Saturday, January 19, 2008

Cool Saturday Shows

First and foremost, check this show out.

Bar of Soap is a Dallas music instution, not to mention the only place in the metroplex where you can simultaneously grab a beer, listen to a live band, and do your laundry. The club has had some financial hard times lately, and this show is a benefit to help keep the club alive. If you love Bar of Soap or ever enjoyed hanging out there, you need to go there tonight, pay your $5 cover, and support one of the most unique music venues that this city has. And of course, THe BAcksliders are gonna end the evening in rockin' fashion. If you aren't enthralled by their show, you should check to make sure you can feel your pulse. On that note, perhaps someone needs to send a paramedic to the Dallas Observer building.

Here's a few other cool shows worth mentioning:

Personally, I'm probably gonna swing by Allgood Cafe first and then head to Bar of Soap to catch THe BAcksliders, as it has been too long since I've seen them play. But please, if you're reading this, try to head out to Bar of Soap. Even if you go early in the day to check out some of the other artists, give the Bar of Soap your love. Oh, and your dirty laundry too.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Tonight, you need to be at Dada

Again, I have had too long in between postings. Call it the curse of having a real job. It would be awesome if I could make this my job, though frankly, I don't see how that could happen.

Enough whining about that though. Let me know whine about something completely different. Tonight will be the final show of one of my favorite bands to ever emerge from Dallas. The Chemistry Set calls it quits after six years of making some damn good music. Lead singer Steven Duncan and keyboardist Meredith Knoll are leaving this fine city for greener pastures as Mr. Duncan pursues getting a degree in History and eventually becoming a teacher. I wish Steven the best of luck in reaching his goal; his future students will be lucky to have him.

The Dallas music fan however, is not so lucky. Who will be here for us, writing tunes like "Lee Minor 7", "New Hope PA", and "Two Stars"? Steven's songs have been catchy pop gems that are always musically ambitious with intellegent lyrics, yet never going for the "look at me I'm smarter and hipper than thou" mentality that is so prevalent in the indie scene.

As sad as it will be to lose Chemistry Set (and believe me, this is a sad thing indeed), let us take a moment to celebrate their music. That moment shall be tonight at Club Dada, as Steven and the gang play with Calhoun at Club Dada tonight. Yes, there are other shows happening tonight. I cannot think of a single show, however, that can compete with bidding farewell to Chemistry Set (although honorable mentions go to King Bucks and Blue Petal playing at Double Wide tonight). So come on out and say goodbye to one of the best bands to ever grace our fine city.

Friday, January 4, 2008

First Weekend of the Year, and We’re Off to a Good Start!

Sometimes the year starts with a lull in good shows, but not this year. In fact, this whole month seems to be jam packed with sweet shows. We'll deal with the rest of the month later, but for now let's take a look at your options for Friday:

Emily Elbert/ Blake & Kate/Fat Palace (Opening Bell Coffee)
I believe this is Emily’s first show in Dallas since she left for Boston to attend college. She’s studying at Berklee, and word has it that she received a full paid scholarship to attend there. I was talking to a friend at Opening Bell last weekend, and he said that she was very talented for her age. My disagreement with his statement is not about her level of talent, but that she’s so talented that there shouldn’t be the stipulation about her being talented “for her age.” Her skills on the guitar surpass most people who are twice her age. If she is this talented at 18, I cannot even fathom how phenomenal she will be five to ten years from now. Enjoy her now while you can, before she explodes on the scene nationally. That will only be a matter of time.
Chloe Day/Lovie (Club Dada)
The pairing seems a little odd. Other than the fact that both artists are female (and attractive), I see very little in common between the two. The darker electronic vibe of Chloe Day doesn’t seem to fit with the fun, poppy sound of Lovie. This show is still worth going to though, and any opportunity to see Lovie is always a good thing.
Boys Named Sue (AllGood Café)
These guys did a great job at the Longhorn Ballroom this New Year’s Eve. Check them out in the more intimate venue of AllGood, and while you’re at it, get some good food to eat and a nice cold beer.
Fishing For Comets (Wooden Nickel)
If you missed them last Saturday at my musical showcase, then you should hang your head in shame and regard your life as a failure. OK, so that’s going too far, but their performance that evening was so great that words cannot give full justice to it. If you were there, you understand what I’m saying. If you weren’t there, then you should, no scratch that, you must drive out to Ennis and capture a little piece of the magic you missed.
Somebody’s Darling/The Dirty Sound/The Come Latelys (City Tavern)
I have a feeling that 2008 is gonna be a big year for Somebody’s Darling. They seem to have come out of nowhere and have suddenly exploded onto the scene. Lead singer Amber Farris knows how to do two things real well: work a crowd and belt out tunes. Her soulful take on Southern rock style music will leave you wanting more, so check them out while you can still see them as a venue as small as City Tavern.
Bugs Henderson (Dan’s Silverleaf)
In spite of the name of the blog, I really don’t know a lot about the blues scene in Dallas. Here’s what I do know; Bugs Henderson is greatness personified. Why he hasn’t exploded onto the national blues scene is totally beyond me. I think he’s the best blues musician to come out of the city since the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan. Even if you’re not traditionally a fan of the blues, his shows are entertaining enough to put a smile on anyone’s face. So while the nation is missing out on the joy of Bugs, the city of Dallas can enjoy him and regard him as one of our best kept secrets.

