How Alan Keys Revived Reno's Chop Shop, and What He Thinks Deep Ellum Needs Now

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Around Deep Ellum, Alan Keys is best known as "Alan from Reno's"...the guy who threw a hell of a party for many years at Reno's Chop Shop, bringing a pretty raucous and heathy-sized rock crowd in. Keys networked hard to get a lot of national touring acts to stop by for a drink or two as well: Avenged Sevenfold, Drowning Pool, Seether, Shinedown, Sid from Slipknot (who DJed an afterparty there), Corey Taylor from Slipknot & Stone Sour, and so on. Actor Dolph Lundgren did a casting call at the bar and used Reno's as the bar in the movie he ws making. Prison Break also did a casting call there.

Keys also instilled an updated look to the place as well. But he's has actually been involved in a stack of Deep Ellum clubs of all kinds; from places to dance to places to just get a little sloshy and talk it up with the neighborhood wildlife.

Alan Keys is taking it a little easier nowadays, following a knee injury and a gig in the world of business-casual, but he's far from being completely done helping out, and even farther from being forgotten for his huge contributions to local music in Deep Ellum.


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Winston Edmondson is Using Apps and Corporations to Get Local Music Heard

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Winston Edmondson has had his hands in local politics (he ran for Mayor of Lewisville a couple years ago), AM talk radio (on a couple different outlets)
and, fortunately for us, is a big fan of unharvested local music talent. He's a big fan of Salim Nourallah, Chris Holt and Razim Quazi, and has been for several years.

Nowadays, when he hears a song or a voice from our backyard that inspires him, you can practically see the lightbulbs going off. He wants to help. And he'd prefer to be inventive and unique in the process. Nothing wrong with that.

See, Edmondson is a thinker. Alternately blessed and cursed by constantly-spinning, highly-calibrated wheels upstairs (that sometimes keep him working for days straight), he's an idea man...and unrealized local talent seems to be his muse. His latest project is called MicroMusic. It expands on the controversial idea catching fire in some parts (mainly in the Top 40 arena) of music customized to the 140-charachter, shorter-attention-span listening audience that, like it or not, is simply a reality of today's YouTube-on-the-tablet mainstream. It's so new it doesn't even have a name yet other than..*gulp*..music snippets!

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Linda Tovar has Sacrificed More than One Set of Clothes for Dallas Music

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Local Music 'Mericans has been running almost two and a half years now on DC9, and one disappointing shortcoming in writing this column has been the lack of "war stories" from live local stages: odd, unforgettable things seen. Not sure what the problem is! Sure, there's been a few interesting points, but not since the early days of LMM, when we interviewed door guy Sean Wayne have we gotten a good handful of colorful firsthand live music first hand accounts.

To the rescue is Linda Tovar. Aside from approaching so many in our local music family with a very kind, motherly and hospitable approach, Tovar's also a budding concert tech who's really the Swiss Army Knife of handiness at Trees in Deep Ellum. She's currently serving as an understudy to the man who pilots the jet engine of a PA found in Trees, the previously LMM-featured Lee Russell. As far as amusing things happening during local shows, she's not only seen it, but is far enough up on the front lines to have smelt it, felt it and had it stick to her clothes...all in the name of rock. I'll let her explain.


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It's Pretty Simple: Show Up and Give a Crap. Just Ask Dallas Distortion Music

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Dallas Distortion Music
Matt Vickers

The amount of new band names they can spin at you is dizzying...and endearing. And most of all, uplifting. They're possibly the biggest fans of modern, often-as-yet-uncategorizable new music this side of the Rio Grande. It's fun to watch to Dallas Distortion Music, aka Matt Vickers and Evan Henry, grow both in success and size, and also in all of their youthful enthusiasm.

We've spoken to Matt and Evan before, and since then, they've continued to prove that they are part of the next generation of young music fans that are championing new sounds by helping to get their music released.

So far in 2013, they've torn 35 Denton a new exhaust port, thrown a post-fest barn-burner in Dallas at the Crown & Harp, and collaborated with some other DIY labels to showcase their passions in the "unofficial SXSW" arena.

Matt and Evan are currently licking their wounds and recovering from a lack of sleep and decent nutrition from it all, but couldn't be happier to update us on what a great time their having as DDM continues to swell.


