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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Musical styles mesh for mini festival

    Rebecca Marie Sasnett

    Saxophonist Jeff Grubic, violinist Sasha Tolstoshev, guitarist and singer O Ryne Warner and bassist Ryen Eggleston, all members of OHIOAN, practice their new song “Bad Altitude” in their studio on Thursday evening. OHIOAN and five other bands will come together for a concert under the stars on Saturday at Cowtown Keeylocko’s working ranch.

    An avant-garde creation of music will take place on Saturday night at Cowtown Keeylocko’s working ranch. Six bands will play as guests enjoy a campout under the stars.

    Saturday night’s “Lightning Strike: Keeylocko” sounds vary from folk music, cumbia dance and electronic rock with bands OHIOAN, Vox Urbana, Katterwaul, Halyconaire, Burning Palms and Algae & Tentacles. This will be the third local event in a series hosted by Lightning Records, a label created to be less a means of distribution and more a way of bringing people together through music and place with unique experiences.

    When musician and artist Seth Olinsky co-founded Lightning Records, he had a vision of bridging art and music in an innovative experience.

    “People love to say that the music industry is changing, but in reality, music is the tip of the iceberg,” Olinsky writes on his Kickstarter artist series page. “The whole landscape is transforming underfoot, momentary glimpses lit by lightning and we look to be part of that change. We envision a coming together of worlds that is naturalistic and poetic and rock ‘n’ roll.”

    This weekend’s desert event coincides with OHIOAN’s album release this month through Lightning Records. The respective lead organizers of each band, Ryne Warner and John Melillo, both said this weekend welcomes all to enjoy connecting through the music at the historical ranch’s wooden saloon — complete with sawdust floors, cows and horses.

    “We’re both really interested in providing new contexts for listening to music,” said Melillo, guitarist and vocalist for Algae & Tentacles and an English professor at the UA. “We want to bring together the music and the place in a special way. It’s just about creating the conditions for a party, for your own fun, a different kind of fun because it’s a space that’s outside of what you’d usually expect.”

    A place outside of expectations is exactly what Ed Keeylocko created when he built his “Old West” dream by hand in the form of a unique Western town at the base of the Coyote Mountains.

    “ [Keeylocko] found the options presented to him unviable and thus made up his own,” Warner said. “I look at Ed and his ranch and his dream made real and him saying ‘to hell with his, I got a better idea’ and that gives me hope, gives me a freedom, or a reminder of the freedom that is inherent in all of us.”
    There is no one set headliner of the night — rather, the bands will bring their different sounds together to connect listeners with music in the open desert air at Cowtown Keeylocko. Warner said he believes it will be a night to escape certain societal constraints that can bog down artistic expression.

    “Sometimes, it is the biggest help, when the pursuit seems pointless … to come across someone like Ed Keeylocko, and remember that even though the road is your own, you’re not alone,” Warner said.

    Musicians will play late into the night, and welcome others to join them in bringing tents to the rodeo arena for a campout. Chili, hot dogs and drinks at the bar will be available. After the sun rises, progressive band The Myrrors will open up the morning and coffee and breakfast burritos will be for sale.

    “Music performs us in a way,” Melillo said. “Creating the context in which we can be performed by music is important — rather than merely consuming it but to perform, and be performed by it, whether we’re makers or listeners.”

    The mini music festival starts with a barbecue at 4 p.m. Saturday and bands begin performing at 6 p.m. The event costs $8, which directly supports the musicians. Cowtown Keeylocko is located 40 miles southwest of Tucson in Three Points.

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