Mastodon at South Side Music Hall, 10/22/14

Categories: Last Night

Timothy Norris
Mastodon performing in Los Angeles earlier this year

South Side Music Hall, Dallas
Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My wife does a thing with our son to get him to try new food. You remember what it was like being a kid and having a new food forced on you. What is this intruder on the side of my plate? Why would I eat this? It's not made from potatoes. It's a weird color.

What my wife does is simply put the alien food on his plate, and he doesn't have to touch or even acknowledge it. He's just getting used to it. He's never allowed to say he doesn't like a food. It'll be on his plate three or four times before he tries a bite, and by then he's used to it being there. It's genius, and it almost always works. It's not that he doesn't like a food; he's just not used to it yet.

This is exactly how I feel about the new Mastodon records.

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Charli XCX at Trees, 10/18/14

Categories: Last Night

Mike Brooks
Charli XCX brought pop-star power to Trees on Saturday night

Charli XCX
Trees, Dallas
Saturday, October 18, 2014

Charli XCX's tour trucks are humming outside of Trees. The trucks are heavy duty and pack enough artillery for a pop star, or at least enough to adequately hold all of the junk LeBron James might need transported in a move from Miami to Cleveland. It's the first of many signs that Charli XCX wasn't supposed to be playing Trees in the fall of 2014.

From the moment she struts confidently across the stage with a bright hue of pink neon lights shining behind her, you get a sense that Dallas and all of the other cities on her current tour got pretty lucky to see this person perform at a moderately sized venue. She's a pop star, or at least on the cusp of being one, and she's more genuine and interesting and edgier than most. The first song she performs is the title track from her upcoming album, Sucker. The chorus: "Fuck you, sucker." Her gesture is, of course, the middle finger.

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Sharon Van Etten at Kessler Theater, 10/17/14

Categories: Last Night

Doug Davis
Sharon Van Etten put on a warm and engaging performance at the Kessler last Friday
Sharon Van Etten
With Tiny Ruins
Kessler Theater, Dallas
Friday, October 17, 2014

There are shows that are a joy because they celebrate the music; the recent War on Drugs show is a great recent example. And there are shows that are a joy because of what you learn about the artist. Friday's performance by Sharon Van Etten and her band at the Kessler Theater was just such a show. Van Etten revealed herself to be a relaxed, engaging and upbeat personality.

All of which was an enormous relief to me. Her voice is exquisite. Her lyrics are moving. Yet so unrelentingly mournful are her songs that I can't listen to more than three of them in a row without having to tamp down the urge to call a suicide prevention line.

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Paul McCartney at American Airlines Center, 10/13/14

Categories: Last Night

Mike Brooks
Thumbs up to you, Sir Paul: The former Beatle played a makeup date at AAC Monday night
Paul McCartney
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Monday, October 13, 2014

It's a funny thing, seeing one of the Beatles. On the one hand, it's not as rare of an opportunity as you might think; after all, Ringo Starr just played his second show in the area in less than three months. And that show came just two days before Sir Paul McCartney showed up to play the American Airlines Center on Monday night. On the other hand, this was Paul McCartney. You know, one half of the greatest songwriting duo in pop music history, and probably the world's greatest living musical icon.

Then think about the fact that Monday's performance -- 50 years on from the one and only appearance of the Beatles in Dallas -- was rescheduled from June, when a health scare forced Macca to postpone a fistful of his shows. Suddenly each occasion has that much more heft. He makes for an awfully youthful 72 years old, but we can't rely on that lasting forever.

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Social Distortion at Gas Monkey Live, 10/11/14

Categories: Last Night

Courtesy the artist
Social Distortion opened the new Gas Monkey Live concert venue on Saturday night
Social Distortion
With Stone Foxes and Jonny Two Bags
Gas Monkey Live, Dallas
Saturday, October 11, 2014

With Gas Monkey Bar N Grill now entering its second year of business, the owners opened the doors to their second venue, Gas Monkey Live on Saturday for a grand unveiling with Social Distortion. The new venue is across the street from the not-so-old one, right next door to the Movie Studio Grill and across from Jason's Deli.