The fun doesn’t stop on Friday, kids. There are three cool show options for Saturday also.

The New Frontiers/Quiet Company/Chase Pagan/Tides/Kristin Leigh/Klickitat (The Prophet Bar)
I’m recommending this show solely on the strength of the two openers, Kristin Leigh and Michaela Kuenster’s project Klickitat. I’ve never seen either live, but the songs on both of their myspaces are quite intriguing. Kristin Leigh leans more towards a dreamy folk-pop sound, while Klickitat has a very Aimee Mann vibe (think “Momentum” but quirkier). Both artists go on my “need so see live” list.
Pleasant Grove (AllGood Café)
This band seems to be one of the most universally liked and respected bands in the metroplex. It’s almost as if liking PG is membership into the “cool people” club. So check them out at AllGood. After all, you do want to be cool, don’t you?
Dove Hunter/Happy Bullets/JD Whittenburg/The Felons/Travis Hopper (Club Dada)
Haven’t seen Travis Hopper, but I really dig all the other artists. And if that isn’t reason enough to go, then come to Dada to say goodbye to Andrea Grimes as she leaves our fine city for greener pastures. And if you’re going to say goodbye, this show proves that she will leave with a bang!

You’ll probably find me at Dada Saturday night, though I may try to swing by Opening Bell on Friday to catch the incredible Emily Elbert. With so many good choices though, it’s hard to decide. At least this the fun kind of hard decision.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Year’s Resolutions… Maybe

First of all, happy New Year’s to all my readers. I hope you had a fun and safe New Year’s Eve. I had a blast last night at the Longhorn Ballroom watching Old 97’s, The Drams, and Boys Named Sue. It was my first time at the venue, and the acoustics there are great, and there’s not really a bad seat in the house. I’d love to see some more shows there in the near future.

Now onto the part about the New Year’s resolutions. I’m reluctant to make them simply because my track record for keeping them is dismal. However, with the start of the New Year, it brings a time to reflect on what you’d like to accomplish. Whether these things are called “resolutions”, “goals”, or whatever other label I could come up with, the following are some things I would like to see happen in this coming year.

First of all, I would love to post music on my website. I’m having a hard time figuring out how best to do this, since Blogger doesn’t allow you to download mp3’s onto their site. Also, here’s the other trick: I’m trying to find ways of doing this free of charge. I may have to give in and spend some money here, but I am open for suggestions on the best way of doing this. I’m open for either allowing either mp3s for download on the site or some form of media player where the track could be heard but not downloaded. I welcome any and all suggestions on how best to do this free of charge. Along with that comes a request to the local artists. If you have any tracks you would like posted here, please send them to me thru my email address.

On a similar note, let me tell you that I’m in the works of compiling a Best of 2007 musical podcast. I know I’m a bit late on this, but I figure it’s better late than never. Thanks to all the artists I have talked to who have agreed to let their music be used in the podcast. I will try to get this prepared ASAP.

I would also love to bring you more shows in the New Year. The showcase at Opening Bell was a success, and I intend to bring you more good shows throughout 2008. I have no firm plans as of yet, but I will keep my readers informed as plans are set.

I also resolve to try to post more often. I have a full time job where I don’t have internet access throughout the day, so it doesn’t leave me as much time to post as I would like. There have been many articles that I wanted to do but simply have never had the time to finish. Either that, or when I had the time, it would be too late (it does little good to promote a show the day after it happens). Nevertheless, I would like to try to get posts out at least three times a week. I would like to do more, but I cannot even promise the three times a week goal. I will do my best to fulfill that goal.

I also resolve to do more album reviews. Scratch that. I resolve to review albums, as I have yet to write a full length album review. I received Macon Greyson’s 20th Century Accidents last September, and still have not given it the review it so deserves. I also hope to get out a review of The Slack’s Wishful Sinking by the end of the month. If you are a band or musician who would like their music reviewed, contact me through my email and I’ll give you a mailing address.

Finally, I leave you with some suggestions of what you can do in 2008. First and foremost, go to shows! I know I say that over and over, but a music scene lives and dies by its audience. Clubs book bands not by word of mouth, but by how many people they draw. Attending a show is the only way of making your musical taste be heard. Also, stop by the band’s merch table for some stickers, CD’s, t-shirts, or whatever else they might have to sell. It gives them some much needed (and deserved) moolah.

I would also encourage my readers to be more vocal with me. Let me know what local bands you’re digging right now. Let me know what shows you think are the best. Tell me the venues you like and don’t like. Let me know when you like an article I’ve written, and on the flip side, feel free to criticize me when I’m off base. I can stand the heat.

While I hate using the word “resolution”, I do hope that I can stick to some of the goals I have set out before me. I challenge you as the reader to follow my suggestions to you. Together we can create a killer year for the local music scene.