The Conversation: Which of the Three Major North Texas Cities is The Hottest Right Now?

20070123154943!North_Texas_map.png
That red part's us, y'all.
The three major cities that make up North Texas (Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton, duh!) have always taken part in a sort of friendly competition with each other. There's always been trash talk from apologists of each music scene, of course. But, in the end, each scene seems to reluctantly coalesce into the larger North Texas music community.

Still, it seems that seems that when one city's music scene is experiencing a good spell, the other two become mediocre or dry.

For example: The Fort Worth music scene. It's stronger right now than it's been in years -- maybe ever. Meanwhile Dallas carries on at a comfortable pace and Denton is a little dry.

A few years back, though, all those positions were swapped.

So, this week, we invited several representatives from each scene to discuss which city currently appears on top of its game and which is a little cold. Together, Andy Odom of Dentoneer, Cory Graves of Subservient Experiment, Mark Schectman of KDGE 102.1-FM The Edge, Anthony Mariani of Fort Worth Weekly and I each shared our thoughts on the matter. It  turned into a pretty interesting discussion about the cyclical nature of each music scene.

Hit the jump to check it out.

Daniel: So, let's cut right to the chase, guys. Which city is hot snot right now and which one is cold buggers? 

Andy: I'm not sure any one city is "hotter" than any other at the moment. The Dallas Observer Music Awards nominations released a few mornings ago show evidence of that, I think. Generally speaking, the nominations are pretty evenly distributed between Dallas, Fort Worth and Denton, whereas the last couple of years it's been heavily slanted towards Denton. Pete Freedman -- or maybe it was DC9AtNight -- tweeted a couple of weeks ago that "The Dallas music scene comes in waves." That's true about every scene. Denton, for example, is in a bit of a low period right now, but has always been cyclical. With a few exceptions like Soviet or Bethan, it looks like we're all in North Texas going to be stuck with the same few bands (Telegraph Canyon, The O's, RTB2) for a while. It's just natural.

Cory: I'll go out on a limb and say that I think Fort Worth is pretty hot right now, and the number of Fort Worth bands on the Dallas Observer Music Awards ballot is a testament to that, I think. Personally, I've known very little about Fort Worth's scene despite going out to quite a few shows all over the Metroplex the past few years. But, in the last few months alone, I've not only found myself going to a lot more shows out there, but I'm also discovering a lot of good bands from there (Fate Lions, Calhoun, Orbans, Convoy and the Cattlemen, Luke Wade, My Wooden Leg). Perhaps the issue is not who has the most talent but who does the best job letting everybody know it. Because, far as I know, there aren't really any good blogs or music publications based in Fort Worth. And a lot of these bands don't play as much in other parts of the Metroplex. Their scene is a little more closed off/under the radar.

Mark: I'm going to have to agree with Cory here that crazy Fort Worth is having an especially good year comparatively. But I would argue that it's not really the shear number of good bands (although there are a lot), but that there are a few bands that are releasing some really stellar music right now. The new Burning Hotels record will do a lot to continue their legacy and probably gain them a lot more exposure. I don't know if anyone has released a better album this year than Calhoun. I do think that there is a disconnect in Dallas and Denton, so some of these bands have a hard time getting booked or heard in those cities. There's also the misconception that all bands in Fort Worth are country. But it does seem that bands in the Fort do a better job of getting out of town to tour and build a fan base, whether it be just to Oklahoma or beyond.

