Meet the 2013 Dallas Observer Music Showcase Lineup: This Saturday, November 2
This Saturday, Deep Ellum will become a North Texas music family reunion for the Dallas Observer Music Showcase, with 58 bands on eight stages. The lineup ranges from experimental noise bands to hypnotic singer-songwriters. There are rappers playing damn near their first gigs and rock bands returning from cross-country tours. Because you'll have to make some decisions here, we thought we'd let you know a little bit about each of the DOMA nominees playing at this year's showcase.
All photos by Jason Janik.
Trees, 2709 Elm St.
Fishr Pryce, 6 p.m.
A veteran of the Dallas DJ scene, Fishr Pryce knows the city well, and knows how to get us moving. Though his background is in hip-hop, Fishr can rock a Top 40, R&B or dance set with the ease of a true pro. Vanessa Quilantan
Señor Fîn, 7 p.m.
The fresh faces of Denton's Señor Fîn might have you thinking conventional indie rock. But you'd be missing the inventiveness of the group, whose spellbinding single "Spinning Circles" sounds like a night stumbling in the wilderness near the border. They jump time signatures and vocal octaves with effortless purpose, and the result is the rare young band that never gets boring. Kiernan Maletsky
Home By Hovercraft, 8 p.m.
The remarkable debut full-length by Home By Hovercraft sounds like the soundtrack to a musical about the space race. Which makes sense, given the theatrical background of many of its members, including primary songwriters Seth and Shawn Magill. Their lead vocals are flexible and powerful. They are more than enough to carry the mini-orchestra employed by the rest of the band. KM
The Danny Church Band. Photo by Jason Janik
Danny Church Band, 9 p.m.
Etched from neon lights and high fashion, The Danny Church Band's reputation only gets better each week. Like the Dram, where they remain the regular house band, the group is as classy and uptown as Dallas bands come. Their beatific electrosoul instrumentals paired with Church's glorious R&B vocals assure that they are every bit as musically interesting as their hyper-tailored outfits make them out to appear. Jonathan Patrick
Ishi, 10 p.m.
One of the most popular live acts in DFW, Ishi is a blast to the senses who have supported acts like Snoop and New Order. Coming off new album Digital Wounds from earlier this year, the Best Electronic Act nominees will be a mainstay of Dallas music for as long as they want to be. Gavin Cleaver
Parranda Venezuela, 11 p.m.
These 20 North Texas-dwelling Venezuelans are extremely skilled in performing their native folk music. Their holiday sets of Venezuelan Christmas songs are sure to add a little Latin flavor to your season. VQ
A.Dd+. Photo by Jason Janik
The MC duo of Paris Pershun and Slim Gravy had yet another breakout year in 2013, playing for more than 750 people at the Granada in February and making plenty of new friends on the festival circuit. A national release of their long-awaited Dive Hi Fly Lo is imminent. It's been a steady climb, but these two always seem to be having more fun than everyone else. KM
Booty Fade, 1 a.m.
The dynamic duo of DJ Sober and producer Picnictyme have been a driving force in Dallas' party scene for some time. With Booty Fade, they celebrate their city, turning Dallas rap samples into high-energy club music. VQ
Three Links, 2704 Elm St.
Big Charles Young, 6 p.m.
There are very few more purely entertaining musicians in North Texas than Big Charles Young. He got his start working all the odd jobs at R.L.'s Blues Palace #2 in South Dallas, and the time spent observing served him well when he finally took the leap behind the microphone. His voice is clear as a bell and his smile is seductive. KM
Paul Slavens, 7 p.m.
Very few artists were nominated for the first DOMAs, in 1988, and also this year. One is Paul Slavens, who has proven himself a versatile player for bands like Ten Hands (with whom he got that first nod) and The Baptist Generals (one of four he got this year). His solo work is impressive -- for proof of his skill, one need look no further than his nights of improvised songs. You give him a few words (and a tip) and he comes back with an invention that's as frequently entertaining as it is just plain good. KM
The Phuss, 8 p.m.
Fort Worth trio The Phuss sound like a bad part of Detroit on a bad day. Their music is greasy and loud and their demeanor is mean and the whole thing makes them one of the best live acts in North Texas. KM
Jessie Frye, 9 p.m.
