Before we get started, it should be noted that a handful of high-profile shows at The Kessler have sold out this weekend. There are no tickets remaining for both the early and late Los Lobos shows on Saturday. The Lucinda Williams show on Friday has also sold out. — Christopher Mosley
Lincoln Durham/Isaac Hoskins (Dan’s Silverleaf): This is a show heavy with emotions, namely the sad and regretful kind. Durham has a few layers of grit in his voice that make him just interesting enough to watch live. Check out “Mud Puddles,” as evidence.
Adding Isaac Hoskins to the bill lightens up the mood a bit, but not much. There is a transition from Durham’s passive aggressive sorrow to a more delicate melancholy provided by Hoskins.
Not to be discredited, Hoskins is well-known for his acoustic vocals and winning charm. Before one of his songs at Kessler Theater, he gave this disclaimer: “I wrote this because I got tired of writing songs about breaking up with people. I thought it had kind of run its course. It was getting to be a bit ridiculous, so I just wrote a song about some other people breaking up.” Well, at least he’s trying his hand at diversity — Iris Zubair
DJ Don’t Know/Foolish 2/Tabula Rasa/The Mothers/Rushing Silver/Mexican Lions/Aeolus/Arcane Timpani/Banshee/Garret Phelps (Hailey’s): This monster lineup is said to everything “From folk, to hip-hop, to progressive…” and is an anti-human trafficking benefit, presented by the Return to Rest organization. — Christopher Mosley
DJ Keith P (Crown And Harp): Keith P went from a weekly at Beauty Bar to taking on some work at The Church, where he will certainly be an asset in the realm of dark arts record selecting, since the Church could be hit-or-miss with its aural scene setting. Here, he will be overseeing the corner of the Crown and Harp’s once-legendary upstairs dance floor, making this another place badly in need of an upgrade, but thankfully Keith will be just that. — Christopher Mosley
“Big Bang” (Beauty Bar): Though it was a seemingly harmless promotional message, DJ Sober had this subtle boast on his website this week, which should be a word of caution to his competitors at the Red Bull Thre3Style competition on Friday:
This Friday, I’ll be competing in Red Bull‘s acclaimed Thre3Style DJ competition at It’ll Do. The winner will be the DJ who blends three genres of music the best. If you’ve been to my weekly BIG BANG event at Beauty Bar, you know this is right up my alley.
Indeed. A mere trio of genres is likely little problem for Sober. — Christopher Mosley
Inspectah Deck (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): As the person who runs social media for Rubber Gloves fittingly pointed out, it doesn’t take much to realize the Wu-Tang Clan’s Inspectah Deck has had some history-making moments in a long career in rap. Or as he or she put it:
All you gotta do is catch the 1st verse off the classic track to know why you absolutely cannot miss INSPECTAH DECK…
Then there’s the video to the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck,” in which Inspectah Deck closes out said verse with this ominous line: “The rebel, I make more noise than heavy metal.” And indeed, it could be argued that Wu-Tang Clan’s illumination of the grit and ugliness that they had witnessed in their New York home could and would rival much of the metal that was selling a comparable amount of records in the same era.
Inspectah Deck may have never had quite the same sustained amount of solo acclaim as his fellow members of Wu-tang, but his first record, Uncontrolled Substance, is well-regarded, closing out the Nineties on a high note and aging gracefully since. — Christopher Mosley
(And hey, Iris had something to say about Inspectah Deck as well. Either that, or I’m highly unorganized) -CM:
It seems like a Wu-Tang revival of sorts this past year, with RZA taking a starring role and the director’s seat for Man With the Iron Fists, Method Man’s upcoming fifth album (coincidentally, produced by RZA) slated for release this year, and now Inspectah Deck’s attempt at something of a comeback. Considering that RZA’s directorial debut didn’t pan out well with critics and Method Man’s been talking up this theoretical fifth album for years, it would be nice to root for Inspectah Deck to defy the odds and come out strong. Can I get a Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang? — Iris Zubair
Keane/Youngblood Hawke (House of Blues): Keane returned after a four-year absence with Strangeland, a crystal clear effort with inclining moments of romanticism, in a signature style that British gentlemen seem to be so adept at creating. It’s everything you would hope for and expect from Keane: a satisfying mix of introspective melodrama about life and love with a healthy dosage of poppy optimism.
