By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Of all the memories I have from the Dallas Observer Music Awards (that would not include anything after, say, 1 a.m.), this may be my favorite: Myrtle Dupree accepting the Jazz award for her late husband, Al Dupree. I didn't know Al, but like most Dallas music lovers, I knew of him, and when my boyfriend and I slipped in to the Balcony Club for a martini or three, it was with the hope that we'd find Big Al behind the piano, greeting us with a familiar nod and those dark, sparkling eyes. I wasn't alone; more than 500 people cast their votes for Dupree, and when his name was announced and his widow took the stage with grandson Al Dupree III, the Gypsy Tea Room exploded in applause. The crowd's response said it all: This is a guy we love, a guy we still miss.
Later, as I was standing on the backstage steps watching Uncommon Denominated, the phenomenal five-piece band of nominated artists performing nominated songs, I thought what a great evening it was turning out to be. As Chomsky's Glen Reynolds sang the Burden Brothers' "Beautiful Night," I threw up the devil horns and screamed myself hoarse, emboldened by alcohol and the belief that no one could see me. (They could. Oh, well.)
But, as usual, the 2004 Dallas Observer Music Awards were not without some controversy. After the Rap/Hip-Hop award went to Dot Matrix, a mostly white group whose acceptance speech included multiple uses of the f-word, presenter Corby Davidson of the Ticket sports radio show The Hardline quipped, "Well, at least one of them deserves to sound black." (Only DJ Bryan X is black.) By Thursday afternoon, Dot Matrix fans had responded in the band's chat room by calling for Davidson's firing. Several branded him a racist. One absurdly equated him to Hitler. (Because making fun of white rappers is on par with the extermination of 6 million Jews?) Dot Matrix, meanwhile, wasn't nearly so knee-jerk. "It was all in good fun," said Bryan X, who added that the group members are fans of the Ticket. "Didn't bother me at all. We're just glad we won."
And then there is the case of the missing Polyphonic Spree trophy: When the Spree's three awards were announced, original member Roy Ivy hilariously bum-rushed the stage to accept the honors (the Spree is out of town, touring with David Bowie). Ivy is the front man for the Tah-Dahs (who were nominated for Best New Act but lost to Radiant*), and he reports that he took home one of the three trophies. A recent call to the Observer from one attendee suggests we have tracked down the location of one more missing trophy. If anyone knows the whereabouts of the third, please contact us. Be warned, however, this award could be dangerous. Those statues weigh a ton.