild man on the dance floor!"

-Shane Epting - Harder Beat Magazine, September 2007

"Selected Reviews of 'Tommy'"

Oso Close To Perform In Dallas Theater Center's Upcoming "The Who's Tommy" Run

Dallas Observer, Wednesday July 16, 2008
DC9 at Night, The Dallas Observer Music Blog

...this week the DTC announced that the performance [of "Tommy"] will feature Denton-based rock act Oso Closo performing alongside a cast of other actors.

A tall order for the act? Maybe, but I'm leaning toward "great fit" at this point. Head over to Oso Closo's MySpace page, click "The Friendship Song," take a listen and tell me you don't hear arena-sized classic rock aspirations in that song's opening.


Lone Star Sounds
Music Notes From Around Texas

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Pop Music Critic

Quick Hits
Denton quintet Oso Closo has fans in high places. Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty picked the minds behind Rest, one of 2007's finer local records, to appear in The Who's Tommy, the opening salvo of DTC's 50th anniversary season. "I was struck by their unique sound," Moriarty said in a statement...


See it, feel it
DTC surprises with rockin' choice of 'Tommy' for 50th anniversary season

Fort Worth Star-Telegram


...Moriarty also knew that to achieve a true rock 'n' roll spirit, he needed a local rock band, not pick-up musicians.

"If you listen, you can hear the difference from the original Broadway cast recording and the times The Who have played it live in concerts," Moriarty says. "Hearing them do that live, it's like hearing Coltrane doing My Favorite Things or a bravura colatura soprano singing Bellini or something like that. That's the experience we want our audience to have."

He discovered Denton band Oso Closo's 2007 album Rest, caught them in person and made the offer...

...Oso Closo certainly has the chops for such a feat--a quick listen to Rest reveals orchestrated rock music and almost anthemic songwriting. And they cite Queen as an influence. Most of the members were in the University of North Texas' jazz program, but the only experience they had with musicals was playing in the pit with their high school bands for the school musicals.

"We took the original [Who] album and the Broadway [cast recording]," Hulet says, "and Kevin told us the preferred version for each song, or a mix of versions--he molded his general idea. Then our guitar player wrote charts for all these songs. He stayed up late every night doing that.

"It has been a blast so far. I think everybody [in Oso] is a little less timid every day in rehearsal," he adds. "It's fantastic. I'm pretty sure that we've all decided that we're going to write a musical after this."


Oso Closo Frontman Adrian Hulet Talks Pinball Wizards, Playing On A Different Kind Of Stage

Dallas Observer Blog
Friday, August 29, 2008

Six days a week, the Denton-based members of Oso Closo pile into a van for a 50-minute commute to Dallas. Since being hired by the Dallas Theater Center to perform in a production of "The Who's Tommy," the band has spent the majority of its nights and days in Dallas. The rock opera opens Tuesday, September 2, and in these, the final days of preparation, rehearsals have stretched from noon to midnight.

"We've realized that, because of the drive, it works out to a 14-hour day for the band," says Oso Closo frontman Adrian Hulet. "But, honestly, I don't think things could be going better."

"We've never been a theatrical band," he says of the band's role in the musical about a deaf, dumb and blind kid who becomes a pinball wizard and cult hero. "So, this is definitely nothing like we've done before."

He mentions a scene in Tommy that requires Oso Closo guitarists Chris McQueen and Lindsey Miller to jump on top of a huge pinball machine and play solos.

"It's pretty cool, but I don't think that we would have ever had anything like that in our show... Until now."

Typically, stage productions of Tommy feature a traditional pit orchestra, but new artistic director Kevin Moriarty wanted DTC's version to attain a rock sound and aesthetic closer to The Who's original recording.

And, because Moriarty envisioned the band members on stage acting and interacting with the characters, he couldn't hire just any ol' band. He needed the right band with the right personality. Hulet credits Michael League of Snarky Puppy with introducing Moriarty to Oso Closo. Once Moriarty heard the band's debut album, Rest, familiarized himself with what the Observer already called Oso Closo's "operatic sensibilities," and caught a few of their live sets, the band got the job.

Naturally, getting the DTC gig is a major step for the band.

"We have a really fantastic thing going on in Denton," Hulet says. "And we have a lot of people who come out to see us. But, I'm of the mind that until we can really take over Dallas, and get notoriety there, we aren't really going to expand...

