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Weekender: Dallas Area Concerts for July 22-24

FRIDAY

Drinking and Dancing Competition (Sons Of Hermann Hall): Of all the descriptions I’ve heard from different folks trying to sell me on this event, only our very own Arts Editor would describe it as thus: “bacchanalian multitasking.”

I was shocked to find out how highbrow the impetus was for this madness, and you can read Peter’s excellent interview here for more info.

Harvey Milk/Omotai/Most Efficient Women (Rubber Gloves): Who ever thought you’d get the chance to see Harvey Milk more than once in such a brief time period? The group’s catalog varies greatly, something that they themselves would admit judging by this genius article for self-titled Daily where they harshly criticize their entire body-of-work. One of their greatest contributions was their ability to push unconventional vocal melodies into the dark crevices not usually yielded by heavy records; usually there is just more chaos. It’s the sort of thing that sounds awful in the wrong hands, but they wielded it well. Unfortunately this is the last chance to see the group before one of the main members returns to teaching.

Most Efficient Women includes members of Drug Mountain, which generally means many instruments on stage and usually some high-quality bouts of unconventional intensity.

The Night Game Cult/After Hours With George Quartz/Neeks/Diamond Age (Dan’s Silverleaf): In a rather densely packed week, this is still one of the best. When The Night Game Cult’s Kyle Cheatham was living in Denton, the town seemed like a different place; more dangerous, more wild, more unpredictable. Then he moved to Portland and Denton seemed a little more tame, a little more family-friendly, for better or worse depending on what you want out of the town.

Night Game Cult shows lived up to the name and the ideal; they were incredibly eerie, dark, and also transfixing. All of the blacked-out rooms and body paint in the world wouldn’t have mattered though, had it not been for the incredible music. Cheatham created songs so haunting that they still seem to be playing down some back alley off the square forever; songs like “The Sparkling Sea” and “You Are Not Alone” are still as lovely as they are creepy. Welcome back.

Glamorama (Beauty Bar): Guest DJ tonight is DJ Trademarx.

SATURDAY

Zest of Yore/Tang Lung/Vulgar Fashion/Terminator 2/Violent Squid (Bolivar House): This is a benefit show for some individuals that “really just need some money” and I admire their honesty. Help them out. This show is actually worth paying for, so you won’t even feel taken advantage of. I heard an insane story about Vulgar Fashion meeting a local music editor that ends with him saying “Talk to me” when the group gets their act together. Isn’t that amazing? I thought only Phil Ramone said things like that. Related: My favorite P. Ramone quote is “HE’S STILL FRANK SINATRA, DAMN IT.” I love show business.

Robert Ellis/Glass Mountain Orchestra/Glen Farris (Dan’s Silver Leaf)

Diskotek Ersatz: After Party for Fassbinder’s World On A Wire (Texas Theatre): Once again, Mr. Simek (he hates when I call him boss) has everything you need to know about Fassbinder’s World On A Wire, which he said just might be the most important movie of the year.

Just to show you the difference in what we do, I have something almost as good: The Most Important After Party Of The Year. That’s right. There will be avant-garde disco and “avant-garde cocktail attire” is “strongly encouraged.” Which isn’t really fair you see, as this is presented by George Quartz and he pretty much invented that whole getup in Dallas. It would be like Big Tex strongly encouraging you to bring your biggest pair of jeans. Yee-Haw.

Gorilla vs Bear Festival (Granada Theater): Here’s the detail everyone seems to be leaving out: Dallas’ own Sober will be handling DJ duties for this event, bringing the total to “three” the number of locals on the bill. That’s always such a concern around here and though the collective heart is in the right place, it doesn’t do anyone any good to have a local blog present a local fest to locals; you have to give people outside of DFW a reason to care if you want to make any noise in this world. That shouldn’t be offensive to any reasonable person.

It’s a great thing to see a website that’s raised the profile of Dallas throw its very own event here, and I’ll be glad to do my part to support this event. It’s good for the city, good for the venue, the out-of-town-acts, and locals alike. Who else but Chris Cantalini could draw such an eclectic lineup here in the middle of the summer and still have the guts to put a couple of bands on the bill that have yet to perform in front of an audience even once. It’s that sense of dare that has kept Gorilla vs Bear interesting for so long and speaks to the pioneer spirit of one of the nation’s oldest and most powerful music blogs; even if those from more traditional business, writing, and music backgrounds are left scratching their heads. Well, keep scratching. The lineup and set-times:

Dreamed – 6:30pm

Sunset – 7:10pm

Pure X – 7:50pm

Sleep ∞ Over – 8:40pm

Grimes – 9:25pm

Julianna Barwick – 10:10pm

Shabazz Palaces – 11:00pm

Preteen Zenith – 11:50pm

White Denim – 12:50pm

Adult Books/Unconscious Collective/No Mas Bodas (Pastime Tavern)

1st Annual Stella Fest (Hailey’s): I don’t know when this show was announced or whether or not it’s supposed to be competing with The Granada’s lineup, but it sure is packing a lot of locals up north in the middle of the day. It was booked by Ryan McAdams who plays in Sundress. I also couldn’t find what the “Stella” in Stella Fest even refers to on the flier. In fact the only info is “..cheap drinks..” The headlining act is Startdeath and The White Dwarfs but there are a handful of local bands here that are a little more worth your time.

