Without fail, the weekend of SXSW turns local music venues into something of ghost towns. Not only do the fans disappear, but each year, it seems to get harder and harder to find good shows on SXSW weekend. This post is for those who are not in Austin right now. Want to see a good show in the metroplex area? Lucky for you, there are several options.
Land Mammals/THe BAcksliders/Dizastra (Dan's Silverleaf)
Denton band Land Mammals may be headlining with their fun quirky low-fi indie pop, but THe BAcksliders will end up stealing the show. Just my opinion though.
Cas Haley/The Slack (Granada Theater)
Here's another show where I think the opener will upstage the headliner. I've given many listens to The Deep End, and this is one strong collection of songs. It doesn't hurt that Slack leader Chris Holt is a pretty good musician. Yeah, Mr. Holt's a pretty good musician, kind of like how a Rolls Royce is a pretty nice car.
Charming Gardeners (Dallas Museum of Art)
I've yet to see or even hear this band, so let me tell you what I know. The band was recently signed to Idol Records, and that label has a fabulous track record of signing quality bands. I know that the band features Marc Solomon (previous from great bands like Clumsy and Solly) who is now best known for running the Zounds Sounds School of Rock. I know Amy Curnow (Shanghai 5) is also in the band, and that her vocals at Trey Johnson's Poor David's Pub show were spot on. I also know Wade Cofer (Rose County Fair, Homespun Remedies, The Kul) plays bass in the band. I don't know anything about their drummer, Gerald Iragorri, but I'm trusting that if he can hang with those three fine musicians, he must be pretty special. Besides, where else can you go this weekend to hear rock music AND patron the arts?
Manning-Dickson/The Marfalites (LaGrange)
It's a CD release show for Fort Worth band Manning-Dickson, and opening band The Marfalites are reason enough to see the showy.
Michael Miller/Menkena (Allgood Cafe)
The guys from Menkena have been raving about Mr. Miller's music, but yet again, I find myself more drawn to the opener than the headliner. I'm not going to rehash thoughts on Menkena; my post on the Ten to Watch in '10 says all that needs to be said.
Shane Alexander/Camille Cortinas/Garrett Owen
I finally saw Mr. Owen for the first time, and the guy not only writes good songs, he's better in the singing department than your typical singer-songwriter. He does not have a CD out yet, and I'm hoping that will change soon, as he has the potential to really shine within the local music community. Ms. Cortinas will also be playing, spreading smiles to anyone willing to listen.
American Aquarium/Andrew Delaney & The Horse You Rode In On (LaGrange)
Gregory Pierce (Hendrick, Iris Leu) has been raving about Mr. Delaney for quite some time, and I'm starting to see the appeal in Delaney's music. My favorite, "Ramblin' Jack", owes a definite debt of gratitude to Tom Waits. Whether channel Tom Waits or alt-country ("Wine and Roses"), this is good music.
Hello Lover/Missile/Descender (Bryan Street Tavern)
There are two reasons I recommend this show. The first, and most important, is that Hello Lover brings a strong energy to their self proclaimed "sex rock". I've only seen the band twice, which is how many times the band has severely impressed me. The other reason I'm recommending the show? I love the opportunity to type the phrase "sex rock". Hey, at least I'm honest.
Joe Pug/PALEFACE/Nicholas Altobelli (Green Elephant)
This is an earlier show for Mr. Altobelli, who goes on around 6 pm. Word on the street is that he'll have copies of his new CD, The Regulator, available for purchase. If you go, bring enough extra $$$ to pick it up, as this just might be Mr. Altobelli's best work to date.
Johnny Lloyd Rollins/The Fieros/Israel Nash Gripka/They Were Stars (LaGrange)
This is unfair. The best local show of the weekend takes plays on a Sunday night. Some of us have to work the next day. So if you want the all too rare opportunity to see The Fieros (formerly The Valentines) return to Dallas, start preparing your excuse for why you're late to work. Johnny Lloyd Rollins and They Were Stars help add to the appeal of this bill as well.
Happy Bullets/The Walking Sleep (Barley House)
Sunday seems to be "return to Dallas" day. Over at Barley House, Sara Radle brings her band, The Walking Sleep, to the metroplex. I haven't heard their music yet, but I've yet to be disappointed by Ms. Radle.