I know many people who believe that nothing good happens north of 635. To those individuals, prepare to have your belief system shaken to the core this weekend. Many of the better shows are far north of the more traditional musical establishments. Granted, some of these northern shows are taking place in Denton; that's no shocker. Still, the fact that Frisco, McKinney, Addison, and Carrollton are putting on worthy shows is definitely not the normal. As a North Dallas guy myself, this makes me quite happy. Don't get me wrong; there are still options in Deep Ellum and North Oak Cliff this weekend. It's just that for once, north of 635 beats out south of 635. I'm savoring the moment while I can.
Old 97’s/The Polyphonic Spree/The Burning Hotels/Dovetail (Carrollton Festival at the Switchyard)
I'm not going to talk about how the Old 97's new CD is their best since Satellite Rides, or even possibly Too Far to Care. I'm also not going to talk about how long it's been since Polyphonic Spree has played, or even about the addition of Jason Garner (Deathray Davies, the pAper chAse) to the group. These bands will have no problems bringing droves of people to their sets (especially for the surprisingly low admission charge of $5). Instead, I'm encouraging those who can get to the show early to check out Burning Hotels and Dovetail. Dovetail starts at 5, and the band does a great job of playing indie music that is adventurous without ever stepping foot into pretentious waters. Fans of Radiant* and Air Review will definitely dig the band. Burning Hotels is best known for their blend of indie rock with a slight hint of punk, but their newest song "Allison" finds the band pursuing a more new wave style a la Black Tie Dynasty. It doesn't matter which side The Burning Hotels show tonight; it's all good.
Somebody’s Darling (Lochrann’s)
I was just at Lochrann's last night checking out Pale Horse and Virgin Wolves, and it's a really nice venue with good sound, a good menu, and an unusually large selection of beers and wines. Throw in alt-country faves Somebody's Darling into the mix, and a good time is sure to be had.
Western Giants/Darcy/Menkena/The Tontons (Hailey’s)
Although I'm not familiar with Darcy or Tontons, Western Giants and Menkena are both skilled at gorgeous, dreamy melodies. I've yet to see Western Giants live, but their Long Live the Live Long Day EP has steadily been going on me through the course of this year. As for Menkena, my only frustration with the band is that it is taking way too long for their debut full-length to be released.
The Phuss/Max Cady/Missile/Trebuchet (Curtain Club)
Wow, not only are my top three concert picks for Friday north of 635, but my top choice for a Deep Ellum show is Curtain Club? This surely must be one of the signs of the apocalypse. But seriously, The Phuss is one of the strongest hard rock bands in this town, possessing a sound sure to appeal to both fans of heavy indie rock as well as more mainstream hard rock fans. And for all the flack Curtain Club gets, this venue has a fabulous sound system, and I saw many a great show there back in the late 90's/early 00's. I'd love to see more worthy bands playing there.
The King Bucks/The Naptime Shake (Kessler Theater)
Whether your taste in country leans toward traditional (King Bucks)or alt-country (Naptime Shake), there's something to please both camps at tonight's Kessler show.
Pale Horse/Red 100’s/Lazy Natives (Cool Beans)
It's felt a little lonely out here in the local music blogosphere. The once crowded feel has been thinning out. Fortunately, Rock and Roll Blues is changing that. Not only are they posting some excellent entries about great bands in the metroplex, they're hosting this showcase in Denton. From what I've heard of Red 100's, they're competing against Violent Still Life as my favorite all instrumental band. As for Pale Horse, this band continues to blow me away with each performance. If you haven't seen them, you MUST check this show out. You can thank me later.
The Orbans (Carrollton Festival at the Switchyard)
The Saturday lineup isn't as big as Friday for local music fans, but it does feature one of my favorite cover bands, Petty Theft, as well as The Orbans, who are starting to make waves with polished blend of rock and country.
Anna Thomas (Landon Winery)
The young Ms. Thomas is flying under the radar of most of the local music community. Since most of her shows are in McKinney or Frisco, and has only played once at Opening Bell Coffee, that's not so surprising. What is surprising is the fact that this beautiful voices and heart-felt songs are coming of the mouth of this fourteen year old. If this is what she can do at such a young age, I foresee Anna as being a potential fountain of talent for many years (perhaps decades) to come.
Emmeline (Dunn Brothers Coffee)
With her Wednesday night residence at Lakewood Bar & Grill, regular appearances at open mics, and shows almost every weekend, Emmeline has to be one of the hardest working musicians in the area. And I bet you'd be hard pressed to find an individual who has seen her and not be won over by her personal charm and great songs. And if such a person does exist, I don't want to meet that individual.
Slobberbone (Dan’s Silverleaf)
Slobberbone and Dan's go together like peanut butter and jelly. This will be a party in a major way.
Bosque Brown/The Fox & The Bird/Paper Bird/Kristy Kruger (Kessler Theater)
Mara Lee Miller (lead vocalist of Bosque Brown) and Kristy Kruger are not only among Dallas' finest female vocalist, they have become two of the most elusive, rarely performing in town. You can catch both at Kessler, along with a double dose of "bird" bands. Too bad Dove Hunter isn't still around to add to the bird theme.
Taste of Greenville Avenue
Most people go for the food, but the music should be as big of an attraction as the edibles. So what are the tastiest treats of the day? I recommend starting with an appetizer of country tunes served by King Bucks at 1:45 pm. The main course will be a gourmet feast of classical melodies served with a twist of contemporary leaning courtesy of Chameleon Chamber Group at 3:00 pm. And for dessert, there's no sweeter tasting band than THe BAcksliders, going on at 5:00. I'm getting hungry for some good music just talking about this.
Art Conspiracy (511 W. Commerce)
The festival has been moved up from December to October this year, making for a less freezing event. For fans of both the art and music scene, this is certainly the equivalent of the Super Bowl for such people. Music will be provided by Ishi, Seryn, and Dem Southernfolkz, who as far as I'm concerned is the creme de la creme of local hip-hop. Oh, and there'll be art. Lots and lots of art.