"And because we aren't ever going to do the typical things that bands do to promote themselves, we'll always be doing weird stuff," Hulet continues. "Tommy is the first of what we hope to be lots of big--but also unusual--steps, on the way to fame and fortune."

The band leaves on tour after Tommy closes, so, for now, all the money the band will make from Tommy is being reinvested into the band. And, on Monday, September 22, the DTC will host an album re-release party for Oso Closo's re-mixed, re-mastered Rest, which will also include a live DVD filmed at Hailey's.

--Daniel Rodrigue


Harnessing the power of rock

Fort Worth Star-Telegram, September 3, 2008


...The biggest contributor to this "Tommy's" oomph is Denton rock band Oso Closo, playing Pete Townshend's music onstage and being integral to the action...


Oso Closo delivers rock opera

Denton NT Daily, September 5, 2008


Thundering guitar solos aren't typically theater-appropriate--that is, unless it's The Who's 1969 rock opera, "Tommy."

When the Dallas Theater Center contacted Denton's Oso Closo to perform in the theater's 50th anniversary season opener, vocalist and guitarist Chris McQueen said his initial reaction was that "it probably wouldn't work for us.

"We were all a little bit curious to see if we were going to have to play a bunch of cheap synthesizer parts and things that we weren't too much into," McQueen said.

After Oso Closo's manager talked to Kevin Moriarty, artistic director of "Tommy," "it ended up being such an awesome feeling, it was a no-brainer," McQueen said. "It was right on the money as far as being artistically genuine."

Though plans were in order for a fall tour, drummer Ryan Jacobi said, "The 'Tommy' gig came along and it was a very unusual way for us to get our name out to literally thousands of people who had no idea who we were."

Not Your Typical Musical

What appealed to vocalist and pianist Adrian Hulet was the feeling Moriarty wanted in the performance--"a melding of a rock show and a musical."

"It's a mixture of a rock concert and a musical theater production," McQueen said. "Kevin wanted it to feel like a rock concert."

With musical director Lindy Cade's help, they took all the different recordings and versions and picked the points they liked best.

"It was like, 'We want this to have the feel of the live recording, the ending like the record, but the bridge and the chorus from the Broadway version,'" Jacobi said.

Not only is Oso Closo on stage the entire time, versus hiding in an orchestra pit, but with bassist Andy Rogers and guitarist Lindsey Miller, the band becomes a part of the production, provoking characters and comforting Tommy.

"We run around and interact with the characters," McQueen said. "At certain points, we become actual members of the story."

Making it their own

"The production is more 'Oso Closo plays '"Tommy"' instead of 'Dallas Theater does "Tommy" with some band from Denton,'" Jacobi said.

"As this process has been going on, what we've realized is that in general, the music still sounds like Oso Closo," Jacobi said. "We didn't change the music--you can still tell the songs--we just made it our own."

Which leads to the big surprise.

As it turns out, McQueen and Jacobi said no one in the band was a "really big Who fan."

"We are all into classic rock 'n' roll bands and the whole history of rock and roll, but for whatever reason, none of us had really gotten into The Who," McQueen said. "None of us had the dream of playing The Who."

Jacobi's only experience with "Tommy" prior to DTC came from a high school marching band show.

So why didn't the Dallas Theater Center hire a tribute band or a crowd of random musicians to play "Tommy"?

"For whatever reason, they went with us," Jacobi said. "We know how to rock hard and party hard, but we can also write really good charts and show up to rehearsals on time, cliche things rock bands don't really do."

Little by little, Hulet said the songs have naturally become "Oso".

"Basically, it's the craziest thing ever," Hulet said. "I never would have expected to be doing this, but I'm really glad that I am."


See me, hear me

The Dallas Morning News, September 11, 2008

...Oso Closo's music is driven by Mr. Hulet's ebullient and beat-driven piano playing (he's a former drummer for Bryce Avary's The Rocket Summer) and sandpaper-upholstered vocals that fall in the space between John Mayer and Bob Seger. The crisscrossing treble-heavy guitars and spritely, narrative rhythms that frequently venture into odd-metered territory resemble the jazzy whimsy of Queen, E.L.O. and Supertramp, but with a poetic and introspective bent unlike those classic Euro-rock acts.

