show review

​Red City Radio @ The Agora 4/29/15

Red City Radio laying down some three-part harmony on stage at The Agora in April (Sanchez/2015)
Lisa Sanchez
​Red City Radio, a fun punk four-piece from Oklahoma City, played the Cleveland Agora on April 29 opening for Strung Out. I had the pleasure of speaking with vocalist Garrett Dale and bassist Jojo Knight as they set out on their first week of the Strung Out tour and we discussed the properties of creativity, when to say no to shot-gunning beers, and bonded over living in different "O" states.
Firstly, the gentlemen from Red City Radio are the most down-to-earth and hilarious guys I've had the pleasure to interview. Their deeply personal music reflects their real life personality Knight aptly demonstrates when asked about the impact of Red City Radio's music on their fans.
"We've been lucky in this band to have a lot of support from fans and critics alike. We hope to continue to get that sort of feedback. I feel like if you make something genuine that you're proud of that the rest will sort of take care of itself."
Dale, thankful and reflective stated, "I'm just some asshole from Oklahoma City and to hear passion from somebody like that can catch you off guard and you realize the world is a little bigger than your living room."
The band recently released their third full-length album, Red City Radio, on April 21 and were thrilled at the positive feedback they had received so far. Dale proclaimed Red City Radio was their best work to date and both Knight and Dale agreed the album was deeply personal, which has been the band's modus operandi for much of their previous work, and operates as a reflection of the band's life in real time. Knight said, "Records are always a snapshot of the identity of the band at the time it's recorded." Knight went on to explain the four-piece was fortunate enough to have time to mold the songs on Red City Radio thanks to the band's friend and engineer Kendall Stephens who afforded the band time and a place to rehearse.
Red City Radio's appeal is based on a number of different factors ranging from their infectious melodies, up-tempo beats, and penetrating confessional lyrics. Dale attributes this last attraction to the fact that the members of Red City Radio can't help but be honest in their music.
"A very important thing for us [in Red City Radio] is to play music that we enjoy. We have to be proud of it." The sentiment resonates both in the band's recorded music and in their live appearance. There is never a moment in Red City Radio's set where they're not belting it out and obviously having a good time.
The band's passion doesn't just extend to their own music, it works in many different forms, as Knight explained. "The good thing about music in general is a sense that you share the same sentiments in songs. You have people relate to whatever evocative essence they can. That's the beauty of music."
You know it's about to go down when the Flying-V makes an appearance. (Sanchez/2015)
​Red City Radio don't cite rock legends or cult personalities as the main impetus for their music either. "Our passion to play music we love is the majority of our inspiration to do everything. Honestly, our passion is to celebrate our individualism, have a really great time, and to connect to people with our lyrics," Dale stated. The band is completely unique unto themselves and Knight embodied the sentiment well, saying, "No art form can necessarily derive 'Why we sound this way' or 'this is why my art looks this way'. I think that if you absolutely point out what your direct influence is you're probably not making art. The way to find a sound is by making a lot of it." I'd like to get that on a T-shirt, please.
Of course, it's not all a zealot's journey to acquire the true knowledge of the universe. The fellas in Red City Radio know how to party and they're not afraid to tell you about it. I wondered if the band lived up to their drinking legacy like in "Spinning in Circles is a Gateway Drug" or "We Are the Songs and Daughters of Woodie Guthrie." both of which you should watch as soon as you're done reading this article. Dale confirmed some of the hype, while strategically considering how best not to incriminate himself. "We chill pretty hard," the vocalist laughed, "But we don't have developing problems." Knight interjected, "They're fully developed." He also offered, "Red City Radio knows how to party, but it's not a gimmick. The other night a friend asked if we wanted to shotgun beers and as we all sat around in our pajamas, we all looked at each other and decided we were just ready for bed. There's definitely that side of our band too."
Red City Radio brought the fun to The Agora when they took the stage, playing "Two Out of Three Ain't Rad" and "Electricity" which many people in the crowd sang along to enthusiastically. The band exudes a great amount of energy and puts as much heart into their live performances as their music warrants.
"We're always very excited to play music in whatever city we're in. We expect a lot of sing-alongs...Honestly, if you're able to connect with the lyrics and relate to them then we have something in common. I've heard a lot of the positive effects our music has on human beings. If you've ever felt sad or down and seek out a positive influence, and you choose Red City Radio, I thank you immensely. Keep your heads up brothers and sisters."
After this run with Strung Out is complete, Red City Radio will head overseas to tour Germany starting in July, then head to the UK and eventually embark on their first tour in Spain. The band is looking forward to playing their music and meeting more people. "It's pretty great about everywhere we've been in Europe. To a degree, everybody is extremely accommodating to American bands and pretty much everywhere we go people speak English. At least, better than we speak their language," Knight explained.
Red City Radio will inevitably return to the states and when they do they've encouraged more Ohio music fans to come out and support them. The band relayed a number of positive experiences they've had in Cleveland, including their recent House of Blues show with New Found Glory in November 2014 and their love for Melt Bar and Grilled. Knight encouraged fans by saying, "Come out to our shows when we come by ourselves. Our shows are a ton of fun, but we don't have a lot of luck [attracting large crowds]." Dale went on to qualify, "And we're not talking about the two homeless guys who were fighting outside of Now That's Class!"
"Those guys can continue to come, but they have to bring friends or something," Knight joked.
The band's successful show at The Agora may guarantee a larger reception on their next trip through Cleveland. Show-goer Aaron Baker, 27, said, "This is one of the best shows I've seen. If not the best." Red City Radio's performance and ethos evoke something sentimental while remaining hard-edged and deeply human. They deserve a drink the next time they come through the state. Let's be honest, we "O" state natives have to stick together anyway.