I don’t use this word lightly, but I’m devastated that I won’t be able to make it out to see Youngblood Hawke perform their stellar repertoire (even if it’s at House of Blues). And it doesn’t help that their song “Forever” has been stuck in my head for what seems like, well… For more information, here’s an interview from earlier in the week, in which I spoke to lead singer Sam Martin ahead of the show. — Iris Zubair
Matthew and the Arrogant Sea/Sammy Strittmatter/Nite Risk/You and Me (City Tavern): Matthew and the Arrogant Sea are apparently in the process of having a documentary produced about the band, which should be ready by “late 2013,” according to the event details. The group put up a live-in-the-studio session a few months ago, which was recorded the previous summer at Bronson Island Studios, a Hollywood based recording entity. You can view that by going here, or to the band’s Tumblr. — Christopher Mosley
Crack Pipes/Fungi Girls/Oddlot (The Grotto): In the process of brain-racking research this week, I tried to find a review of a Crack Pipes show at Emo’s in Austin years ago, and instead ran across a wonderfully dated fan letter to the revered Austin Chronicle. In it, that classic relationship between reader and author unfolds beautifully, ending with this kiss-off to reviewer Matt Dentler:
Hopefully Matt Dentler can move up the food chain, leaving behind the ghetto that is reviewing local bands and review important records, like the OutKast or the Elliott Smith box set which will come out any day now.
Doesn’t that make you pine for simpler times? Me neither. I then texted an Austin musician who would know better than anyone about where either of us may have seen the group and he responded that they were “Austin BBQ Rock.” Fair enough. The Fungi Girls are opening and their inclusion always makes for a worthwhile show. — Christopher Mosley
Diamond Age/Eyes, Wings and Many Other Things/Everywhere/Lily Taylor (The Crown and Harp): Who gave the Crown and Harp permission to start having decent acts again? This spot had some surprisingly nonconservative shows for a time, shortly before it changed its name from the Cavern, but then there seemed to be a gap or disconnect when it was reopened, renamed, and rebranded. These things happen. But if you want to see some of the better unconventional acts North Texas has to offer, this is a good, centralized starting point. — Christopher Mosley
“Black Gold Soul Club” with DJ Marcos/DJ Chad/DJ Boom (Texas Theatre): Since this serves as the after-party for the showing of Thunder Soul, a Jamie Foxx-produced documentary about a late 60s/early 70s high school band from Houston who specialized in funk, I’ll give you one guess as to what the DJs will probably play. Funk and soul rarities performed by aspiring musicians is the stuff of which record collector private press dreams are made, and look no further than this vacuum-sealed tight piece of rhythmic genius by the film’s subjects if you don’t believe me. — Christopher Mosley
Blackstone Rangers/Zhora/Vulgar Fashion/Cutter (Hailey’s): There is a wide variety of oft-seen bands at Hailey’s this evening, and I encourage you to watch all four acts, as they represent four rather distinct visions yielded by our often jarring and disjointed region. 2013 will see a vinyl release by Vulgar Fashion on the charmingly mysterious local label, Handmade Birds, and what do you know? They didn’t even have to beg, busk, or further embarrass all of us on Kickstarter to do it. For more information on both Vulgar Fashion and Kickstarter, read some always illuminating opinions by Handmade Birds’ founder, R. Loren,in this year-summarizing interview conducted by “music webzine,” Scene Point Blank, which you can find here. — Christopher Mosley
Red Bull Thre3Style (It’ll Do Dallas): This aforementioned event will feature a familiar lineup to even casual followers of local hip hop and DJ-ing: Sober, A1, Fishr Pryce, NVS, and REV. Also included is a commencement performance by Big Once. Red Bull is in the business of music like few other drink brands, save for perhaps, Mountain Dew. But they must have better PR, because nobody seems to mind as much when Red Bull is involved, and their real world impact on where musicians end up seems to be far greater. — Christopher Mosley