But Oso Closo's live shows are earthy, escapist affairs that quickly earned DTC creative director Kevin Moriarty's appreciation. He approached the band about "Tommy" late this spring, just after Mr. Hulet and Mr. McQueen had retreated to Indiana to write material for Oso Closo's as-yet-unrecorded second album. That project was put on hold as the band spent most of July and August learning, tweaking and rehearsing "Tommy's" music--specifically, the Who's original 1969 album and Pete Townshend's spiritual motives in writing it.

A remastered version of "Rest", remixed by LA engineer Jason Cupp (Finch, Evanescence, Jimmy Eat World), will be officially released Sept. 22 with a release party after that night's "Tommy" performance. The new disc will be packaged with a DVD of the band's initial CD-release performance at Hailey's in Denton.

After "Tommy's" run ends Sept. 28, the band will embark on a tour of the South and Midwest. Upcoming local dates include opening slots for the Heelers on Oct. 2 at the Boiler Room in Denton and for The Rocket Summer on Oct. 18 at House of Blues; and a headlining gig is set Nov. 8 at Lola's in Fort Worth.

-Mike Daniel


Oso Closo's "Tommy" Rocks Out at DTC

The Turtle Creek News, September 5, 2008

In full rumble Denton's eclectic rock band Oso Closo literally vibrates the set, the seats and the bodies--onstage and off--in the Dallas Theater Center's gritty, grinding--and sometimes exquisitely tender--production of "The Who's Tommy," the Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff rock opera.

...The spirit moving through this show--and holding it together in 90 minutes of high-voltage performance--is a kind of musical muse in the person of oso Closo lead vocalist and keyboardist Adrian Hulet. He appears at the most painful and brutal moments in young Tommy's life as a reflection of the numb boy's deepest yearnings for loving human contact. And when lead guitarist Chris McQueen moves into the action, his amazing wailing riffs take on a narrative force even greater than the moving words of the singers...

...In a word, the show is dynamite. Moriarty and Oso Closo kick it hard with this one. Not to miss...



EdgeDallas.com, September 7, 2008

By Jack Gardner

...The real stars of the show are not the actors, but the band members of "Oso Closo." Besides accompanying the music, they interact with characters onstage, singing and functioning in many ways as a Greek chorus. Oso Closo is one of the more popular Metroplex bands and after seeing them in "Tommy," I understand why. Lead guitarist Chris McQueen is nothing short of amazing. Pete Townshend would be proud. Lindsey Miller, the rhythm and back up guitarist is sexy and hot in her dress and plays the guitar like a demon. Bassist Andy Rogers is adorable, and drummer Ryan Jacobi kept things going at a steady rhythm. Lead vocalist and keyboardist Adrian Hulet acts as the Master of Ceremonies for the whole show...

...Oso Closo is reason enough to go see the show...


Who Knew

Dallas Observer, September 4, 2008

At DTC's "Tommy," Kevin Moriarty presents a package that shakes up the old and reaches out to the new

By Pete Freedman

...But, as should be expected in a show written by legendary rock guitarist Pete Townshend, no aspect of "Tommy" is more compelling than the audible--which brings us to the true stars of the show: Oso Closo. The Denton-based rock quintet's affinity for Townshend-inspired riffs is instantly recognizable on the band's debut full-length CD release, 2007's "Rest," which the band is smartly remixing and re-releasing in conjunction with its performance as the in-house orchestra at this show... - Various Sources

"Oso Closo: 'Poetic'"

Oso Closo proves that everything really is bigger in Texas. Their lush string arrangements and massive guitar solos are almost as big as burly front man Adrian Hulet's beard. Hulet's soulful vocals and piano are assisted by four alums of the renowned University of North Texas jazz program. The jazz tendencies allow a freedom and spontaneity that one wouldn't expect from a typical rock band.

On their debut album, Rest, the band makes even the most complicated songs sound easy. The technicality of 7/8 time signatures ("Reverend") and lightning-fast guitar arpeggiations ("The Friendship Song") flow effortlessly when played by a group of such talented, degreed musicians.

As for "Poetic," the sludgy, four-on-the-floor verses explode into dueling guitar solos and string accompaniment. They are able to tastefully meld the piano singer-songwriter and indie-rock string section with face-melting Guitar Hero extravagance. - NPR's Open Mic, August 6, 2007


Jazz and smart rock are more closely aligned than normally thought, according to Denton quintet oso closo’s tuneage.