Anthony: I can't compare scenes, having been to Denton only once (for my wife's niece's high-school volleyball tournament) and to Dallas twice (for a show by John Price and one by, yes, Flickerstick) in my 10 years in Fort Worth. However, before I move on to supplying anecdotal evidence, allow me to enumerate briefly what's been happening in Tarrant County over the past several months. There's been a dramatic surge in relatively new bands. New good bands is the most obvious phenomenon. Just to name a few: Skeleton Coast, The Cleanup, Fou, My Wooden Leg, Stone Machine Electric, china kills girls, UNRAVELER (formerly Magnus), Wild//Tribe (guys from Tolar and Unit 21), Perdition, Badcreek (ex-Mockingbird Cartel), Tiger of Bengal, Slumberbuzz, The Skeeves, Gonzo City, Constant Seas, Most Efficient Women, Drift Era (helmed by JoCo), producer Phil Ford, Gunga Galunga, The Moonshiners, aneTIX, DJ Hyphy, The Apache 5, and more, plus grossly overlooked stalwarts such as Alan, Barrel Delux, Jody Jones, Joe & The Sonic Dirt From Madagascar, and Jefferson Colby, PLUS new albums by JJ & The Rogues, Tame ... Tame & Quiet, The Apache 5, Secret Ghost Champion, Phantom Caste, Quaker City Night Hawks, Wild//Tribe, Automorrow, Jefferson Colby, Calhoun, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, and EPIC RUINS. Plus, of course, the forthcoming album by Burning Hotels. And the young Hanna Barbarians, who also just put out a new album, a tasty slab of scuzz-rock, will be the cover story in this week's Weekly. Anecdotally, I can say that most weekend and weekday shows at Fort Worth's main indie venues -- Lola's, The Moon, The Grotto, The Where House, and The Aardvark -- have been packed throughout the summer. I also can say that our 2011 Fort Worth Music Festival, with 50 Fort Worth bands in eight different venues in the West 7th corridor on a single day in July drew about 7,000 people. And, yes, I'll let this one slide -- that there really "aren't really any good blogs or music publications based in Fort Worth." Yes, we Weekly folk do a lot of investigative reporting, but we also cover the Fort Worth music scene extensively. Some would say in fashion possibly describable as "good."

Cory: Right, but even with the number of freelancers covering local music for The Observer, they still can't cover every single band or relevant story. But between Quick (RIP) and the dozen or so independent bloggers doing their thing, the scene can be covered more thoroughly. To its credit, the Fort Worth scene has become and remained pretty vibrant and healthy without much blog presence. But it would be nice if it got more of the credit for this it deserves from folks outside the city limits. Just like the zine culture in decades past, the number of blogs in a city at any one time is typically a pretty good indicator at how well things are going. Take Dallas, for example. When Deep Ellum was at its lowest point, there were maybe two blogs covering the scene. Now that things are picking back up, more and more clubs are reopening and foot traffic is greatly increasing down there, well over a dozen blogs/local music sites that focus on Dallas proper can be found.

Daniel: The number of blogs is a good indicator of a scene, indeed. But I agree with Anthony, the Fort Worth Weekly has done a good job of covering Fort Worth bands. It's hyperlocal, though, which is probably why the rest of us aren't aware that it has a finger to the pulse of Fort Worth's music scene -- it doesn't pertain to us. Most other zines, blogs or weekly publications look at all three at the same time, while the Fort Worth Weekly largely ignores acts from the other two cities. I get it, though. It's a Fort Worth publication, so why cover anything outside of Fort Worth? And it is a testament to the Fort Worth music scene that Anthony has something to write about each week. Similarly, though, it really seems like each city's music scene bands together. You'll see Denton-does-Dallas nights, a Fort Worth show in Dallas, and likewise. For the most part, it's all friendly, but do you guys see a sense of competition between the three cities' individual music communities?


Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
20 comments
Cat-chaz
Cat-chaz

Should have said at the beginning: GREAT idea for a story, great to get people from different places and positions around the D/D/FW scene, sincere thanks to Daniel, Cory, Anthony, Andy, & Mark fro participating, and for what they do for the scene. 

stan
stan

meh on Ft Worth...the scene might be hopping right now but the bands are all mediocre at best  with the exception of like 2 bands..talent and the actual music is what should make the music scene..not one group of friends that go out and get drunk every night 

Cat-chaz
Cat-chaz

Sorry, but I'll take 10 Johnny Bloggers over one or two "professional writers" any day. Because, duh, 10 way is better than 1 or 2. (To leave aside the obvious argument that there are great Johnny Bloggers and shitty professional writers.) Good professional writers are indispensable when you want to really explain and discuss a band and their music in-depth; a blogger or even a facebook page run by someone with great taste in music is just as effective in telling people what's going on tonight that they shouldn't miss. And 10 good bloggers are ten times more effective. Music fans don't give a shit about print versus blogger rivalries. They just see very needed additional sources. 

