Slayer Rose Above the Death of Jeff Hanneman Last Night at Verizon Theatre

Categories: Last Night

John Gilhooley
Slayer performing in California in fall of 2013

With Exodus
Verizon Theatre, Grand Prairie
Wednesdany, November 19, 2014

When I was 12, I wanted to listen to Slayer. I wanted to listen to Slayer so badly. My cousin got to see them whenever they played Los Angeles and he had all of their albums. I was listening to a lot of heavier stuff at the time: Metallica, Black Sabbath and others. My cousin kept telling me I was too young for Slayer. He said it wasn't for me. I didn't get it. So after skipping lunch for a few days, I hopped on my bike to the Warehouse Music near my house with enough money for a Slayer CD. My cousin, much to my disdain, told my parents to make sure that I don't listen to Slayer, so the whole excursion was a bit of a secret mission for me.

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The Black Keys Settled Into Arena Rock Professionalism at AAC Last Night

Categories: Last Night

T. Scott Dearmore
The Black Keys brought a colorful stage presentation to the AAC.

The Black Keys
With Jake Bugg.
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Sunday, November 16, 2014

A quick glance over the past decade of rock music doesn't exactly produce an over-abundance of true, guitar-driven bands that have climbed up from the club circuit and into the realm of massive-scale arena rock. These days, 20,000-seat arenas such as the American Airlines Center are primarily home to the styling of A-list pop stars, aging classic rockers and crossover country hit makers.

But on Sunday night, with the home of the Mavericks and Stars held prisoner by history making amounts of driving snow and menacing ice (not really, but scattered flurries dispose many of us to hyperbole), the Black Keys delivered a tight set of legit, wall-to-wall arena rock.

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Sturgill Simpson Gave Country Fans Reason to Believe at Club Dada on Saturday

Categories: Last Night

Mike Brooks
Sturgill Simpson played two sold-out shows at Club Dada on Saturday night
Sturgill Simpson
With Cris Jacobs
Cub Dada, Dallas
Saturday, November 15, 2014

There are many of us who are deeply concerned about the future of country music. These are likely concerns that our parents had, and theirs before them. Every generation always thinks that the one after their own is going to fuck everything up, but when it comes to the current state of country music, this concern is scarily prescient. At this point it probably sounds pedantic, but there is nothing country about the music that Nashville is cranking out without thought today.

Nearly fifteen years after "Murder on Music Row," it's hard to argue that George Strait and Alan Jackson weren't entirely clairvoyant. They saw what money-grubbing record executives had in store for country music as it rapidly gained mainstream appeal, and what it meant not only for the Hag, the Possum, and Hank, but also for artists like Sturgill Simpson. And they were right: When's the last time you heard one of his tracks on country radio? My guess is never.

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Pizza Underground was One Big, Bizarre Pop Art Joke at Trees Last Night

Categories: Last Night

Courtesy the artist
Is anyone home? Pizza Underground cuts straight to the punchline

Pizza Underground
With Har Mar Superstar and Candy Boys
Trees, Dallas
Monday, November 10, 2014

New York's underground art scene put on an unofficial art installation in Dallas Monday night, bringing some of its most incomprehensible acts to Trees . Leading the way was Macaulay Culkin and performance-art-piece-meets-Herman-Cain-YouTube-video, the Pizza Underground.

Culkin, who had goofed on a recent death hoax with a Weekend at Bernie's shtick at Fun Fun Fun Fest on Saturday, had already visited Dallas with the Pizza Underground -- a Velvet Underground cover band that changes all the lyrics to an ode to pizza -- back in the spring. Somewhere Lou Reed is rolling in his grave with laughter, and Andy Warhol is probably rejoicing. After all, Culkin, just the sort of pop culture icon Warhol would've painted had he been alive in the '90s, parodying the very band he helped make famous.

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Sky Ferreira was an Enjoyable Train Wreck at Fun Fun Fun Fest Last Night

Categories: Last Night

Blake Ward
Sky Ferreira was undeterred by a host of problems at The Belmont in Austin on Sunday

Fun Fun Fun Fest
With Sky Ferreira
The Belmont, Austin
Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sometimes being bad at something isn't the worst thing in the world. Take Sky Ferreira's late-night performance at The Belmont in Austin on Sunday, which helped round off the three-day music celebration that was Fun Fun Fun Fest. To be frank, it wasn't good. In fact, it was pretty bad. And yet, for some reason, it was hard not to like it -- or, at the least, to still like Ferreira. Music is funny that way sometimes.

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Eli Young Band's House Party was a Mixed Bag at Globe Life Park on Saturday

Categories: Last Night

Heather Bohn
Eli Young Band brought their House Party to the Rangers ballpark for the second year running

Eli Young Band's House Party
With Pat Green, Gary Allan, Cody Johnson and Maddie and Tae
Globe Life Park, Arlington
Saturday, November 8, 2014

Before Saturday night's House Party at Globe Life Park, it was a mystery to me why the Eli Young Band wasn't a bigger deal or more well known or why Nashville hadn't fully embraced them yet. They have a decent number of catchy radio-friendly hits and the band's leader, Mike Eli, is a plenty marketable frontman. They're just as good as anyone else in today's country music.