When Adrian Hulet, the singer, pianist, and songwriter for the arty soul outfit oso closo, moved from Grapevine to Denton in 2001 to attend the University of North Texas, he thought he had exorcised his live-band demons forever: Right after high-school graduation, this veteran drummer and backup singer in emo-inspired bands went with friends on a mindless tour of divey clubs straight through the middle of the States and into Canada — and then u-turned right back to Grapevine.

“We were on the road for what felt like months,” he recalled. “We partied our faces off. We didn’t make a dime. It was stupid. By the time I got home, I was sick to death of traveling and playing. So I decided I’d major in business.”

But Hulet hadn’t completely sated his desire to rawk. He rented a ramshackle house in a rural area just north of the UNT campus and roomed with some music-studies majors. Trying to comprehend corporate marketing strategies took a backseat to lengthy jams in the living room. Soon Hulet was snoozing through day classes to recover from all-night jam sessions. He became fast friends with guitarist and Austin native Chris McQueen, who had immersed himself so thoroughly in UNT’s vaunted jazz program’s theory-intensive studies that he’d earned a top spot in the One O’Clock Lab Band as well as a formidable reputation among his peers.

Hulet and McQueen discovered that they were usually on the same page, creatively speaking, though they were an unlikely pair on paper: McQueen the school-trained jazz prodigy and Hulet the self-taught lover of multi-instrumental art-rock groups like Genesis and, oddly enough, Queen. The two guys began writing songs together in 2003, bringing each other scraps of tunes that needed a bridge here or a chorus there. By that time, Hulet had traded the skins for the ivories. The memory of piano lessons in grade school helped him master the piano in college. The instrument, he said, “is the best ever invented and one of the easiest to learn,” though Hulet doesn’t claim to be a great player. “I’ve learned to fake it,” he said. “And surrounding myself with top-notch musicians makes that easier.”

Hulet and McQueen became the Fagen-and-Becker nucleus around which oso closo formed. The band is rounded out by fellow UNT jazz majors Lindsey Miller on rhythm guitar, Andy Rogers on bass, and Ryan Jacobi on drums.

He and McQueen “spent a lot of time thinking about what a rock band could be,” Hulet said. “It was all about communication, between the players and the audience and between the players. [McQueen] and all these people have the theory and performance chops, and I sort of put simple, pop boundaries around them.”

Hulet does that with a thriller of a husky, R&B-ish contralto, which he also acquired outside the classroom. He’d always had a good ear for harmonies and spent hours in his bedroom and the car singing along to tunes by Otis Redding and Al Green. He’d mimic every slur, trill, and repetition and start a song over again until he got them all right.

Oso closo released its debut album Rest earlier this year. A collection of symphonic story-songs, the album is distinguished by Hulet’s throaty crooning, McQueen’s slashing, virtuosic fretwork, and lush background strings, elevating Rest to a more mature realm than your average twentysomething musos normally attain. That, as it turns out, has landed oso closo in a kind of no-man’s land of the local scene. They’ve drawn crowds at the Denton clubs for the last couple of years, but Fort Worth remains a bit more elusive.

“Right now, one of our main goals is to establish a presence in Fort Worth and Dallas,” Hulet said. “But I have this theory that people [in their early 20s] have just come out of their live-club phase and are thinking about college or careers.”

“Our sound seems to appeal to people a little older than us, the Gen Xers,” he continued. “And now they have careers and are married and maybe have a couple of kids. They have to get a babysitter to come and see us on weekends. We’re out there looking for our audience.”

Hulet and McQueen are busy writing songs for oso closo’s next CD. They’re shopping Rest around to national indie labels and also hope to launch a small national tour early next year. Every step forward takes a little more time, since many of the members of oso closo are also involved with side projects. (Hulet recently played drums for about a month’s worth of gigs for Universal Records artist and fellow Grapeviner Bryce Avary, a.k.a The Rocket Summer. The two have been friends since high school.) From his vantage point, Hulet hopes oso closo can move toward a more accessible, soul-inspired sound without losing its jazz theory underpinnings. He, for one, isn’t afraid of

the word “pop.”