The full-length debut of Denton songwriter Jessie Frye has been a long time coming. Specifically, it comes two and a half years since her excellent EP, Fireworks Child. The new stuff promises more instrumental complexity, at least if lead single "White Heat" is any indication, but the highlight is still Frye's voice, a desperate, powerful thing. KM
-topic, 10 p.m.
The Team From Nowhere rapper is one of the most consistent performers in the city, constantly playing shows and steadily releasing new material throughout the year. Both -topic's lyricism and production skills make him a standout in the Dallas rap scene. VQ
Blixaboy. Photo by Jason Janik
Blixaboy, 11 p.m.
Wanz Dover, aka Blixaboy, is one of the musical constants of our area for the last 25 years. A jack of all trades, and a master of all of them too, Wanz can sometimes be seen in his band The Black Dotz. But recently he's become best known for his outstanding electronic project, Blixaboy. GC
Pinkish Black, midnight
While most metal bands merely posture in a façade of grim doom, Pinkish Black were literally conceived in it -- spawned in the wake of a former bandmate's suicide. (The band name is an allusion to the bloody color of the walls where his body was found.) Apart from being one of the most adventurous metal acts around, Pinkish Black have achieved what was once thought impossible: success as a metal band sans guitar and bass. Fresh off their second LP release -- which, like their first, has received international critical acclaim -- the analog synth and drum duo continue to show that they are out to tear the metal scene asunder. JP
Eat Avery's Bones, 1 a.m.
At a recent gig in Denton, Eat Avery's Bones began their set by asking, "Are you ready? You better be," and then, amidst a torrent of mangled noises and tumbling improvisation patterns, proceeded to crash the eardrums of everyone present. Therein lies the wonderful problem with EAB: There's no way to properly ready yourself for their eruptive DIY freak-outs -- a music that is always boiling toward fruition while destroying itself in the process. This is the stuff of Iggy Pop's wet dreams. JP
The Door at The Prophet Bar, 2513 Main St.
Yeahdef, 6:20 p.m.
Joey "Yeahdef" Liechty is notorious for his long-standing role in Denton's nightlife scene. The skilled, still-young DJ knows the college town demographic like the back of his hand, and rarely disappoints live. VQ
Sweatloaf. Photo by Jason Janik
Sweatloaf, 7:20 p.m.
Butthole Surfers tribute band Sweatloaf bring a pandemonium to their performances the real thing would be proud of. There are weird back-up dancers, cross-dressing singers, clothespins and general mayhem. They can play the hell out of the songs, too, but that hardly seems like the point. KM
Rhymin 'n' Stealin, 8:20 p.m.
Three former stand-up comedians combine to make Beastie Boys tribute Rhymin 'n' Stealin. As we'll never get to see the real thing again (oh Lord, why?), this is the closest thing you'll get, and the impression is remarkable. So good is R&S' Ad-Rock, I'm still unsure as to whether or not it was the actual MC. GC
Mayta. Photo by Jason Janik
Mayta, 9:20 p.m.
Dallas supergroup Mayta is a seven-member collective of working musicians, who fuse every aspect of Latin music into a sound that's entirely their own. Brothers and bandmates Ivan, Renato and Victor Rimach bring a taste of their native Lima, Peru, to the city with every show. VQ
Dustin Cavazos, 10:20 p.m.
Dustin Cavazos was already one of Dallas' best rappers. Then he enlisted a live band and found new focus in his material, and now his show is a singular experience. The Oak Cliff native has charm and wordplay to spare. KM
Def Rain, 11:20 p.m.
Def Rain is the electronic project of prolific songwriter Ashley Cromeens. From metal to hip-hop and now to synth-pop, Cromeens has done it all. The hazy, globular synths of Def Rain's music may sound like soundtrack excerpts from retro-futuristic sci-fi films (think Blade Runner), but they never cease to stir the mind and move the body in equal measure. JP
The Effinays, 12:20 a.m.
It's jazz, it's funk, it's soul, it's rock, and most importantly, it's fun as all hell. The Effinays' multi-genre stage show is made even more entertaining by the band's penchant for theatrics. VQ