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DJ Woodtronic Knows a Good Oddity When He Sees One, and He Sees Plenty in DFW

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Photo by Allan Hayslip

Known for his sophistication as a DJ, Reid Robinson (a.k.a. Woodtronic) gets groovy, laid back gigs spinning at spots like the Perot Museum and outdoor shows in Dallas Arts District. Not to say he can't pump (and punk) it up if needed...you can also see him spinning pretty regularly at skate bouts for Assassination City Roller Derby. Even better known as a radio personality at KNON 89.3 FM, as part of Tuesday's Sonic Assembly Power Hour, Robinson has also worked as a recording engineer for some TV/film projects, played with a couple local bands, held a marketing gig at Apple for bit and grew up with a father who was a bit of a hotshot at Capitol Records back in the day. Even more fascinating are the things Robinson has seen in his local arts adventures about town. So, let's attempt to get to the bottom of the very non-boring DJ Woodtronic.


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James Villa Might be Dallas' Most Passionate Photographer, and He's Starting a Publication

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Showing up to see a starving local rock band from the neighborhood is a nice
gesture within itself, but to show up ready to work...for free...well, that's support worth noting here. The DFW rock scene, specifically, has been pretty lucky to have James Villa showing up the last 12 years. Villa is one of those supportive photogs who hauls his camera gear onto his shoulders, culled with his own hard-earned money and methods, lumbers it into the show and shoots bands he likes. While most of us are trying to lighten our load before heading into the club (nobody likes to have a lot of crap weighing down their jean pockets, it seems), people like Villa lug gear in and help expose local music, pro bono, through their own unique camera eye. He shoots national acts as well, and rock/metal fans should stop by his website to see what is some really nice work (we especially recommend his black & white shots). Villa, however, seems to have a significant gift at capturing moments of emotion in some of our local rock musicians. Those who aren't too cool to let it show, anyway.


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Charlie Hunter Gives Us a Glance Behind the Scenes of 35 Denton

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Victoria Yip
In our ongoing quest to shine some light on some of the kindest, most supportive people hiding in the shadows, and behind the scenes, in DFW's music community, there's never a shortage when it comes to the people who bend over backwards for the 35 Denton festival, which is on the horizon next Thursday through Sunday. However, reaching these folks can be tedious. They're very busy this time of year, harvesting a festival that is truly grown from the ground up. We persevered however. This week's exhibit is youngster Charlie Hunter: volunteer coordinator for the festival, co-founder of Denton's mini-indie label I Love Math Records (Spooky Folk, many more), beer drinker and (as common as the latter in this column) a passionately enthusiastic local music fan.

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Wes McIntyre is the Granada's New Backstage Manager and Resident Santa Claus

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Kylee O'Neill Kimosh
Meet Wes McIntyre. Yeah, he works at Granada...for years now. You've probably seen him.

He's been gaining a reputation around the venue as being a pretty awesome human being in general. Exemplified in his nice-guy style of security work, and cornerstoned by his recent role as Santa at a Libertine-organized neighborhood toy drive. A Santa who went above and beyond the call when, after gathering the toys, went out and delivered them, for the love of Kringle.

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Kaia Bellanca Beggs: "I've Always Been Fascinated by Strong and Wild Front Women."

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Fairooz Imaging

If you recognize Kaia Bellanca Beggs, it's most likely been from walking through the door at recent Deep Ellum casualty La Grange. Handling the door, and other La Grange duties, was just one of her jobs. Kaia is quite immersed in the local music community and has her own small business doing makeup and some modeling -- sometimes in front of the camera, sometimes creating pretty special visuals for other modeling subjects.

She knows her music, though...and how. Apart form growing up in the middle of the Dallas arts culture, she's also just gotten hitched to local music promoter and (new club in the old La Grange location) Three Links co-owner Scott Beggs, who we covered in LMM in the column's very beginning.


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VideoBob Moseley Went from Geek to Artist for Pantera: "If My Magnum Could Talk"

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VideoBob with Vinnie Paul
This isn't the first time the Observer has reached out to "VideoBob" Moseley. If memory serves, he popped up in the City of Ate blog when he took over Reno's Grill for a spell, with a pretty visionary menu of barfood taste sensations, lots of self-designed movie props (Moseley does them professionally) and metal memorabilia from his many years associated with all-things Pantera and their evolution.

See, Moseley has been doing videography, graphic art and more for the likes of Pantera, Damageplan, Hellyeah!, and drummer-for-all-of-the-above Vinnie Paul's own record label endeavour, Big Vin Records since its inception.

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