The Avett Brothers, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and More at KXT's Summer Cut: Review and Photos
The Avett Brothers | Grace Potter & the Nocturnals | Matt & Kim | RTB2 | Oil Boom | The Roomsounds and more
Gexa Energy Pavilion
June 1, 2013
The rain at KXT's Summer Cut started (for the second time) around 9 p.m., partway through Grace Potter & the Nocturnals' set. It sent half the people sitting out on the lawn running, either home or to the cover of Gexa Energy Pavilion's actual pavilion.
But a little rain wasn't stopping a group of East Dallas parents, whose spirits improved with the worsening weather. They donned garbage bags, which given how ripped they ended up can't have been much of a deterrent. That didn't matter. They sat in their rented lawn chairs and laughed, giddy from the beer and the weather and feeling self-effacing.
"We have kids," said one father. "We don't get to shows too often. We rented lawn chairs."
His friend chimed in, grinning. "Yeah, but look at around at everyone without chairs. They all look like they shat their pants."
As at every amphitheater venue everywhere in the country, the most fun at Gexa Energy Pavilion is had out on the lawn. Maybe not specifically -- the people up close are often diehards for one band or another. And maybe they get a chance to achieve live music transcendence down there where they can actually make out the expression on the faces of a band they love. But generally, the atmosphere under the metal roof with the concrete walls is much more stifled. Fewer new friends are made. Assigned seats will do that to you.
So the sound is kind of a muddy mess out there on the grass and the sightlines are crap. All these bands will play a club somewhere in Dallas in the next couple years; go to that if you're looking for nuance. What a festival like Summer Cut offers is the chance to sample some music while you spend a day inside a gated area where real-world responsibilities do not enter. That's why the best seats in the house are out in the grass, where you can smell the sunscreen and pot smoke, and the beer vendors zig-zag through the blankets. And when the rain comes, everyone just pokes three holes in a trash bag or huddles close to someone with an umbrella and the camaraderie only improves.
There were two stages at Summer Cut this year -- the big one and a small pop-up stage on the west side of the amphitheater. That's where all the local bands played, out by the food trucks and the bathrooms and the climate-controlled VIP area. It's better than sticking them on the main stage, actually, where they'd get to play three songs to a crowd leaving for a bathroom break or a beer refill between touring bands.
Instead, KXT all-stars The Roomsounds, Oil Boom and RTB2 were right where everyone was headed anyway. (The Orbans would have played last on the side stage, but the rain kept them from playing at all). These are all veteran rock bands who know how to catch the ear of someone who never thought he'd listen to local music. They also all brought fans, and if you're a regular listener of KXT you've heard them all anyway. So theirs were surprisingly triumphant sets.
Oil Boom, playing between Dawes and Matt & Kim, started with an audience of maybe 50 scattered, unfocused people. They drew those people close and earned the cheers of several hundred more. The Fort Worth trio is prepping a 7-inch for release later this year -- they sounded particularly crisp on Saturday, adding nimble guitar work and hairpin rhythms to the Americana I've heard from them in the past.