He and McQueen talk about pop “all the time,” he said. “The jazz program [at UNT] is very intense. But we’ve found that musicians at the highest levels have gone through their ‘jazz is the only important music in the world’ phase and come out the other end. They don’t turn their nose up at country or hip-hop or R&B or anything. They realize every genre has its own culture and history, and they appreciate them all.”

-Jimmy Fowler

- Fort Worth Weekly, December 5, 2007

"Race to the Finish"


Today's musical zeitgeist loves to categorize bands by pigeonholing--sorting by genre, subgenre, qualified by sub-subgenre, tweaked by further hair-splitting that reduces a group's identity to an abstraction. With Oso Closo, a disarmingly talented band in the throes of finishing their debut release, this kind of geekish analysis is futile. How do you characterize a band so at odds with both the mainstream and the indie/alt worlds? Fusing self-conscious grandiosity with virtuosity, R&B-informed vocals, nerd rock angst and the lumbering aesthetics of late classic rock, Oso Closo is something new, genre-inclusive enough to define and flagship its own genre. With ambiguous echoes of everyone from Harry Nilsson to 10cc, Johnny Gill to Queen, Procol Harum to Luther Vandross, the band has already established a proprietary musicscape.

I've always been stirred up musically by anything that feels powerful," vocalist, pianist and songwriter Adrian Hulet acknowledges. "I'm definitely a 'feel' guy; I'm really into big and grandiose...things that just hit me in the chest." Hulet and guitarist/songwriter Chris McQueen formed the band two years ago, drawn together at informal jam sessions while attending the University of North Texas. McQueen was a jazzer, but beginning to suspect that playing in a rock band wasn't as low-brow as he'd previously surmised. The two discovered a shared appreciation of Weezer and Queen, and were soon playing Hulet's freshly-minted songs, laying the groundwork for a band. Enlisting other committed UNT players--Andy Rogers on bass, drummer Ryan Jacobi and guitarist Lindsey Miller, Oso Closo was born. Since those early days, the band's following has build at a precipitous clip thanks to regular gigs, a heavily-hit myspace presence, and rabid word-of-mouth advocacy from the converted. The only missing piece seems to be the debut CD, Rest, delayed only by some final mixing, mastering and finished artwork.

Rest is a surprisingly mature work, highlighting Oso's individual players, Adrian Hulet and Chris McQueen's ambitious tunesmithing, and engineer Ben Hulet's grasp of the big sound. Adrian's impassioned singing takes center stage. Similarly, McQueen's lyrical soloing is revelatory, elucidating chord changes that would daunt most of the guitarslingers in the neighborhood. While he cites an affection for the work of Queen's Brian May, the Eagles, Boston, George Harrison and others, his influence's don't stop at the fretboard. "In a weird way what I'm trying to do comes from [pianist] Keith Jarrett," he admits. "I'm going for a linear melodic thing, weaving and using motifs, but also developing consistently." Even with his prodigious chops, McQueen strives to play "as few notes a necessary," avoiding philistine flash in lieu of well-considered musical mots justes. The tunes of Rest run the stylistic gamut from dramatic bombast (A Song for the Morning) to fusion-oid pop (The Friendship Song) to the circus-esque, lurching waltz of Sheila, one of the set's highlights; each of these is embellished with swoopingly astute string arrangements that would do George Martin proud. As a lyricist, Hulet aims toward the universal, explaining, "I like writing about a personal experience, but making it wide enough that after someone listens to the song 20 times they might say, 'hey, you know what? I'm totally going through the exact same thing.' Our hope," he adds, "is to open peoples' ears." They will.

By Steve Carter - Modern Luxury Dallas, April 2007

"Bryce Avary (the Rocket Summer)"

A band that I feel everyone should and probably will know soon is a band from Dallas, Texas called OSO CLOSO… They're a very original rock band with insanely good musicians. Take intelligent songwriting; flavor it with soulful vocals; lots of rock; incredible guitar playing; and a little bit of Queen/Over the Rhine/Radiohead influence and you have Oso Closo. I'm slightly biased because the singer/pianist and I grew up together, and it doesn't hurt that he has a song about our friendship... - Alternative Press, April 2007

"Oso Closo CD Release Party"

Friday, April 27, at Hailey's, Denton

Modern rock is plagued by many problems, and two of them rovolve around the issue of earnestness. Often musicians suffer from one of two sides of the same problem: Either they, in all their "coolness" and allegiance to all that is affected, worship at the altar of irony with such devotion their work proves completely devoid of emotion; or, their emo predilections take over what might ordinarily be a perfectly clever, useful tune and turn it into a quagmire of over-wrought, you know, feelings.

