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Return of Railfest set for Saturday

Saturday's resurrection of a local music tradition returns with Return of Railfest: Grind For The Grid. The afternoon-into-evening festival will feature the best of the local heavy hitters from the legendary heavy metal/rock and roll club, 909 S. Sheridan. Anthony Vallario, co-coordinator, and Backwash's Los Viseppo and Josh Katvala joined the columnist and DJ Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, for this week's edition of "Today's Best Soundemonium!" to talk about the ambitious endeavor for the first show to be recorded outside the usual confines. This week we met up early at the Railhead to discuss Saturday's event. 

Beginning at 3 p.m. the lineup includes (in this order): Curbside, Sunlander, Southern Aggression, Deadcore, Backwash, Southern Heretics and Paid in Spades to close out the show. There may be some special surprises interspersed throughout. Doors open at 2 p.m. and no cover for the 21-and-older festival. 

Featured with the music will be a dunk tank which allows you opportunity to dunk your favorite band members as well as members of the 580 RollerGirls. Even though the temperature is forecast to max out at 54 degrees, Viseppo said the dunk tank will be a go. Money raised from the dunk tank will benefit Lawton Family Promise. Hunger will be sated with delicious pulled pork provided by Clint and Robert Taylor Kennedy. 

Along with being a fundraising celebration of local live music, this event has an edge. The festival is the opening salvo in an ongoing "battle of the bands" between now and Halloween, Vallario said. The audience will fill out cards that rate the bands to help set up a bracket system. Bands will call each other out to perform with caveats. He said an example will be a May show featuring and art show and the Acoustic Yardsale  participants will be challenged to perform acoustically. Other nights will feature other variables such as bassists and drummers swapping bands for the show, etc. Elite Tattoo is the main sponsor for the battle portion of the ongoing event. It culminates with the club's always memorable Halloween show. 

"The pageantry will be along the lines of pro wrestling," Vallario said. 

It's a novel way to resurrect the always popular event. Viseppo said it's been since 2012 when the last Railfest happened following eight years of continuity. For years the event was held to raise money to upgrade the stage and PA system at the club and the last fest was to benefit club owner Miss Kay Dees when she was battling cancer. A stalwart supporter of live music, it was fitting the musicians and fans gave back to the beloved matron. 

"It's funny that we started this to raise money for the scene," Viseppo said, "and through the years it's turned into a charity event."

Katvala will be pulling double duty for the show; he plays bass for Backwash and is one of the co-vocalists for perennial powerhouse Deadcore. With a heavy dose of the long-time favorite local metal heavyweights on the bill, new band Curbside's opening set carries on a tradition.

"We always try to start with someone that's new," Viseppo said. "Curbside is a young band and it's their turn."

Make Saturday your turn to find out why the Railhead and Lawton is considered a premiere place for national heavy metal and rock acts making on their way to the big time. It's also a fun way to help give back to the local community. 

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MacArthur High School's Kourtney Smith had a week of "American Idol" highs and lows  she was selected to be one of the 50 singers who went to Hollywood. She was cut once the number of singers was reduced to 24 but she's not losing sight of how far she's come. Check out her standout moment in the week before's group performance

She's going places, that's for sure.

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Saturday night will also be a creature feature double-header in Oklahoma City when the bands who put the "rock" into rockabilly take the Tower Theatre stage. The Rev. Horton Heat and opening act Unknown Hinson will be making a stop at the legendary theatre for what should be a real treat.

I wrote about Unknown Hinson last year and if you haven't discovered his expansive discography, now's the time to do it. You may know Hinson as the voice of Early Cuyler from Cartoon Network's "Squidbillies." He's also got the old school country bona fides of a rare treasure and is a lot more than a funny voice and irreverent attitude. Sure, he's all that but he's also one of the meanest guitar players you'll ever hear. Texas' Rev. Horton Heat has played Oklahoma stage smore often than homegrown bands since the 1980s. Merging rambunctious rock and roll with metal and country, the Rev. is an act you should catch live at least once. Here's a little taste: nRev. Horton Heat  "Let Me Teach You How To Eat"

I'll have highlights from the show in next week's column. 

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Tickiets are on sale for this year's heavy metal/hard rock feast with acts ranging from the 1980s to now  Rocklahoma 2018. Three days and nights of loud live music in northeast Oklahoma on Memorial Day Weekend May 25-27, has a little bit of something for everybody. You'll get an earful with feature sets from (but not only):

• May 25  Dead Horse Trauma, Everybody Panic!, The Used, Yelawolf, Trivium, Sevendust, Stone Temple Pilots, The Cult and A Perfect Circle.

• May 26  Powerman 5000, Butcher Babies, Diamond Head, Underoath, Clutch, Vince Neil, Ghost and Godsmack.

• May 28  Lynch Mob, Andrew W.K., Machine Gun Kelly, Candlebox, Cinderella's Tom Keifer, Halestorm, Cheap Trick and Poison.

There are a ton more acts throughout the weekend. Single day general admission starts at $80 and weekend general admission starts at $129. There are a lot of packages, including VIP packages starting at $695 per person. There's camping on site at the Pryor Campground. Visit for more info or to purchase tickets. 

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More bands have been announced for the upcoming Norman Music Festival 2018. The annual free festival that spreads live music in all its forms from stages throughout downtown Norman is scheduled for April 26-28. Free to the public and inviting of an all-ages audience, several main stage acts are lined up:

• April 26  Japanese Breakfast, Snail Mail.

• April 27  Parquet Courts, Anna Burch, Mothica, LOOPRAT, Cherry Death, Husbands, Curved Light, Zigtebra, Laine.

• April 28  tune-yards, Sports, Chastity Belt, The Men, My Brightest Diamond, Sun Seeker, Alanna Royale, Republican Hair, 18andCounting, Hosty, Helen Kelter Skelter, MONTU, Cheyenne, The New Tribe, Combsy, Sex Snobs, Digisaurus, Original Flow, Costello, Jarvix.

It's a fun and family-friendly music experience and allows you the opportunity to expand your regional music palette. Bands continue being added:

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Along with the trio helping out with the mobile Studio Blanket/Tent Fort (and its technical difficulties) for this week's "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist, members of the Railhead Family joined the guests and hosts to record a customized auto-rap for the show in honor of Railfest. Who knew hip hop would offer the perfect musical moment?

Jokey McJokerson stole the show with this week's punny joke. Here's the punchline:

"They take things literally."

Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 9:25 a.m. each Thursday (if not much earlier) or stream the half-hour show online: or; or on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: 

#Sundaymonium  Remember that every Sunday night you can listen to a rebroadcast of the prior week's show followed by this week's show: 6 p.m., Mix Tape No. 2; 6:30 p.m., Tony V, Los Viseppo and Josh Katvala for Railfest. 

Visit, "like" ("love") and follow our Facebook page: two-part video slideshow with audio from the first all-performance episode, along with the very first episode, are found in the "Video" folder. 

The Lawton Constitution

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