By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
LAN party: If you attend Laptop Deathmatch at The Cavern on Sunday, October 9, don't be misled by the title. Anyone who brings joysticks or copies of Counter-Strike to the monthly musical competition will be sorely disappointed. So what exactly is it? Organizer, judge and Mazinga Phaser II member Mwanza Dover calls LD a celebration of "electronic music in all forms," and it pits 16 laptop-equipped musicians in a round-robin tournament. Each player gets three minutes to make whatever music they can with a laptop, audio interface and MIDI controller--remixes, mash-ups, all-out techno or even warped versions of death metal songs--in an attempt to, as Dover puts it, "demolish your opponent." Judges vote through multiple rounds until one musician reaches the top, winning a $100 gift card from Guitar Center (second place gets a $50 gift card).
Dover says the concept, which debuted only a month ago, has quickly taken organizers by surprise. "[The judges] were expecting a lot of half-assed whatever, and they were stumped by how good everybody was," he says. "When I was leaving, some guy in the crowd came up to me and told me, 'This is the most interesting thing I've ever seen in Dallas.'" Works for us, and with musicians like Joe Butcher (Polyphonic Spree, Pleasant Grove, UFOFU) and Daniel Huffman (Comet, Ghostcar, Day of the Double Agent) among the contestant pedigree, we expect nothing short of quality from this Sunday's incarnation.
That very Saturday night, John LaMonica, the man behind Tiebreaker and other beauty-rock projects around Dallas, played what he called his final Dallas concert at Trees. By the time you read this, LaMonica will be unpacking his bags in Salt Lake City, though we give the man the benefit of the doubt. After all, he once told us he was giving up on band music "forever" to work on Postal Service-style beats and songs, only to unveil a new full band a few months later. Hey, he's kooky like that, so maybe he'll move back to Dallas in a week and assemble a 30-member prog-rock orchestra. At any rate, his current departure is a shame, because the crowd sure cleared out when LaMonica played on Saturday, and they missed his (presumably) last local set of sweet, heartbreaking songs.
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