Mariani says the Weekly can give ONE PAGE a week to music coverage. ONE fucking page. The best writer on the planet can't cover this badass scene in one page. Music lovers in Fort worth, start your typewriters, er, keyboards. Promote the local scene, and that includes not just 817 bands, but every band that we're lucky enough to have visit our scene. I'm tired of seeing great underground out-of-town bands play Ft. Worth for small crowds, and then not come back. The more music promoters the more better.

Josh
Josh

Thanks Anthony! I always retort the same way to people who complain about either city.  

And to answer Robbie, we play Ft. Worth a ton, you can usually find us at Moon or Lola's. We also put on a ton of shows in Ft. Worth, next one is in conjunction with Ft. Worth Music Co-Op, Sept. 8th at Lola's w/ Spooky Folk, Bad Design, and Sealion.

Robbie D Love
Robbie D Love

Well maybe bands from outside Ft. Worth should play Ft. worth and then they will get written by Ft. Worth. My band, The Red 100's (from Dallas/Denton) have been playing Ft. Worth recently and we've been written about in the Ft. Worth Weekly & DFW.com a few times. oh, & we love Cow Town, tons of great rock N roll bands out in Ft. Worth.

Josh
Josh

I like this topic a lot!  My band has 5 members, 1 from Denton, 1 from Dallas, 2 from Ft. Worth, and 1 from Mid-Cities.  Talk about hometown identity crisis!  We first listed ourselves as Denton because we practiced at RGRS and 3/5 of us met in Bruce Hall 10 years ago.  Then we switched to Dallas, I guess simply because it is the biggest most recognizable city.  But finally we settled on Dallas/Ft. Worth.  So, I'm not sure.  Would the Weekly cover us as a Ft. Worth band?  3/5 of us grew up in the 817 and we still live here.  So what hometown should we claim? For us, I think it truly is a moot point because we have connections and love for all three cities.

As a fan, I go to shows in all three cities.  Each city has different venues I like and a 40 minute drive to me is just another opportunity to jam out to the latest cd in my car. However, I know a ton of Ft. Worth and Dallas people who refuse to make a show in the other town because "it's too far," or Ft. worth people say Dallas is "pretentious" and Dallas people say Ft. Worth is "full of rednecks." I feel Denton is like Switzerland in all of this, honestly, I think they could really care less and the battle is waged mostly between Ft. Worth and Dallas. Not to be too much of a hippie, but c'mon people, one love!     As a show promoter, again, we spread the love.  In Funkytown we put on two shows monthly on Thursdays at Lola's, these shows are always fun and have good crowds. We also do a ton of shows at Grotto and Moon Bar on the weekends. In Dallas we've done shows at Dada, Doublewide, La Grange, and Reno's. Denton is a little different for us, we have done a show or two at Andy's and have one coming at RGRS in October, but I think this has been circumstantial and has no real bearing on what Denton is like from a promoter's perspective.  

Good job on this one guys, wished I had caught the article sooner. 

Tiney
Tiney

This was a great idea and super interesting read! I don't think that the music editor of The FW Weekly understands the importance of the voices of the local scene. Underestimating the power of blogging and internet presence is kind of ignorant. Facebook is hardly a medium to explain how a song feels or what it sounds like. Blogs are giving people who really care about writing a chance to explain it. Not just professional opinion matters ...

Cat-chaz
Cat-chaz

There is a great facebook page covering the Ft. Worth scene in an very big way. Not just 817 bands playing in 817, but following their out of town schedules as well, and covering touring bands playing in Fort Worth and across the metroplex. The Synaptic. Like it, you'll like it.https://www.facebook.com/pages...

