The 10 Best Dallas Metal Venues
Since the days of Joe's Garage, North Texas' metal venues have hosted some groundbreaking local bands like Rigor Mortis, Pantera and Drowning Pool with mosh pits reaching same intensity as the ones appearing at summer festivals at Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, Dr Pepper Arena in Frisco or Quicktrip Park in Grand Praire.
As any old metalhead in the "metalplex" will tell you that finding an appropriate place to allow the electric guitars to shred and the mosh pit to grow hasn't always been easy. In the early '80s, most metal bands had to sacrifice to the gods of thunder in a pasture as part of Jerry Warden's "Heavy Meadows" extravaganza, an event that always ended with people taking a nature hike to dodge police helicopters.
Today, dozens of venues showcasing local and national metal acts can be found across North Texas, and when one disappears, two more take their place. To pay homage to these bar owners who put up with the mosh pit and the messy aftermath that sometimes follow when you get a group of people fueled with too many whiskey shots moving in a circle with their elbows leading the way, here's a list of the best metal venues in North Texas to "let the bodies hit the floor."
10. The Rail Club
3101 Joyce Dr., Fort Worth
There's no derailing the mosh pit when it begins to affect the crowd at The Rail Club. The stage faces an outer wall instead of the bar like other metal venues, offering minimal escape routes if the mosh pit grows too large. Of course, who would want to escape the pit? The closeness just adds to the brotherhood that most people feel when they walk through the door. Offering metal (and other genres) on the weekends, this place has a killer sound system, phenomenal bartenders and new owners investing even more money to help make this place one of the premier venues in DFW.
Upcoming shows: Primal Concrete Cowboys, July 26, DFW NORML's 1st Annual Metal Show, Aug. 2, and Warebeast, Aug. 8
9. The Boiler Room
2723 Elm St., Dallas
Stevie Benton, bassist for Drowning Pool, is part owner of this corner bar located just off Elm and Crowdus streets in Deep Ellum. It's a local favorite and a premier metal venue that offers an intimate setting to start a mosh pit (and probably safer, too, since moshers would have to go into another room to find a chair to throw). Daily drink specials, a 150-inch big screen playing sports and a menu that includes burgers, tacos and more just add to this place's appeal. It was voted Best Rock Bar in 2011 and still lives up to this moniker by offering up acts like Freakshow Band, Primoridus and Metal Man Sam.
Upcoming shows: House Harkonnen, June 27 and Parrkos, June 29
8. Gas Monkey Bar and Grill
10261 Technology Blvd. E., Dallas
One of Dallas' hottest concert venues, Gas Monkey Bar and Grill provides bands with a main stage on the southernmost patio that overlooks a lake. But the biggest selling point for bands and fans alike is the $300,000 worth of sound equipment. Gas Monkey staff also tailor the venue to meet the needs of the band jamming on stage. The front of the stage can act as a dance floor for "ragtag hippies" dancing to reggae or a perfect spot to start a mosh pit when Goatwhore, Dying Fetus and Thy Art is Murder arrive in July.
Upcoming shows: David Allen Coe, July 2, Pentagram with Venomous Maximus, July 5 and The Summer Slaughter Tour: Morbid Angel, July 27
7. South Side Ballroom
1135 S. Lamar St., Dallas
Part of the world famous Gilley's Dallas, this legendary venue has showcased some phenomenal metal acts, including Lamb of God, HELLYEAH! and Slayer. It's also home of John Travolta's Urban Cowboy legacy. Four long bars that border the venue allow drinks to flow quicker and smoother, a large open area -- more than 23,000 square feet -- in front of the stage has formed some massive mosh pits. Despite a TABC probe after people reported teenagers were drinking and smoking marijuana at a Ghostland Observatory concert (shocking, I know), South Side Ballroom is still one of the best places to watch bands like Slayer paying homage to the thunder gods.
Upcoming shows: Coheed and Cambria, Sept. 15
6. Diamond Jim's Saloon
305 Great SW Pkwy., Arlington
On the outskirts of Arlington, the birthplace of the metal scene in DFW, is where you'll find this new metal venue. The outside doesn't look like an abandoned retail shop or warehouse. It actually resembles a modern day saloon with iron horses parked out front. Local band Warlock's Jerry Warden has been offering metal acts such as Murder Junkies, SlutHammer and Sons of Bitches under his other moniker "Elmo Jones Productions" on a weekly basis. This is a "kick-ass live music venue where leather jackets and tattoos are king." A small stage sits in a dark, smoky space, providing bands a perfect atmosphere to unleash their metal. The small mosh pits have left the owner scratching his head, but he always has a smile on his face, says Warden.
Upcoming shows: Absence of Despair, June 25, and Rogue Radio, June 28