Underground bubbles to surface at Gypsy open mic

Every Tuesday at 7 p.m., The Gypsy coffee shop in downtown Tulsa hosts an open mic night. The Gypsy looks much like one would expect: crowded, subversive, alternative, and unapologetically a downtown coffee house featuring loud rock music. On one of the walls hung an Einstein quote I found suiting to the mood: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world.”
The opening act brought his own beat and some rhymes to match. The coffee shop transformed into underground rap club. While his voice seemed amateur and his music did not quite blow me away, the originality of the performance kept me interested. The quick pace of the music opened nicely for the evening.
Next, the announcer called “Kenny,” who seemed to prefer his electric guitar over his voice; I never once heard him speak before he began. I unquestionably award Kenny with a top review. The rapid, pumping sound told a story that changed tones almost as quickly as it shredded through its notes. It started off with an electric sound like that of classic rock but with a taste of metal. When it slowed I detected a little Jazz in the beat. It went from triumphant to angry to raging, ending with a long ending riff that tied it together. It was raw power. He left as he came: silent.
Robert, a man with a red beanie and acoustic guitar, took the stage next. Robert had all-around skill in his music, but no particular category blew me away. His lyrics were not written to be poetry, but they made great song lyrics; and his music was not astounding, but had a unique sound.
The night’s first band, Cherokee Rose, took the stage next with Kenny making his return. Their music seemed like a soundtrack to an over-the-top action movie. It blared so impossibly loud, I wondered if I were sitting on the speaker itself. However, they were so good. The dueling lead guitarists made me feel like I was eavesdropping on the world’s loudest conversation.
George came next to take me back to the ‘90s. His guitar and voice reminded me of slow Greenday songs like “Good Riddance” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends.” While I found his lyrics hard to hear over his guitar, he sang notes that I found worked seamlessly with his sound. A thoroughly enjoyable performance.
The next man wore jeans and a black cap. He played an unmistakable rock and roll. It sounded like “Rock This Town” by the Stray Cats got hit with the soul train of its roots. His jazzy solos and Big-Bang-Era bass accompanying him made me want to buy an Elvis album and bring the word groove back into common usage. I caught him after his performance to ask him about himself. He simply replied, “I play rock and roll and it makes me happy.” His name is Hector Ultreras, and he plays for a band called The Mules. His performance ranks at the top of the night due to his pure rock and roll.
The first female act, Chelsea Anderson, brought an acoustic ukulele and my favorite voice of the night. Not only did she perform with the largest voice range, complete with trills and melisma, but she exhibited a voice that was made for the ukulele. She had an unmistakable touch of melancholy in her voice that blended with a joyful rhythm. I asked her how long she had been playing. “Only a year,” she replied. “I learned because my friend passed away, and he loved the ukulele.” She said she began practicing on a labeled drawing of ukulele on a piece of paper.
The following act sounded a little heavy for my taste but offered a new sound. It certainly had power in its rhythm, and no small amount of grunge. His voice seemed from the early 2000’s era.
The Gypsy’s open mic night makes for a unique Tuesday night experience. While the acts ranged from mediocre to shockingly good, the underground atmosphere and possible potential of each fledgling artist match the starry-night painted ceiling: unlimited.

Post Author: Brennen Gray

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