2001 Dallas Observer Music Awards

Narrow margins remind us that everyone's a winner

Yes, it's true, One Ton has learned the first cardinal rule of street hustling: If you pimp it, they will come. And it's a winning formula that keeps the label on top and leaves its young fans feeling big, bothered and entertained. --B.M.

The Adventure Club
Winner for: Radio Program that Plays Local Music

Full disclosure: Josh Venable, host of The Adventure Club, is a friend. Probably my best friend, but that's the kind of thing that doesn't need a title; it's just the way it is. And before anyone takes any of this the wrong way, Venable won this award fair and square, by himself, no help needed, asked for or offered. Anything else would cheapen both jobs, men. So save your letters, e-mails and suck-this bathroom graffiti. Unless they're creative.

Best Act Overall: The Old 97's; Male Vocalist, Songwriter: Will Johnson
Mark Graham
Best Act Overall: The Old 97's; Male Vocalist, Songwriter: Will Johnson

That said, Venable deserves the nod here, even though Chip Adams' now-defunct Local Access (on Merge 93.3) and Chaz's Local Show (every Sunday on KEGL-FM) revolve(d) around Dallas-Denton-Fort Worth music, both in title and format, and even though KTCU-FM's The Good Show has often been just that, and Russell Lyday's The Show That Fell To Earth on KNTU-FM gets better each week. Venable's secret lies in the fact that, on his show, local bands aren't graded on a curve, just played right alongside some of the best in national and international (OK, well, British) music. There is no distinction between Dallas and New York and London, and in a perfect world, that's the way it should be.

Venable's made some discoveries along the way, such as The Rocket Summer, better known as Bryce Avary, a one-man-band from Grapevine High School. Besides for the local discs he spins each week, Legendary Crystal Chandelier, [DARYL], the Old 97's, Chomsky, The Deathray Davies, Baboon and Corn Mo--and the list goes on and on--have all stopped by his show in the last year or so, playing live in the studio, given a chance to be heard. And with the Adventure Club-sponsored shows at Club Clearview, he's getting the word out in other ways, doing his part, doing what he can.

Yes, he's a friend, but more than that, he's a friend to local music. And that's what counts. --Z.C.

Gypsy Tea Room
Winner for: Live Music Venue

They clean the bathrooms. That's why we like Gypsy Tea Room, and maybe why you do, too. Plus, minimum graffiti, maximum stalls and egad! actual toilet paper in those stalls. Sounds crazy, but we prefer not to catch a disease between bands. See, these are the amenities we desire. The basics. Don't care 'bout no laser light shows or clubs chock full o' indie cred. Just give us TP, man. The little things are important in a club, a place in which you might spend four hours standing and drinking and moaning until the headlining band finally comes onstage. Gypsy Tea Room is just a nice venue: It looks great, sounds good, has plenty of charm and now boasts a variety of talent, not playing favorites to one genre, as it did upon first opening when, if you didn't sang with a twang, your band didn't play there.

In general, Deep Ellum's music dives are, let's face it, just plain skanky. They're dirty and awkward and cheap and are usually run by what appears to be the crew from Wayne's World. Not to be a snob, but Gypsy Tea Room is the finest music venue in that grimy little world called Deep Ellum. First of all, the Tea Room's interior finishing lends to its ambience. Exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, a couple of plush couches, a pool table, a modern bar--this is what we want when we pay 15 bucks on a Friday night. We also like the "cooled with frozen air" aspect of the place, as the GTR ad boasts. And thank goodness there are no "trees" in our line of vision or a stage so high our scoliosis flares up and threatens to ruin any joy we might derive from being so close to the stage. And, oh, how lovely and moderate those sound levels can be at Gypsy Tea Room. Maybe we're turning geriatric, but shows at some other clubs are so loud they render us near deaf for days after; we don't like that. Ringing in our ears = not good. Co-workers on Monday wondering, "Why are you yelling at me?" = not good.

An added bonus to the Tea Room, perhaps not so obvious upon first glance: Band members have to access backstage from front stage. We like being able to drool over our idle idols as they pass by, working up the nerve to tell them how much we liked their last record. It lends to the stalking. --J.P.

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