Main Stage –

Lucretia Borgia – 3:30

Westboro Butchers – 5:15

Soviet - 6:45

Roy Robertson – 8:30

Record Hop – 9:45

Sundress – 11:00

Stardeath and White Dwarfs – 12:15

Side Stage –

The River Mouth – 4:30

Final Club – 6:00

The Eastern Sea – 7:45

Skeleton Coast – 9:15

Manned Missiles – 10:30

Ethereal and the Queer Show – 11:45

SUNDAY

Mission Of Burma/Tre Orsi/Ume (Granada): (Apologies to anyone that has heard this story before and I want to doubly apologize for giving two personal anecdotes in one week, but late 70’s/early 80’s Boston post-punk act Mission of Burma has always been a crucial part of my life when it’s come to writing and occasionally performing music.)

In the summer of 1997, at the painfully tender age of 17, I was living in Richardson and spending the summer at a friend’s house when I started to really explore the still rather new world of the internet; staying up until dawn every night doing so. Specifically I was researching music non-stop and devouring fan-sites, compiled zine stories, label propaganda and anything else with which I could begin to ruin my young eyes.

One late night I ran across a very interesting ad for a contest on Rykodisc’s website, the label responsible for reissuing Mission Of Burma’s Ace Of Hearts’ catalog in the 90’s. The gist of the contest was this: You had to write an essay on why you “deserved” guitar lessons from Mission Of Burma’s Roger Miller. Teenagers in the 90’s were culturally conditioned to believe they didn’t deserve anything so I had my work cut out for me.  Aside from Burma, Miller had played in Sproton Layer, Destroy All Monsters, Moving Parts, and Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. He had also released a handful of experimental solo albums on SST that were also the unhealthy obsession of woefully serious music fans the world over.

Sad to say that I have since lost the essay; it’s probably rotting in a folder of Netscape Navigator screenshots on a Mac monitor that’s currently seeping chemicals in a Murphy landfill for all I know. But I remember going on about how Miller’s technique was aggressive and inventive and aggressively inventive or something to that effect. I was chosen as a finalist and I was the only one outside of the band’s Boston-area home. I left Texas for the first time ever and landed in Boston with a school friend, who was also 17. We stayed at a hotel in Quincy and walked to Mr. Miller’s house. He graciously let the lesson drag on for hours in his basement which was adorned with fliers and other fascinating underground memorabilia.

I was a little overenthusiastic and I asked many geeky questions which seemed a little bemusing to Miller at times. He had some excellent opinions on music and playing guitar, along with some cutting opinions about other seminal acts. Basically the lesson was all about how important it was to approach things from many angles: Don’t ever get bogged down with settling on barre-chords over and over, don’t get caught up in straight-ahead rhythms, always change it up, play everything three different ways, de-tune the instrument, when you build-up- blow-up and fall-apart rather than just keep building etc. It was priceless information and held many clues as to why Burma were such a unique band. I’ve never forgotten it. He gave me some photocopied cheat sheets that had many alternate tunings that both he and Sonic Youth used in their music.

I went back a year later after graduating high school and this time paid for a lesson. He again extended the lesson past the normal hour and was very kind about everything. On that trip I got to meet Mission Of Burma drummer Peter Prescott at the legendary Mystery Train record store on a tip from Miller. They both willingly signed any and all merchandise which I still cherish. This was a young music nerd’s dream. At some point I realized that Roger could have been a session guitarist and probably should have been paid as such; he was that academic and skilled. Both men seemed to be at tough points in their careers.

Five years after that first visit, Mission Of Burma reformed and I flew to New York to see them at Irving Plaza. They didn’t seem like the nice quiet guys I met in Boston; they seemed like the flickering sepia and black and white legendary images from all of those zine pictures I found online in the middle of the night years before. They were now getting all the attention they deserved and they have been ever since.

Lost Generation (Arcade Bar): Do you all love “non-hits” as much as I do? Well, this event provides plenty of that with guest DJ G on board, who promises some “road not taken” cuts along these lines:

4AD, Creation records, Mute, Factory, Rough Trade, Synth Pop, Punk, PostPunk, No Wave, Post No Wave, Skate rock, SST Records and whatnot. Not your normal 80’s night.

Not your normal anything-night, actually.

2 comments on “Weekender: Dallas Area Concerts for July 22-24

  1. No offense, but You Are Not Alone and the Sparkling Sea aren’t creepy at all. Have you ever listened to those songs? Some of my creepy songs are The Darkest Star and Knives in My Back. Neither of them have been released as yet. Maybe you guys could help me cut a record, seeing as how you love me so much?