Now in its eighth year of existence, the locally based Gorilla vs Bear has done something that so few music blogs have managed to do: Stay relevant. Even more than that, however—at least from a selfish perspective that considers civic pride—its given a Dallas-area writer significant weight in the music industry. That’s something I think we can agree that is yearned for in the city, genre-wide, whether it be folk music, indie rock, or rap.
Speaking of which, one of the ways that GvsB has managed to stay so stylistically coherent is that it never veered too far into one of the many PR-generated fads that could have sunk the blog, in the event that it were to become monochromatically associated with only electroclash or witch house, to cite two fleeting examples. Those micro-styles may be the domain of embarrassing social media ghosts of your past, and yet founder Chris Canatalini has managed to stay sure-footed no matter how much hype under which the industry attempts to bury him.
Tonight’s GvsB III is another great example. This year’s entry combines the star power of rapper Danny Brown with the emotive yet subdued music of the relatively new, internationally connected act, HAERTS. Then there’s always the one local act that bests represents the current state of local music, in this case its Booty Fade. Throwing together the perfectly balanced selection of delicate and party music both, without coming off as contrivedly eclectic is no easy task. In most major markets, there are few who can do it without seeming like corny, kitchen sink, utopists. But in Dallas? There’s only Gorilla vs Bear.
AV the Great/Frost 214/Wild Bill/Wasted Kick Hook/T Dot C Dot/Ewok the Kidd/S. Good/Buk Baby/Kick Door Records/Casper G (Andy’s Bar): This top-to-bottom rap show benefits the Bill Rogers Youth Foundation, which has taken up the commendably altruistic cause of spreading clean water wells through Liberia.
“Punky Reggae Party” (Single Wide): This always-solid evening features collectors and selectors, Gabriel Mendoza and Benjamin White.
“The Hip Hop Show: Dallas Cypher” (Old Oak Cliff Lodge): Mic passing and memorabilia from Dallas’ overlooked hip hop past punctuate this early show, which starts at 4 pm.
Other Friday shows—
Yells at Eels (All Good Cafe)
Cold War Kids (The Southside Music Hall)
Pleasant Grove (Twilite Lounge)
George Quartz/Nathan Brown/Def Rain (Double Wide): Def Rain and George Quartz are two of the most reliable live acts in Dallas proper, especially in the realm of just slightly “off” music with plenty of synthesizers and oddly charismatic lead singers. I asked Quartz about Nathan Brown, and his reply is a “weirdo from Fort Worth.” If George Quartz thinks he’s weird, then I trust it to be true, and some of my favorite people happen to be weirdos from Fort Worth. “Perfect,” I replied.
Other Saturday shows—
Home by Hovercraft/John Singer Sergeant/The Family Piano/The Venetian Sailors (Club Dada)
Myopic/AD Blood/Water Falls (The Crown and Harp)
“Glamorama” (Beauty Bar): Blake Ward’s guests this evening are NSR and Dilation.