Cat-chaz
Cat-chaz

A lot of music bloggers could mean the same thing for a local scene as a lot of music weeklies or even record labels. They are all music promoters, so the more people and avenues promoting local music the more better. In Ft. Worth the Weekly (& now dfw.com) do some great work on 817 bands, but as Anthony Mariani points out, it's so little space, for so many good bands right now. When touring bands or even Dallas or Austin bands play here (Ft. Worth) crowds are very uneven, possibly partially due to lack of local coverage. It will be very interesting to see if the Ridglea can break through that and draw crowds big enough to make the guarantees bigger bands command. More people blogging about who's playing in local clubs certainly couldn't hurt.

Zimmer
Zimmer

these are good until daniel speaks. why does someone that doesnt know about music work for the music section?

Colin
Colin

the NYE Lights All Night is awesome for Dallas. Someone is putting their money where their mouth is, private investor-wise, but could that parlay into success for the local music scene and into other genres? I don't know.

Roger
Roger

Mark: "I do think that there is a disconnect in Dallas and Denton, so some of these bands have a hard time getting booked or heard in those cities."

What the fuck is he talking about?

"There's also the misconception that all bands in Fort Worth are country."

Really?  Really!?!?

Pete, please leave this poseur off any future panels.

Anthony Mariani
Anthony Mariani

I also forgot new albums by The Orbans, Kevin Aldridge & The Appraisers, The Foxymorons (partially based in Nashville), Dru B Shinin’, The Cush, The Villain Vanguard, and Oh Whitney (partially based in NYC), and Sally Majestic, and new artists with new albums, including Earthquake Country and Beauxregard, and albums forthcoming from The Will Callers, The Hendersons, and Rivercrest Yacht Club.

gabriella
gabriella

after announcing the 2-day new years eve bash is uping it for dallas, but i still would go to shows in fort worth and denton then dallas.

AustonianAggie
AustonianAggie

The number of bloggers is indicative of a good scene... lol... have to question the messenger there. For my part I like playing Fort Worth and Denton more than Dallas. Something always seems to go wrong in Dallas.

AnthonyMariani
AnthonyMariani

Thank, Josh, and, yeah, we'd totally cover your band -- we've recently written about The Wooden Birds (Austin band helmed by a Fort Worth native), we frequently wrote about Cadillac Sky (Fort Worth guys who moved to Nashville), and we've mentioned several other artists from the Fort who've moved out of town. As I said before, I wish we could cover the entire area of North Texas, but we have only so many pages and there are so many talented artists in our backyard that we can't rationalize NOT covering them. Funny part about Denton as the Switzerland of North Texas. But, as we all know, there are pretentious people and rednecks in EVERY Texas city. Maybe there's more in Fort Worth, but ... no one is immune.

Anthony Mariani
Anthony Mariani

No, professional opinion is not the only opinion that matters, but there is no substitute for professional WRITING -- just because Johnny Blogger had two or three English classes in high school or college does NOT make him a writer. Anyway, I still don't see any material correlation between the number of blogs and number of good bands. We can all agree that blogs don't beget good bands, and using Fort Worth as Exhibit A, we also can all agree that a good scene is not reliant on blogs -- there's only one music-related blog in town (the aforementioned Stash Dauber), and the writer (Ken Shimamoto, who happens to be a professional writer, natch) only occasionally "covers" local music. Regardless, Fort Worth is thriving. And I also highly doubt the Weekly's constant hyper-local coverage is to credit for all of the success.

Jay Killa
Jay Killa

Thanks for mentioning Dru B Shinin', that seemed a glaring omission in the article.

Robbie D Love
Robbie D Love

Well maybe bands from outside Ft. Worth should play Ft. worth and then they will get written by Ft. Worth. My band, The Red 100's (from Dallas/Denton) have been playing Ft. Worth recently and we've been written about in the Ft. Worth Weekly & DFW.com a few times. oh, & we love Cow Town, tons of great rock N roll bands out in Ft. Worth.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...