Weekender: Dallas Area Concert Picks for February 2-5

The trend this weekend appears to be having a show in the requisite Dallas-proper market, followed by a similarly-themed night in Denton or Fort Worth. This is assuming that these cities are as far apart as every griping motorist claims they are. I don’t find it all that bad myself, and I’m willing to put on some extra miles if the location is more comfortable, and the artists more enjoyable. So in those cases, I’ll tell you which setting has the advantage over the other and why.


Spoonboy/Collections/Wife & Kids (1919 Hemphill): If you’re already missing the melodramatic vocals of recently defunct emo act Star Commander, then please direct your attention to Collections, which is the new solo project of lead Commander, Christian Medrano.

Wife & Kids is a completely serious ska (!) band from Azle (!), and that has taken me through a time-warp so powerful I suddenly feel like it’s the first week of 9th grade and some misguided teen is telling me how The Grown-Ups are a ska band with a horn-player from Plano.

They Might Be Giants/Jonathan Coulton (The Granada): True nerds die hard, as this show is sold out.

Switch/Sinden (Rio Room): I actually witnessed firsthand an influx of dance music enthusiasts illegally hopping the fence in order to be closer to Major Lazer at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin a few months ago, so I’m sure having even half of the duo (Switch) will lead to some unruly behavior this evening. Like perhaps politely and promptly showing up to Rio Room before midnight? But there’s nothing very “Dallas” about that is there?  Throw in his protege Sinden, and again, this lineup is practically excessive. I even saw that the legendary Alan Braxe will be playing here in March. Goodness.

Paul Wall/The Nice Guys/A.Dd+/Kydd Jones/Sober (The Aardvark): This is the first of two North Texas stops on the Red Bull “Skooled” tour, which finds locals Sober and A.Dd+ touring with a handful of Texas hip hop acts receiving guidance from a rotating cast of big-shot headliners. This is probably the better of the two shows for a couple of reasons. One: Because having Houston rapper and mouth grill-entrepreneur Paul Wall at The Aardvark seems like a great idea. A young punk (stylistically speaking) on my main social network feed could hardly believe it. And for the second reason, see the show description for tomorrow’s Prophet Bar show below.


The Moondevils/Secret Ghost Champion/Clint Niosi/Brenna Manzare/Jake Paleschic & Patriot/Mills & Company (The Where House): Benefiting the Orphan Art Project, an ambitious artistically altruistic undertaking in which artists literally use the material of torn-down South African orphanages as their medium. Though that’s an undeniably good cause, I don’t know if some bands completely grasp the gravity of mission. Take Secret Ghost Champion, who posted the following on their Facebook page:

If you don’t come to this, you hate orphans and you’re a dick.

Tsk, tsk, fellas. Save the lame, ill-advised, orphan-related humor for when you’re onstage and a few drink-tickets deep into your act. In fact, make sure the crowd is on the same page.

Also, it looks like Clint Niosi will be playing 35 Denton, along with a slew of other acts, including the recently announced Atlas Sound. I noticed that Niosi has several quotes rounding out his artist bio, including this dusty gem from We Shot JR:

“Clint Niosi seems to be quite decent”

Geez, we could have done better than that. Glad it was still usable, however.

Here Holy Spain/Bad Design/Darstar/Hormones (Bryan Street Tavern): Bad Design is playing two album-release shows this weekend, one in Dallas, and the other in Denton. This is perhaps the only true tossup of all the twin-events. This lineup is slightly more agitated since it includes bands such as Here Holy Spain and Darstar, as opposed to Denton’s Spooky Folk, who appear at tomorrow’s show.

I caught Darstar at El Sibil in Oak Cliff last weekend, and they were much more unbridled and distorted than their glossier recordings suggest. Though that could be said for many acts, there were a few times when there were three guitars and a bass all pounding away on the same progression. I haven’t seen that kind of lack of subtlety onstage in at least a couple decades. At least not for a pop band, even if it’s self-described “dark pop.”

