By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
It's too early to tell what effect, if any, the recent North Texas New Music Festival will have on the fortunes of local bands, but it's already safe to say at least one thing: It definitely succeeded in putting asses in seats. So to speak. There wasn't a single club hurting for people, even on Saturday night, when two touring acts (Spiritualized and Pete Yorn) threatened to put a damper on the proceedings. (In fact, if there was one show that wasn't terribly well attended, it was Spiritualized's snoozer at Deep Ellum Live. Apparently, Jason Pierce has decided to replace quality with quantity.) In fact, Saturday night, there was the longest line we've seen outside of Curtain Club (for the Edgewater/Slow Roosevelt bill) in quite some time, and Club Clearview was uncomfortably crowded for its Idol Records showcase. And the situation was the same at most of the other shows on Friday and Saturday night.
So even if no record-label reps found what they were looking for, it doesn't really matter. If none of the bands that played the fest get dime one from the Universal Music Group or whomever, it's irrelevant. Attracting labels to Dallas for a weekend with the hope that a few of them will offer a band or three a contract is a great idea. But here's an even better one: getting fans to come out and see all of these bands, too. As far as we're concerned, mission accomplished.
On a side note: The D.O.C. pulled out of the festival a week or so before his scheduled Saturday-night show, citing a previously scheduled studio engagement with Dr. Dre. Understandable. Unfortunately for many local hip-hop fans, The D.O.C.'s appearance was supposed to have been the first time he and The Legendary Fritz (also on the bill) were in the same room together since D.O.C. lit a fire under Fritz earlier this year, referring to his microphone skills as "pretty good." It would have been fun to see them playing off each other. Maybe next time...
KBFB-FM--better known as 97.9 The Beat or, if you believe the station's publicist, 97.9 The Beat Continuous Hip-hop All The Time (unwieldy? noooo)--will celebrate its first year on the air with a birthday shindig at the Bronco Bowl on December 1. Trick Daddy, Petey Pablo, Beanie Sigel, Bobo Luchiano, IMX, Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boyz, Rayvon, Devin, Fifth Ward Boyz, Do or Die, Lil' J and 8ball will all be on hand to pat The Beat on the back. (Before we go any further, as a quick aside, can we please ask that hip-hop artists do away with the following, with respect to their names: 1) Terrible misspellings of old gangland names. 2) Using the word "lil'" or "boyz" under any circumstances. And 3) shamelessly aping another, more successful rapper's name. IMX, we're looking in your direction.)
Now that that's out of our system, if any station deserves success, it's The Beat, if for no other reason than for providing a much better alternative to K104 than we've seen in a while. K104 has long been the Mike Tyson of Dallas urban radio. That used to mean it was an unbeatable presence on the dial, knocking out all comers. It was cocky because it could be. Now, referring to the station as Mike Tyson only means that it's been coasting on reputation, and if you're around it very long, you'll leave with bloody ears. Here's hoping The Beat is able to finally deliver a beat-down to a champion that's long past its prime...
Pinkston is finished with its first long player, which should be out, according to tentative plans, sometime in February. The band is currently looking for a new bass player, as it looks like singer-bassist Beth Clardy Lewis will no longer be manning the thunder stick. (At least that's what Mike Watt calls it, and we're in no position to disagree.) For the next few Pinkston get-togethers, Todd Lewis will be playing bass for the band. (Not sure, but we think he used to be in the Toadies.) But now that we've revealed that piece of information, for the love of Christ, please do not go to a Pinkston show and yell out for "Possum Kingdom." Holler "Tyler" instead...
Ben Kweller will be back in town December 7, opening for Mercury Rev at Deep Ellum Live. His new album isn't quite ready yet, but Kweller won't be coming to town empty-handed. He's got a new five-song EP (EP Phone Home--haha) with him that features a pair of tunes from his forthcoming debut for Dave Matthews' ATO Records. If you were sitting on the fence about going to the show, we hope this will push you off...
The Deathray Davies have a new 7-inch single ready, with "Without a Trace" on one side and "They Stuck Me in a Box in the Ground pt. 3" on the other. The band will be having a release shindig for the single, released by Austin's Has Anyone Ever Told You? Records, on December 7 at Club Clearview. The single should be the first of at least a few releases coming from the DRD camp in the next few months, including the group's third full-length and an album from their low-key spin-off I Love Math. On a related note, does anyone know which TV show had more spin-offs: All in the Family or Happy Days? First person to figure out the right answer gets something. Maybe.