Let's Stop Glorifying Deep Ellum's Golden Years

Categories: Columns

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Mike Brooks
The future looks bright for Deep Ellum. Let's focus on it, not the past

It's a good time to be a fan of live music in Dallas. With the smashing success of The Bomb Factory's reopening last weekend, it's clear that the local scene, and in particular its hub in Deep Ellum, is the strongest it's been in ages. Thousands of people flocked to the revived venue to enjoy performances from Erykah Badu, Sarah Jaffe and the Toadies, with lines wrapping around the block to get in.

The scenes from weekend were enough to get older fans to reminisce about the good old days of the neighborhood, but they're only half right. In a lot of key ways, the Deep Ellum of today is far better than the old one we spend our times glorifying. Just ask the people who are happy to simply have an air conditioning unit in The Bomb Factory.


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South By So What Has Become Dallas' High-Brow Alternative to the Warped Tour

Categories: Columns

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Rachel Parker
South By So What, the place where kids of all ages can be themselves
While SXSW rages on to the south of us in Austin, another festival has set up shop in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area to cater to a niche of it own. Imagine the Warped Tour crowd: your 15-year-old mall metal kid; your aspiring 19-year-old Instagram model; your "bandana wrapped around the boot, bandana in the back pocket, and bandana wrapped around the neck" deathcore kid. This festival in Dallas is designed for the likes of them. It is Warped Tour come early. But what sets South By So What apart from an average metalcore fest is the amount of work they put into capturing the older audience's sense of nostalgia.

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In Praise of Carlos Santana, Rock 'N' Roll's Great Cultural Unifier

Categories: Columns

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Courtesy the artist
Carlos Santana plays at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie tonight
By Nick Gaitan

After all these years, it's easy to take Carlos Santana for granted. Far too many of us may try and dismiss his work with an Onion-style joke about "Smooth." But what Santana has done for music, and particularly Latin culture, over his decades-long career should never be underestimated. Even if you can't name his most recent albums, his name and work stand the test of time. And as he arrives in Dallas tonight for a show at Verizon Theatre, it's high time we stop and reconsider all that his trailblazing work has done.

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In Defense of Rob Thomas

Categories: Columns

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Andrew McPherson
Rob Thomas is coming (well, to Choctaw). Do you even know how lucky you are?
Rob Thomas is playing at Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant, Oklahoma on Saturday, March 14. But, you already knew that. You screamed, "OH, HELL YES" when you saw the giant billboard on I-75 here in Dallas with his giant Rob Thomas face on it and those intense Rob Thomas eyeballs staring right into your white-blues soul. You went online to buy tickets, and things got even better: this is a Rob Thomas solo tour.

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Why We're Not Sad to See Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic Go

Categories: Columns

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Christian McPhate
It looks like Willie Nelson has played his last Fourth of July in the Stockyards
Just after noon on July 4, 2005, I was sitting under a blazing sun in a dusty, wide-open field behind Billy Bob's Texas in the Fort Worth Stockyards. I had just unpacked my folding chair and settled in for the first of what would be over a dozen performances during my first-ever Willie Nelson's Fourth of July Picnic. Though I was 29 at the time, and had lived my entire life in Texas, I couldn't help but feel I was finally earning my Texas-residency card for real at that point.

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Nightlife in Expo Park is Flatlining

Categories: Columns

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Amsterdam Bar on Facebook
The patio is deserted at Amsterdam (snow not pictured). What about the rest of Expo Park?

There are plenty of places in Dallas to go get drunk, but some neighborhoods have more charm and community than others. That's what makes us flock to them and to then keep coming back. This week, Dallas lost one of its best watering holes in Exposition Park's Amsterdam Bar. For an establishment that lasted nearly 20 years in such a fickle city, Amsterdam's departure doesn't bode well for the surrounding neighborhood.


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Why Doesn't Dallas Have a Bluegrass Scene?

Categories: Columns

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Bluegrass Heritage Foundation Facebook/Derrick Birdsall
A gorgeous day at a recent Bloomin' Bluegrass Festival in Farmers Branch

For fans of most genres of music, it takes but only a few moments scrolling down our Concert Calendar, a Twitter feed or your Facebook page activity to stumble upon a local concert that interests you. Chances are you have a small handful of favorite venues that more often than not will have a bill suited to your musical tastes. Rock, hip hop, metal, country and DJs are all readily represented. In short, there's little to complain about in North Texas if you are an admirer of most forms of music.

But don't tell that to a fan of traditional bluegrass.

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Aaron Watson's "The Underdog" Proves Texas Country is Growing Up

Categories: Columns

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Courtesy the artist
Aaron Watson
To be completely honest, Aaron Watson has never been one of my favorite Texas country artists. He's recorded solid songs in his 15-year career ("Lonely Lubbock Nights" comes to mind) but has generally been surpassed by contemporaries like Pat Green and Charlie Robison in terms of commercial and critical success. On his latest release, though, it seems as if Aaron Watson has settled down into a mature rhythm that really suits him as an artist.

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Garth Brooks Is Just Toying with Dallas Now

Categories: Columns

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Tony Nelson
We see what you did there. Garth Brooks is coming back to Dallas, but still not for a concert
Finally: Garth Brooks is coming back to Dallas. After more than seven years and a snub of the entire state of Texas on his comeback tour, yesterday he -- hey, wait a minute. This isn't actually a concert he's playing? He's just hosting a pre-party for the American Country Music Awards? Oh hell no.

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Jack White Should Bring His Fancy Rider and Suspect Guac Recipe to Dallas

Categories: Columns

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Mary Ellen Matthews
Don't overthink this one, Jack. Just come on back to Dallas.
It's been six long years since Jack White last played Dallas, in a show at House of Blues with the Dead Weather. It's about time he pay us another visit.

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