Chingo Bling/The Nice Guys/A.Dd+/Kydd Jones/Sober (The Prophet Bar): Now this show is still worth making an effort since I already recommended almost the same lineup above, but with one key difference: Chingo Bling is at the top of the bill, as opposed to Paul Wall. Chingo’s style is a little more animated than Wall’s even, and I’m sure both rappers are solid live acts. But there’s something else that’s swaying my opinion. Ever since I saw Chingo Bling on MTVs My Block: Houston, as well as a follow-up spot on MTV News years ago, I have never forgotten the following, somewhat-grating lines, delivered to the infamous correspondent, Sway:

Well, I was always a fan of the hip hop thing, and it was kind of stale, you know; it was kind of boring. You know, being that I like spicy food, I decided to jump in the game, put some salsa on that thing, and people love it. They eatin’ it up, por favor, believe it.

There’s something deep-rooted and familiar in Chingo’s self-assessment here, and it reminds me of growing up and hearing one of my Hispanic uncles hyping himself up about anything from cooking skills to, yes, even rapping. It could very well be that I just know I’m never going to cut it like Chingo, or one of my cool, talented, relatives that isn’t afraid to tell you how good they are at something. “Yes, Tio, I’m totally killing it at music blogging; just spicing it up,” somehow doesn’t fly at family reunions I’ve noticed. No idea why.

Kentucky Knife Fight/Sealion/Spooky Folk (Double Wide): If you have to choose between this and the Kentucky Knife Fight show in Fort Worth the following night, this is the way to go, for reasons detailed on Saturday’s show description.

I will take this time to point out however, that on Sealion’s recent appearance on the always extremely helpful Track by Track with Paul Slavens, the group recounts a story about the origins of how they titled a particular song from their full-length, Keep The Cameras Rolling. In it, they reveal that they named a song “All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes,” after seeing an image in a copy of Trouser Press, the underground-leaning, classic music magazine that was published between 1974 and 1984. Trouser Press also produced some indispensable record guides that sit on the shelves of any music fan that actually knows what he or she is talking about.

The issue however is that the advertisement was for a Pete Townshend LP from 1982, entitled…All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes. But even after finding out this information, that it was not just a random piece of artwork but rather the name of a famous record by a popular artist they decided to go ahead with the title:

I just kind of said “F*** it, let’s…keep the name.”

Okay, well, I’m not in the business of rewarding such decisions, so you lose this one, Sealion. If you see an ad in a music magazine, with an album title belonging to another musician, don’t call your song that. Got it? Oh, and here is a selection of original Trouser Press magazine covers going back to the 70s. Would you look at that? Issue 3 has The Who on the cover. For what it’s worth, Townshend thinks the title is “stupid.”


Old Time Music Jam (Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park): I’m adding this simply for the novelty of basically listing “Old Stuff at Old Thing at Old Place.”

Kentucky Knife Fight/Whiskey Folk Ramblers/Sealion (The Where House): Here’s the problem with this show: It’s just too much violent southern imagery for my liking. What is the obsession all of these young bands have for the “good ol’ days” of rambling, whiskey-soaked, barroom brawl, knife-fightin’, killer, slack-jawed, squirrel hunter music? It’s unhealthy. What do you lack in your lives, guys? You know those were awful times for a lot of people, politically and socially, right? You want to return to “simpler” times? I hate to think of what else this contrived nostalgia includes. But it gets better. Here are a couple of excerpts from the rock band Kentucky Knife Fight’s “about” section on their site:

Kentucky Knife Fight’s music evokes images of smoky bars where wood paneling lines the walls, rooms and worlds covered in shadow and stained with liquor.

And closes with the following:

If there is a jukebox at the end of the universe you will find Kentucky Knife Fight between The Stooges and Tom Waits.

See, that’s the part I especially don’t buy. I’ve heard what’s on that so-called jukebox. There’s a scene in the Jim Jarmusch film, Coffee and Cigarettes where Tom Waits is hanging out with Iggy Pop in a smoky diner. There is a jukebox in the room. But it’s not playing violent bar rock. The song is “Hanalei Moon,” a gorgeously soft, Hawaiian-inspired, steel guitar piece by Jerry Byrd.

Bad Design/Curvette/Spooky Folk/Paper Robot (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): Oh, now is a good time to mention that Bad Design has both a brand new video (featuring Peopleodian’s Ally Hoffman) for the track “Stained Glass” from their self-titled album, as well as a Violitionist Session. Ah, those Gutterth guys and their made-up words.


“Lost Generation” (Arcade Bar): I’ll add the guest DJ information, as soon as it’s announced on Saturday or Sunday afternoon.