The Best Five Dallas Venues to See a Show for Free

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Tiger Darrow at Patio Sessions
In these economic times, the live music budget in many households is one of the first to go. When things get tight you either need superior finagling skills or a place to see free shows.

Of course, there are tons of free shows in town. In fact, if you head over to Potbelly right now you'll catch a guy playing 3rd Eye Blind covers for the lunch rush. I'm not talking about those. I mean places where you can catch real, legitimate concerts -- sometimes featuring national touring acts -- for free. To help you and your low-budget, summer concert-going ways, here are five places that regularly feature good, free shows.

AT&T Performing Arts Center's Patio Sessions
First off, some disclosure: The Observer sponsors Patio Sessions, which happens every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the venue's front courtyard. I go to this thing every week, not for work but because it's a relaxed way to see some of the area's best acts. Last night was Ryan Thomas Becker (who was incredible) followed by a great performance from Telegraph Canyon's Chris Johnson. Also, there are food trucks nearby for face-stuffing.

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The Common Table
The Common Table is still sort of finding its identity. It's one of the best beer bars in town, a decent restaurant, and now a live music venue. They've enlisted Spune Productions to do all of the booking, so you end up with a great blend of local, sometimes internationally known music. Last week it was British shoegaze act The Telescopes and before that you had avant-jazz family Yells At Eels. There are several shows a week here at The Common Table, and they're always free.

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The stage and backdrop at The Foundry
The Foundry
One of The Foundry's owners, Chris Jeffers, will be the focus of a story in next week's Observer The Foundry, one of the best new music venues Dallas has had in some time, is the reason why. Jeffers has brought on Kris Youmans at Tactics Productions to handle all the booking. Mostly it's been local bands like The Black Dotz and Dove Hunter. Jeffers hopes to get some national acts in there soon, but it's difficult to pull off when the shows are free.

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Brian Rash
Hares On The Mountain at Dan's Silverleaf
Dan's Silverleaf
The shows at Denton Venue Dan's Silverleaf aren't always free. In fact, most of the time they're not. But at least twice a week, you can see a good show from a local or regional act at no cover charge. Every Sunday, Hares On The Mountain, featuring Ryan Thomas Becker and George Neal, perform for free at 5 p.m. There are also free shows on the regular from Paul Slavens, Boxcar Bandits and a handful of other acts.

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Ben Kweller at Good Records.
Good Records
I've said this many times before: not only is Good Records a fantastic record store, it's one of the best places to see a show in town. Didn't get tickets to (insert big touring show here)? A lot of the time Good Records has the band on their astro-turf stage a few hours before their actual show for free. Not to mention, sometimes record labels spring for a keg of beer or two at these in-store performances, so you get free beer too.

Location Info

Map

AT&T Performing Arts Center

2403 Flora St., Dallas, TX

Category: General

The Common Table

2917 Fairmount St., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

The Foundry

2303 Pittman St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Good Records

1808 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

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10 comments
mark
mark

It doesn't quite fit the theme here, but the jazz nights at Amsterdam are killer. It's the only place, I know of, (I imagine there are plenty I don't) that has real straight ahead jazz. Not smooth jazz/R&B.

Ricklawson1
Ricklawson1

This summer come on over to Arlington at the Levitt Pavilion for 50 free concerts on Friday and Saturday!

todd
todd

give me lee harvey's.

G_David
G_David

The Foundry's website proclaims that they have live music most weekends.  I've been on Saturday night twice, neither of which featured a band.  Needless to say, I didn't stay long either time.

Dr Clarkus
Dr Clarkus

Good Records dominates this and it's not even close.

Daniel Hopkins
Daniel Hopkins

Yeah, I love Badass Jazz on Mondays. Fantastic night of free music.

mark
mark

Don't get me wrong, great place. Fun times. Problem with music at Lee Harvey's is the vast majority of acts are cover bands. Rarely do they host bands with original music.

mark
mark

Well, they only recently opened. I'm aware of the thinking that when you're open you should be ready to roll at full capacity. Personally, I think it's perfectly fine to expect to wait a bit for new businesses to get the kinks worked out and get going. Maybe the author jumped the gun a bit calling The Foundry, "the best new music venue Dallas has had in some time", but it definitely has the potential. I'll wait.

todd
todd

yeah i know, live original is more my speed,  but i can't embrace the thought process of "great place. Fun times. Problem..."   

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