Either way, rock used to be fun. Remember when Queen blended blazing guitar work with an emotional bombast that was so genuine, yet so finely wrought, that it soared like a screaming eagle of rock? Or when Guns 'n Roses wrote that ridiculous opus, "November Rain," with its piano interludes and kick-ass, long-ass guitar solo, nonsensical lyrics and really weird choir vocals--a song that worked because GNR didn't give a shit what crazy cocktail they were concocting. They were just feelin' it.

It is within this context of fun rock celebration that Denton's Oso Closo chooses to compose its grandiose, ambitious songs, collected on the group's new CD, Rest, to be debuted at this show. Think high-concept metal guitars, less shredded than thoughtfully executed, plus operatic sensibilities and poppy, zippy strings. Some of it works, some of it doesn't, but the beauty is Oso Closo doesn't give a shit either, at least not about the conventions of modern music. They clearly do give a shit about their music, however, and they ain't afraid to show it. -Jonanna Widner - Dallas Observer, April 27, 2007

"Taking on 'Tommy'"

Oso Closo's presence tapped to tell story of rock's patron saint

By Lucinda Breeding
Features Editor

How do you take on a legendary band like The Who without losing face, not to mention credibility?

The members of the Denton-based five-piece Oso Closo--Adrian Hulet on piano and vocals, Ryan Jacobi on drums, Lindsey Miller and Chris McQueen on guitar, and Andy Rogers on bass--said you do it really carefully, and with a lot of collaboration. Some chutzpah doesn't hurt, either.

The local band got picked up by the Dallas Theatre Center to supply the air-rending power chords of The Who's "Tommy," the world's first rock opera. The Dallas company approached the opera as the maiden voyage of its brand new artistic director, Kevin Moriarty. When the theater company decided that, yes, it would try the rock opera, it was walking on land that had been plowed over and over. The opera was made into a film starring Ann Margaret, it was staged a s a ballet and reinterpreted on Broadway. This is after The Who recorded the album and played the whole opera at Woodstock.

Moriarty didn't want to steal from any of his sources, an order that meant a lot of sweat on the brows of Oso Closo musicians.

McQueen said a friend from the Denton scene called him and tipped him off to Dallas Theatre Center's search for a rock band.

"He said Dallas Theatre Center needed a band, a group of musicians who could read music," McQueen said. "Our manager checked it out and said 'This is what we're doing and it's going to be the coolest.'"

Moriarty doesn't have a problem defending his decision to skip a fuller pit orchestra in favor of the five local musicians.

"Tommy was created in 1969 as the first rock opera, first with a record album," Moriarty said. "When The Who launched a concert tour, they'd perform the whole thing, just on stage. No characters, nothing. Just playing it onstage. So 'Tommy' has a history and lived most fully as a rock concert. I wanted to capture the youthfulness, the energy and the raw power of 'Tommy'".

Moriarty said he knew he wanted a rock band.

"When I moved to Dallas and decided to do 'Tommy,' I said I had to find a great rock 'n' roll band, and they need to have a contemporary voice all their own. I wanted to capture it in its freshness."

He found out that Denton was home to a thriving music scene, and Oso Closo was referred to him.

"I downloaded their CD from myspace.com, and I was like 'they are perfect.' Then, I went to see them at Andy's. They had great stage presence," he said. "For one thing, they are a loud, aggressive rock band who can really go to an intense, crazy place that will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. They have a huge attack and their songs are amazingly, technically wonderful. Their guitarist is one of the best guitarists I've heard in a long time."

Oso Closo has been playing for four years and has a jam-packed CD, 'Rest', which was released last year.

"This is something we take seriously," said lead singer Adrian Hulet. "This is definitely a career band. Basically, I wouldn't be in a band for four years that I wouldn't be in 30 years."

The band worked with director Moriarty and musical director Lindy Heath Cabe to make the music fresh.

"We're using the best of The Who's music as a quartet, the Broadway version and the movie version," said drummer and University of North Texas graduate Ryan Jacobi. "They are all quite different, and we basically took the best from all of those and put it together, but we made it our own. We're playing this the way we'd cover it."