It must be said that if you are not a fan of GMBNG you will probably not be a fan of Gas Monkey Live. These are unapologetically corporate-style venues, both situated on a suburban outskirt of Dallas. If you ever want to go to Chili's or Olive Garden before a show, both are in close proximity.

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Benjamin Booker at Three Links, 10/03/14

Categories: Last Night

Image via Artist's Facebook

Benjamin Booker
Three Links, Dallas
Friday, October 3, 2014

There's a man scalping tickets outside of the venue. A sold-out show can bring out that type of "entrepreneurial spirit." Yes, of course, scalpers pacing about, hollering about tickets with their deep voice ain't anything special. Nor is it a particularly new occurrence. But, this is Three Links we're talking about. This type of display, you expect it at a professional sporting event between two rivals. Not at a rock show where there's currently about 10 or so people inside. To wit: Hype can lead to a healthy dose of cognitive dissonance.

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The Double Wide Needs To Book More Outdoor Shows

Categories: Last Night

Gavin Cleaver
Roky Erickson

Double Wide 11th Anniversary
With High on Fire, Roky Erikson, the Derailers and Riverboat Gamblers
Double Wide, Dallas
Saturday, October 4, 2014

After 11 years of being the Double Wide, it's surely time for the beloved edge-of-Deep Ellum dive to kick back, stretch those weary limbs, and pour out a Hurritang. Instead, the owners decided now was the time to book a festival with bands of a large enough profile that the Double Wide's minuscule performance room would have been overwhelmed.

And so it was come Saturday afternoon, arriving at a now largely-cordoned-off bit of real estate, the parking lot behind the new Cold Beer Company and the Double Wide itself, that a big outdoor stage had been prepared. This was serious business. Serious enough for a shirtless Matt Pike to deafen every person in a half-mile radius.

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Kacey Musgraves at Granada Theater, 10/1/14

Amy McCarthy
Kacey Musgraves came home to Dallas last night for an appearance at Granada Theater

Kacey Musgraves
With John and Jacob
Granada Theater, Dallas
Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Kacey Musgraves and I come from similar backgrounds. Musgraves grew up in East Texas, Mineola to be exact, and I come from a little town just about 75 miles north of there. Musgraves' debut album, Same Trailer Different Park, is largely about her disillusionment with the expectations of living in East Texas, something that anyone who grew up in a two-stoplight town can identify with.

Last night at the Granada Theater, it seemed like just about everybody in that sold-out house was a small-town transplant who was ready to shake off the city and revel a little bit in Musgraves' irreverent takes on small-town self-righteousness. For an artist with a relatively mid-to-downtempo body of work, the Granada buzzed with anticipation as the crown princess of country music took her stage.

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Index Festival Gets A Little Bigger and A Little Better In Its Third Year

Categories: Last Night

Mike Brooks

Index Music Festival
Deep Ellum, Dallas
Friday, September 26 through Sunday, September 28, 2014

There's something particularly thrilling about seeing Local Natives perform as the Dallas skyline shines brightly. If you're going to have a festival in a major American city, this is the way to do it. The band's music is incredibly full and climatic, so they're a perfect band to close out pretty much any festival. But, with all of these festivals springing up, unless your actual intention is for it to be all about the music -- and how often is it, really? -- you should set yourself apart in some way. Does Index Fest accomplish this?

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at American Airlines Center, 9/26/14

Categories: Last Night


Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
American Airlines Center, Dallas
Friday, September 26, 2014

When the iconic opening riff to "Mary Jane's Last Dance" soared through the American Airlines Center on Friday night to begin the Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' second number, it was clear the night would be a crowd-pleasing, hit-filled one. After almost 40 years of recording, Petty has amassed a number of household-name hit tunes, but to break out such a transcendently popular one that early was a telling choice. It was a good sign for the folks who came to revel in sing-along memories yet an ominous signal for the Petty purists who might've hoped for some deeper cuts and less-frequently played songs from the man that seems to be ageless.

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