Mr. Troll/Guthrie Kennard/Jaimee Harris (Opening Bell): Singer/songwriters are encouraged to bring instruments this show, which acts as the birthday party for local musician, Mr. Troll. Since Mr. Troll is on the more genuine and authentic end of the spectrum in his own genre—a necessity for this particular brand of music—that very well means he could be opening the door to a few bums who aren’t quite as good as him. Don’t do it, Mr. Troll. You deserve the best on your birthday, this being your 64th. The event claims there is “No Telling what might happen,” at this free-for-all acoustic extravaganza, and that’s exactly what I’m afraid of. Happy Birthday, Mr. Troll. – Christopher Mosley
Rob Swift/Phooka/DJ Spiderman (Bryan Street Tavern): There are many DJs competing at a couple of different events this weekend, however this is the only contest to feature KNON’s EZ Eddie D as a judge. This isn’t about age. It’s about trust. I just trust the guy. The contestants include the following DJs: Love, Lil Chris, Soi, Buddha Fingers, BK and Tapemastah Steph. I’m most familiar with those last two, but you probably wouldn’t want to face any one artist from this group. For more info, head here. — Christopher Mosley
Jack Oblivian/The Black Dotz/War Party (Club Dada): Earlier today, I contacted War Party recording engineer, Britt Robisheaux, about what he felt was most compelling about the upbeat and even poppy rock group with which he’s worked. He stayed primarily focused on the group’s vocal ability. “I like [Cameron Smith’s] voice,” Robisheaux said. He continued, focusing on the relatively little time Smith has been playing. “I think a lot of the lyrics are clever and well written … He’s only been playing guitar and writing for about four years.” Roxisheaux went on to say that he’ll be recording Sealion this weekend, so expect new music from them soon.
This is probably your best bet for a no-pretense rock show, especially when you factor in the explosively traditional Black Dotz, and Jack Oblivian AKA Jack Yarber, of the beloved though defunct Compulsive Gambler as well as The Oblivians. Both bands were playing fairly nasty garage rock in a manner that few at the time were, and both late acts also included Greg Cartwright, of the Reigning Sound. The Compulsive Gamblers would later reform with a slightly different lineup. Not to steal any spotlight from Yarber, but Cartwright is arguably one of the most gifted songwriters working in contemporary American music, and you can catch the Reigning Sound in a rare North Texas appearance at 35 Denton in a couple of months. — Christopher Mosley
Glamorama (Beauty Bar): Featuring the usual from Blake Ward, along with a guest set from Cory Kilduff, of Ocelot and Kodiak. — Christopher Mosley
Sundress/Skeleton Coast/Sacco and Vanzetti/Biographies (Dan’s Silverleaf): Sundress’ front man, Ryan McAdams, has an androgynous affectation to his voice that bodes seamlessly with their style of slightly ethereal pop/rock. Even still, the songwriting itself is hit or miss.
Sacco and Vanzetti were originally a couple of Italian immigrants who were tried and executed in 1927 for the murder of two men during an armed robbery. As execution trials often go, the general consensus many years later is that the execution was carried out under false pretenses, mainly as a consequence of their anarchist ideologies. That being said, the band Sacco and Vanzetti chose an interesting pair of names to resonate in the hearts of their fans. And that being said, this is an oft-abused story in the world of popular music. — Iris Zubair
Jeff Mangum/Tall Firs (The Majestic Theatre): It’s Nineties Nostalgia night with this show, so it’s as good of a time as any to break out the plaid shirts and combat boots. Actually, that still works in this day and age.
This video of Jeff Mangum performing at Occupy Wall Street is atrocious in quality, but it’s another revealing moment as to why this movement never really actually caught on, theoretically or literally. I’m not sure how effective a protest can be when people are demonstrating their rights against a capitalist economy by enjoying a live performance from the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel, though the effort is appreciated.
Tall Firs has a distinct sound that may have find a suitable comparison in The XX’s Coexist album. Not only are both groups duos, but there’s also a definite similarity in the minimalistic approach to their sound, and the looming theme of desperation and angst in their lyrics. “Crooked Smiles” draws some close comparisons to Coexist‘s overall aesthetic. — Iris Zubair
Image: Fungi Girls in live performance. Denton, October of 2010. Photo by Sally Glass.