McQueen said the goal was to recreate the opera in collaboration with the Dallas Theatre Center's directorial team, not to revive the Broadway version.

"To me, what Oso Closo is doing is a lot like an artist interpreting something by Shakespeare. Having their voice at the center of this thing has been really, really great," Moriarty said.

Miller said the album means to tell the story of Tommy, but leaves some holes.

"Chris has done some writing to cover some of that," she said. "Like in the murder scene, he's written some original music that fills in some of what wasn't there in the score, but if you listen to it, it sounds like it belongs. That's something they've done to make everything come together. I think the band giving this a fresh perspective musically might bring in some new people."

The band appears on stage with the multi-cultural cast. They are in costume, and they intentionally interact with the performers during the opera. They play from memory, not from the charts they wrote.

"It's cool to see one little idea go through the creative process and become this complete visual thing," Hulet said. "We sort of tell the story of blind, deaf and dumb Tommy, but then he has this awakening and we celebrate with him, musically."

Moriarty said he's glad he decided not to hide the band in a pit or off stage.

"What I think is so great about this is the live-rock feel," he said. "In some musicals, the music is in the background. The story helps make sense of the music and usually it's the other way around, the music helps make sense of the story."

Jacobi said the band gets to play around with the music on stage, improvising here and there, and playing what the moment calls for.

"You follow the rules, but you play around within them," he said.

The band members said the rock opera had more influence on their live performance than they could imagine.

"I think it's definitely had an impact on what we do as a band," McQueen said. "Whenever we did our live show, we used strings. Our motto was 'bigger is better.' In addition to wanting to dress and look better when we do a gig, we're also learning to a make a show, you know? We're not just being about playing. We want to entertain, too. This has taught us a lot about that." - Denton Time (Cover Story), September 4, 2008

"Oso close to perfect"

Oso close to perfect
Denton’s finest show no signs of slumping
by Cody Daigle

‘Today is Beauty’s Birthday’

Available for purchase online at www.osocloso.com

Today is Beauty’s Birthday is the second album for the Denton-based rock outfit, a follow-up to their debut recording, Rest. And the band overcomes all of the fears and anxieties of the sophomore slump, delivering an album that not only makes good on the promises of Rest, but reveals just how expansive and far-reaching these talented musicians can become.

Oso Closo’s debut album introduced us to a band that could deliver a solidly constructed rock song while adding a touch of the theatrical. The songs on Rest were simultaneously satisfying as head-bobbing, fist-pumping rockers and as elegantly built musical portraits in miniature, one-act plays with grinding guitar solos.

Today is Beauty’s Birthday expands upon that notion in a way that almost blows it apart. While Rest was a collection of one-acts, Beauty is a marathon of mini-operas, effusive and joyous, complicated and soaring, lush and unforgettable.

After the elegant overture that is the album’s title track, the rock ‘n’ roll kicks off with Anywhere You Want To, a confident statement of the band’s ambition. The tune is explosively playful, toying with tempo, generously peppering the vocals with smart harmonies, and featuring a killer solo by lead guitarist Chris McQueen. (And they’re always killer. McQueen is an amazing musican.) Top it off with lead singer Adrien Hulet’s bluesy vocals and plaintive lyrics, and you’ve got a love song that actually feels like love: unashamed, demonstrative, unbounded, ecstatic.

Unbounded is maybe the best way to describe this album, as the band winds its way through track after track of musically adventurous territory. Weekend Song is as wild and raucous as a frat party. Back is Broken is a straightforward track as smart and tuneful as any modern rock song today. Photograph is both angry and accepting, moody and consoling. Straight Out the Gate is a ferocious growl of a rock tune with a lovely interlude that’s one of the album’s sweetest moments.

Oso Closo takes conventions and upends them, meets expectations and exceeds them, works a musical idea in a myriad of unexpected ways in pursuit of that perfect balance of accessibility and artfulness.

And they rock. Like, seriously rock.

And it’s that balance that makes them an irresistible band. There’s a touch of the epic in every Oso Closo song, a tendency for melodies to push at the edges of each song, to leap and soar, for tight harmonies to spring up unexpectedly, for lyrics to find the heartbreaking truth in the small and everyday. But there’s also the rebellious spirit of a bunch of guys in love with songs that kick ass.

