Trio of one

Shabazz 3 prepares to take Dallas' best hip-hop above ground

The most impressive part of the "studio" is the room in which Macklin and Fatz record their vocals, though "room" isn't an accurate term. It's actually a closet filled with clothes and some foam tacked to the walls to mute the outside world.

"The clothes absorb the sound," Bobby Dee explains. "And dirty clothes is better to absorb sound."

Strewn across a couch and the shelves of this tiny room are books and magazines about production techniques; they have titles like The New Recording Studio Handbook, and they sit next to copies of the Bible and the Koran and other books on Judaism and the history of ancient Egypt.

"We crave the knowledge of all," Fatz says, smiling.
For these men, hip-hop truly is their lives: Each day, young local hip-hop acts with names like Epatomed (which is "demo tape" spelled backward), Camp Wisdom, Stormtroopers, Stank Godz, and Native Poets file in and out of Macklin's mother's apartment to record their demo tapes; later, they will send them out to local club owners and promoters hoping to land a gig--or perhaps even to interest some record label.

The project is called House of Demos and is, gushes KNON-FM disc jockey EZ-Eddie-D, the beating heart that keeps the underground hip-hop scene here alive. (Eddie's own band, the Funktactics, also records here.) Macklin's datebook is crammed with recording sessions, and he uses the money he makes from this business venture to pay for more equipment and to help his mom with the rent money.

"A lot of cats be comin' through," Macklin says. "Well, not a lot."
"It's underground," Fatz explains.
Perhaps not for long.

Shabazz 3 performs August 26 at the Major Theatre, 2830 Samuell. Also on the bill are Cottonmouth, Texas; poet Roxy Gordon; performance art group Soul Nation; juggler Logan Daffron; and writer Kelly Higgins.

Bronco Bowling for dollars
It was more than a year ago--July 28, 1994, to be exact--that word first appeared here about the impending resurrection of the late, lamented Bronco Bowl. Danny and Tony Gibbs of Garland-based Gibbs Construction, Inc. promised the venue, which shut down in May 1991, would reopen in December 1994 as a much-needed mid-sized concert hall with other amenities (including a banquet hall and a "hi-tech arcade").

Though that initial target date has long since passed, Danny Gibbs insists the grand old Oak Cliff bowling-alley-cum-concert-venue will actually open late this year--if, of course, things go as planned. Gibbs blames the delays on complications in obtaining financing to purchase the property and begin renovations. "We had to do private financing on it, and it took longer to close it," Danny says. "We actually pulled the trigger on the 4th of August, and now we're looking at it opening in early December." Groundbreaking ceremonies actually took place on August 22.

Gibbs explains the Bronco Bowl's concert arena--a place that puts the "golden" in Golden Horseshoe (the nickname for the front seats near the stage)--will be the "major focus" of the renovations and says he's talking to local promoters about putting "joint shows in there." Before it was shut down, the Bronco Bowl was Dallas' best and best-used mid-sized venue, a lushly faded auditorium that held 2,700 comfortably and played host to everyone from U2 to The Clash to Peter Tosh to the New Bohemians' first farewell concert.

"We're planning on having a wide variety of acts in the concert arena," Gibbs says, modifying his comment last year that the venue would concentrate on country bands and stand-up comics. "We're not going to be locked into one type of music."

Scene, heard
Club Clearview will celebrate its 10th anniversary (how time flies when you're having...fun?) with three nights of S&M (sex and music, that is). On August 24, the club will host a "Sexmonger Night" featuring the likes of Pimpadelic, Guy 2000, and Goddog. The following night's eclectic bill will feature sets from Reverend Horton Heat, Little Jack Melody and His Young Turks, Tablet, Buck Jones, The Mullens, and Southern Discomfort. And on August 26, the lineup will include Funland, Beef Jerky, Bobgoblin, Bleeding Rita, and a few other bands performing on the indoor and outdoor stages; at midnight on Saturday, Lady Bunny (the New York City drag queen made famous in the film Wigstock) will take part in a beauty contest complete with a celeb judge, the guy who plays Lowell on "Wings."

Street Beat welcomes E-mail tips and comments at DalObserv@aol.com.

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