What 35 Denton Could Learn From Oaktopia

Categories: Columns

Ed Steele
If you build it, will they come? Denton music fans attending Oaktopia in 2013.

In the fall of 2011, I got a gig as an in-house scribe for 35 Denton. It wasn't paid, save for a complimentary wristband to the four-day festival (which is damn near a golden nugget for any young music fan). One of our tasks leading up to the festival's weekend in March was trodding around Denton and asking strangers what they thought of the recurring announcements for bands on the fest's bill. Walking up to strangers is generally a more terrifying experience than being the last mother with a PlayStation 4 in Wal-mart on Black Friday. To make matters worse, most people had no goddamn idea what a 35 Denton, Julianna Barwick or Cities Aviv was.

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Jacob Furr Celebrates Life in the Wake of Devastating Tragedy

Brain Carroll/Jacob Furr Facebook

Folk singers are storytellers. The best ones are able to take the most simplistic subject matter and make it ache with beauty. The great ones can also take life's greatest complexities and unanswerable questions and present us with a new, relatable vision with which we can view such big-picture wonderings. Fort Worth's Jacob Furr, 28, has been that type of troubadour for some time now.

Last August, Furr, his family and friends faced the harshest side of life's possibilities when his wife of three years, Christina, died of cancer. It's not a stretch to say that even though he's still quite young, the passing of his wife, whom he had known his "whole life," will likely be his most excruciating artistic inspiration, regardless of how long he lives.

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July Alley is a Deep Ellum Enigma That May Not Be Long for This World

Categories: Interviews

Juan Vargas
Frank Edwards has owned July Alley for nearly a decade

Frank Edwards is a busy man these days. Earlier this month, for the second time this summer, rumors began to circulate that his bar, July Alley in Deep Ellum, was set to close. The reported closing date has come and gone, and yet Edwards still seems like a man burning the candle at both ends. Just finding the time to meet up for an interview has been next to impossible, but here we are on what feels like the hottest day to ever have to walk the earth, having a beer in one of the booths of his bar.

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Busking with the Toadies: A Video Tour in Downtown Dallas

Categories: Busking

Still from Globe Trek Productions
Vaden Todd Lewis and the Toadies played downtown Dallas last Thursday
"Hello, we're the Toadies." So says Vaden Todd Lewis in one of his few between-songs remarks in the latest installment of Globe Trek Productions' Busking series. Appropriately, it comes after he and the boys have finished playing a cover of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" -- just in case there was any room for confusion.

This extended, two-part video was shot last week while the Toadies were busking around downtown Dallas ahead of their weekend celebrations at Dia De Los Toadies festival in Fort Worth. Scenes were shot between Winspear Opera House, Klyde Warren Park and Pecan Lodge, and there's not one but two renditions of "Possum Kingdom." Call it a deluxe edition, if you will.

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Can Oaktopia Become a Destination Festival in Denton?

Categories: Festivals

Ed Steele
Oaktopia is set to grow exponentially this year compared to 2013 -- and could be even bigger in 2015
Last year, when Dentonites Matt Battaglia and Corey Claytor set out to bring local bands together for an Oak Street music fest, there was no one who could have predicted what the small, five-stage festival would grow into in just one year. This year's incarnation of their young festival -- known as Oaktopia and set to take place this Friday and Saturday, September 19 and 20 -- is so much broader and larger that it's almost unrecognizable.

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DC9 at Night Mixtape with DJ Boxx

Categories: Mixtape

DJ Boxx, via Facebook

Since mid-spring, Chicago and Dallas resident DJ Boxx and his partner Jasmine Holt have been hosting Deep Inside, a monthly residency at Crown & Harp of the deepest, funkiest and most authentic house residencies in the city. More than just an admirer of the birthplace of house music, DJ Boxx had a front row seat to the development of house and that experience comes through in his mixes. Over the past few years Boxx, has become a regular face in Dallas nightlife and regularly travels between Dallas and Chicago for gigs. He was kind enough to make himself the subject of this week's DC9 at Night Mixtape.

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Danny Diamonds Mines the Positives in Bleak, Beautiful Songwriting

Categories: Feature Stories

Courtney Marie
Danny Diamonds in thoughtful repose (when not visiting a cabaret)
I'm standing in Danny Rush's house in Denton sipping a beer, occasionally taking a swig from a bottle of Old Granddad and admiring a collection of country music star paintings he commissioned from local artist Clay Stinnett. There are Freddy Fender, Hank Snow, Hank Williams and Gary Stewart, all done in an absurdest pulp style. I'm about to tell a story about Freddy Fender when Rush asks me, "What time do you think we should leave for the club?"

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Danny Rush Introduces His Danny Diamonds Persona to the Violitionist Sessions

Categories: Local Music

Still from "Hot Summer" on the Violitionist
Danny Rush a.k.a. Danny Folmer a.k.a. Danny Diamonds and his band playing for the Violitionist
You could probably refer to Danny Rush with just about whatever surname you want to at this point. That's pretty well what he's started doing. Many know him through his musical exploits in Denton as Danny Folmer, some as Danny Rush, and nowadays he calls himself Danny Diamonds. We just, of course. Through his work with bands like the Paper Chase and the Designated Drivers, Rush has established himself as a uniquely gifted, if sometimes enigmatic, songwriter over the years.

Naming aside, Rush has a new record out, the self-titled "debut" for Mr. Diamonds, and it's pretty great. (More on that record in this space tomorrow.) There's also a new Violitionist session out that features Rush and his band, in which he manages to kill two birds with one stone: He breaks down some of the naming confusion and tears through a handful of new songs. Check out the video after the break.

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The Best Bar Staffs in Dallas

Categories: Best Of

Dallas Observer
The Dram made our list of the best bar staffs in Dallas
When it comes to live music venues, Dallas has polychromatic shades of bar staffs, from its draft-pouring, quietly rustic bartenders to the sophisticated mixologists with novel ways of concocting a drink. When you frequent a venue often enough, it's nice to be remembered. This could very well mean you need to take 12 urgent steps out of the bar and onto sobriety, but either way, you're memorable.

This is a city that prides itself in its great service and southern hospitality, so narrowing down the best bar staff is not easy. Nobody wants to spend half of a show in line at a bar, especially when just trying to close out, so efficiency is key. The innate quality of friendliness, overall knowledge, at least partial patience, and the strength to be unbiased in the face of patrons' hotness or spending potential, have all been taken into account.

Excluding theaters and arenas -- because you just get your overpriced drink and rush back from intermission -- the best bar staff in live music venues in Dallas are:

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Lily Allen at House of Blues, 9/15/14

Categories: Last Night

Syre Berman
The Sheezus herself at a recent tour stop in Miami
Lily Allen
With MR Little Jeans
House of Blues, Dallas
Monday September 15, 2014

On her first visit to Dallas at the House of Blues, Lily Allen took the stage purple-haired and dressed like a shiny bit of Christmas tinsel. She was surrounded by a backdrop of large baby bottles that lit up, perhaps as an allusion to her recent motherhood, or her own perpetual state of infancy. With the title of her latest album, Allen has proclaimed herself a God, or technically just the female Kanye West, known as "Sheezus". She opened with the album's title track, which resorts to Eminem-style tactics of name-dropping (often unkindly) every major contemporary pop star.

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