Bring those two things together, and you have Oso Closo. If Today is Beauty’s Birthday is any indication of what’s to come from this Texas quintet, the future is as wide open as the sky, and it’s a future filled with face-melting, soul wringing rock songs.

Which isn’t a terrible future at all.
- The Times of Acadiana, October 2009

"Album review: Oso Closo’s Today is Beauty’s Birthday"

Album review: Oso Closo’s Today is Beauty’s Birthday

After releasing and touring on the rave reviews of their 2007 debut effort, Rest, Oso Closo is back for round two with their highly anticipated sophomore effort, Today is Beauty's Birthday, and it seems with each round these seasoned, North Texas, independent heavyweights get even stronger.

As the story goes, frontman Adrian Hulet and lead guitarist Chris McQueen left the confines of North Texas for a week long sabbatical at the isolated Caddo Lake so they could pen and arrange the songs for the upcoming album. Upon returning, the quintet hit the studio with a solid conceptual idea for a "complete piece of music," as Hulet would say. If you add in the involvement of producer Jason Cupp, a very interesting marketing strategy coupled with a very tasty morsel of an entrepreneurial idea, you might start to think that Rest could be swallowed up by beautiful history.

The album begins with the title track, "Today is Beauty's Birthday," seemingly a three-minute overture (or an arranged prelude to what the listener might hear at various points on the rest of the album) complete with piano, string sections, and woodwinds in "true blue" movie score fashion. Once your "Fantasia" deja vu sets in, the band hits you with the next three tracks, "Anywhere You Want To," "Straight Out the Gate," and "Weekend Song," pulling you away from images of Mickey and his wizard hat only to throw you headfirst into a rocking face-plant right on the front steps of Ridgemont High. Indeed, "Weekend Song" could easily have been the track you hear during the opening credit montage of the highly popular 1982 film with its carefree lead vocals, nostalgic harmony arrangements, and Chris McQueen wailing his own vision of where the classic tone of Brian May could be taken.

But the beauty of Oso Closo is in their ability to completely get you worked up only to bring you back down to earth without you noticing. The irony here is that their "earth" does its best to make you feel like you're floating in outer space. These moments are heard in "Magnolia," "Just Tonight," and "Le Desir du Nuage," with Hulet's pleasantly raw vibrato paying homage to the soul, classic rhythm and blues, and gospel hymns by which he is noticeably influenced.

This brings me to the two real gems of the album, "Back is Broken" and "What Do You See?," which, funny enough, happen to be the last two tracks of the album respectively. "Back is Broken" is one of those tunes that immediately catches your ear as it begins with funktastic guitar licks and Hulet's Adam Duritz-esque vocal melodies over a nice tight beat compliments of the always solid, Ryan Jacobi. It then moves into a more aggressive build-up to the crescendo only to culminate into one of the most notable solos on the album compliments of Mr. Shawn Martin and his insane Moog. It might literally melt your ear. As for "What Do You See?," just as you start wondering if it's a cover song you're too busy swaying with it to really care. This track is a perfect example of Oso Closo's propensity to lay back and ride a tasty wave all the way into your hips and take you for a smooth ride. It's also where Hulet shines brightest as it is the most soul-influenced track on the album.

Where some bands never get over (or even make it past) the proverbial "sophomore slump" in terms of releasing full-length albums, Oso Closo seems to be doing the exact opposite. This effort is a testament to what independent bands can accomplish if they have the vision, the talent, and the drive to make it happen. There should be good things on the horizon for this outfit.

Today is Beauty's Birthday is set to release Friday, September 4th at Hailey's in Denton, which is also the beginning of the band's tour in support of the album. - Pegasus News


"Rest" CD/DVD 2007/2008 Re-release
-Features 10 original songs and a live concert DVD

"Today is Beauty's Birthday" CD 2009
-Produced by Jason Cupp (The Elected, Finch, Val Emmich, Jimmy Eat World)



WINNERS of the My Chipotle Burrito Contest (more at www.mychipotle.com)

"Very theatrical....arena-sized classic rock aspirations." -Dallas Observer

"…insanely good musicians…intelligent songwriting…soulful vocals…incredible guitar playing…” -Bryce Avary (The Rocket Summer)

"One of the best bands to come out of Dallas." -Jim Heath aka The Rev. Horton Heat

Videos and more at www.osocloso.com