I had only seen Eli Young Band live once before and that was in college when they played for a fraternity's charity event. That was five years ago, and they were good from all that I can remember -- maybe not quite remarkable, but pretty good all the same. Seeing the band's second annual House Party, however, gave me a little bit of clarity.

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King Diamond Had a Rare Texas Homecoming at Fun Fun Fun Fest on Saturday

Categories: Last Night

Mike Brooks
King Diamond had a homecoming of sorts in Austin over the weekend

Fun Fun Fun Fest
With King Diamond
Auditorium Shores, Austin
Saturday, November 8, 2014

King Diamond was not messing around with his stage setup at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin. The headlining set for the Black Stage on Saturday night, it came complete with gates on the front of the stage, neon inverted crosses, and a large baphomet symbol behind the band. King Diamond's music has always been about concept and theatre, and Fest goers were treated to visuals the likes of which they will not soon forget. Before "Welcome Home," King forebodingly asked the crowd, "Do you guys want to meet my grandma?" After a raucous approval, King wheeled out a disfigured old hag who flailed about for the duration of the song.

And then it was time to introduce his band. "Please welcome drummer Matt Thompson from Denton, Texas," King Diamond announceed. The crowd, apparently oblivious to the local connection, stayed silent. "It's, uh, a little north of Dallas," he added. Then the crowd went wild.

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Power Trip and Wiccans Joined Hardcore Legends at Fun Fun Fun Fest Saturday Night

Categories: Last Night

Ken Penn
Power Trip (pictured playing Dallas) played alongside hardcore legends Forward at Fun Fun Fun Saturday
Fun Fun Fun Fest
With Forward, Long Knife, World to Burn, Power Trip and Wiccans
The North Door, Austin
Saturday, November 8, 2014

On Saturday night's edition of the Fun Fun Fun Fest Nites shows, two of Texas' best hardcore acts took the stage. Wiccans of Denton and Power Trip of Dallas played at the North Door to do a little experimentation as they opened for a host of metal and hardcore acts topped off by Japanese legends Forward. Shortly after the fest let out, Wiccans hit the stage at around 10 o'clock to play their brand of rock-'n'-roll-influenced hardcore punk. The band took the show as an opportunity to play four new songs off a new album that they will be recording soon. As a result, the show became a bit of a showcase for guitarist Shea Michael Brooks who helped to write the new songs.

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Run the Jewels Were Hip Hop's Great Unifiers Last Night at Trees

Categories: Last Night

Courtesy the artist
They may act hard, but deep down Run the Jewels are a couple of big old softies
Run the Jewels
Trees, Dallas
Thursday, November 6, 2014

The blood red tour bus bearing Run The Jewels' name and signature iconography - two mummified hands, one surrendering a gold chain to the other, gestured as a gun - glared in the early afternoon sun outside of Trees in Deep Ellum, visible from nearly every vantage between Good Latimer and Malcolm X. The duo, consisting of rap veterans Killer Mike and El-P, joined forces just a year ago following shared credits on each other's 2012 projects (Killer Mike's R.A.P. Music and El-P's critically acclaimed Cancer 4 Cure.)

The single collaborative effort that emerged from the duo's palpable chemistry was Run the Jewels' 2013 self-titled album and this year's follow-up, Run the Jewels 2. The product has been universally regarded as the all-star performance of two of underground hip-hop's most formidable titans, and the blood red tour bus bearing Run The Jewels' name and logo, glaring in the early afternoon sun outside of Trees in Deep Ellum dared to prove it.

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Slipknot Resurrected the Past for Halloween at Gexa on Friday

Categories: Last Night

Mike Mezeul
Slipknot were in "costume" at Gexa for Halloween on Friday

With KoRn
Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas
Friday, October 31, 2014

Music is weird. It has a way of sticking around in your life, or coming back when you thought you'd left if behind. I first heard KoRn when I was nine years old when my little brother got a copy of Life Is Peachy. My first show ever was KoRn at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim in March 2000. By then I'd also been introduced to Slipknot, who were everything a socially maladjusted teenage kid could ever want in a band: They were vulgar, abrasive, heavy on the theatrics and masochistic like no other bands. I watched Slipknot's Welcome To Our Neighborhood VHS hundreds of times, taking in every detail about the band. I even went so far as answering fan mail on fansite

So the prospect of attending the Prepare For Hell tour with both KoRn and Slipknot (on Halloween, no less) was an especially intriguing prospect for me. I hadn't listened to either band in over a decade. Going to Gexa Energy Pavilion last Saturday was like heading out in search of my youth.

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