Strong Foundation

Bar of Soap founders celebrate 20th year in Dallas music scene

"Never thought I'd still be doing this," Charlie Gilder says, laughing a little. On July 9, it'll be 20 years since Gilder and his partner, Steve Asbeck, opened the Twilite Room at 2111 Commerce St., sandwiched between Deep Ellum and downtown. The building is actually about 20 yards from where we're writing this, directly across the street from the Dallas Observer offices, the dogfight mural still visible along one wall.

Gilder and Asbeck weren't pioneers; Studio D and Rancid Scum Square Gardens were already hosting sporadic punk-rock shows in the area. But Studio D and Rancid Scum were more like foster homes for bands coming through town and local groups coming up. The Twilite Room took those scruffy kids and adopted them, gave punk rock a permanent home in the heart of the city. The venue kicked off with a show by the Barry Kooda Combo and the Stinky Shits, and booked some of the best underground punk bands in the country, including Black Flag, Meat Puppets, the Dead Kennedys and Circle Jerks. For a few years, anyway.

In June 1986, Gilder and Asbeck cut bait and opened the rock-and-roll laundry Bar of Soap in Exposition Park. By then, a number of clubs had sprung up in Deep Ellum--the Theatre Gallery and Club Clearview among them. Gilder and Asbeck stuck it out in Deep Ellum for only three years, but those were three important years in the foundation of the current incarnation of Deep Ellum. Maybe we're overstating the case, but we don't think so. They gave the area a foothold, something to build on.

The duo has been building on it ever since. Bar of Soap doesn't host many national acts these days, but it's still one of the best places in town to check out a rock show, provided you don't need to use your ears much the next day; pretty much everything about the place is LOUD. Here's one rock show in particular you should check out: Gilder and Asbeck's 20th anniversary, featuring the Fed Ups and the band that started it all off, the Barry Kooda Combo, playing its first gig in five years. Not only that, but Gilder says Kooda dug up that first set list, and that's what the group will be playing.

You might not have been there when Gilder and Asbeck opened up shop, but now you have all the tools to fake it. We're sure Gilder and Asbeck, and maybe even Kooda, will give you another chance in 10 years.


Mike Snider and the AllGood Café kick off their free summer film festival on July 2 with a screening of Easy Rider. The tentative schedule is: Monterrey Pop Festival (July 9), Dr. Strangelove (July 16), A Hard Day's Night and Yellow Submarine (July 26), Hair (July 30), Woodstock (August 6), This is Spinal Tap (August 13) and The Blues Brothers and Animal House (August 20). All films will start around 9:30 p.m. Again, it's free (including popcorn), but they won't turn away donations, all of which will go to support the Deep Ellum Film Festival. And if you want another reason to head to AllGood, our homeboy Todd Deatherage will be stopping by July 5, back in town for a visit from NYC.. .

If you like loud local bands and Japanimation, you'll like this: Slow Roosevelt has just signed on to be part of the Dragonball Z soundtrack. The group will contribute "Boys Lie Girls Steal" and "Silverback" from last year's Weightless. Speaking of, on July 29, the album will receive a national release courtesy of Reality Entertainment and Caroline Distribution. As the boys say, "Now everyone everywhere will feel the pain, not just the Southwest and you." And as we say around the office: "Awesome." Or something like that...

We're cursed. Last year, we raved about Robot Monster Weekend, calling the group one of the best bands we'd seen in a while. Then they broke up not long after that. (Though, we got a copy of their posthumous album, release date unknown, and it's fan-freaking-tastic.) We said the same about Panda recently. And now we hear they're moving to New York in a month. Maybe we'll just keep our traps shut...

Hand stamps: DADArama happens July 5 with a lineup featuring the Ho Chi Men, Random Select, Paul Slavens, the Nitrons, Woodbelly, Joint Method, Regal Dime, Not Called Common, People of Importance and more--bands start at 3 p.m., and it's free; Tweed's at Trees on July 5; Doosu, Tendril, Outcrowd and Moxie play Curtain Club on July 5.

 
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