Odds & Ends

The Cavern used to be a dark, dingy place for bad local bands. Lance Yocom is brightening it up.

Center of attention: Congratulations are in order for local maestro of the ones and twos, DJ Nemesis (Cesar Orosco), who competes in the finals for Guitar Center's Spin Off '05 contest in L.A. on Saturday, September 10. After winning DJ battle contests at his local Guitar Center, then the district and then the entire South, the 25-year-old Nemesis has only three other finalists to beat at the concert, where contestants will spin between sets by critics' darlings Common, Talib Kweli and Madlib.

Hopefully, this contest will kickstart Nemesis' career, as he laments the lack of support for underground DJs in Dallas.

"I don't get too many gigs," Nemesis says. "I don't spin radio hip-hop, and there aren't a lot of venues where I can go in and give them a demo--places like Nairobi want to pack out a club with lots of radio and Top 40 music. I really have to hustle and sell a lot of mixtapes to keep my DJ hobby supplemented. And there's not a lot of support, not many DJs supporting each other. That's a hard scene--it doesn't stick together."

With a win, though, Nemesis would snag prizes like a new car, some new turntables and, most important, some cred for himself and the city of Dallas. Hey, Nairobi--are you listening?


Drop in: For one reason or another, you can't make it out to the Old 97's concert Friday at Billy Bob's. You've got family in town. You've got laundry to do. You need to wash your hair. Believe us--we've heard 'em all. But that's fine. You'll soon get your live dose with the band's first official live album, Alive and Wired, whose whopping 31-song tracklist hits stores September 20. At any rate, that doesn't give you an excuse to skip a special Sunday night show at the Barley House, where three-fourths of the band (read: everyone but that long-haired guy who lives in L.A.) will play an acoustic set of Murry Hammond and Ken Bethea songs under the name West Texas Teardrops. It's the side band's second-ever show, and with I Love Mathopening, you're not likely to find a better acoustic show this entire Labor Day weekend.


Ran away with the Spune: A few months ago, we got a phone call from Lance Yocom, impresario for all things Spune Productions (he books shows, promotes bands, sells lemonade, blah blah blah), and he got right to the point: "What do you think of the Cavern?" Well, we liked the Lower Greenville bar very much...when it booked good bands, at least, rather than the choad-rock that has filled its schedule for the past coupla months. Yocom agreed and said he had a mission to turn the Cavern into the ultimate local music destination. Yeah, right, we said. With bands like Tall playing every week?

Well, on Thursday, our past naysaying becomes moot, as the Cavern re-opens with Yocom's promises fulfilled--the stage and sound have been drastically improved ("You can feel the bass in your chest at times," Yocom brags), as has the booking. Take Thursday's grand re-opening party, for starters, where the free booze and food are overshadowed by Salim Nourallah, Cordelane, The Happy Bullets and The Adventure Club's Josh Venable (who begins a regular upstairs DJ set Saturday nights). And that girl on the next page, Mara Lee Miller? She's just the opening act on Saturday's bill (and if you miss her, you're clinically insane).

Future weeks don't let up, with touring acts like Fruit Bats and Micah P. Hinson rounding out some of the best local bills in town. We'll be there frequently. No, really--we got roped into the renovations, too, which means you can catch our alter ego, DJ Hard To Pronounce, upstairs on Tuesday nights. Even if we didn't have that gig, though, we'd still love the crap out of Yocom's Cavern renovations. Anything that keeps Tall away is fine by us.


Free at last: Denton high school and college kids, this is so your week. Starting Monday, all-ages friendly Rubber Gloves is hosting six free local concerts in a row, each of them starting at 9 p.m. Get your homework done early every single night so you can go--you have no excuse to miss these kick-ass local bills (Fishboy, Record Hop, The Skin Trade, oh my), as you can still afford ramen, laundry and Bagel Bites afterward.

 
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