By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
The 1,600-capacity venue will be the first of its size in Dallas since Deep Ellum Live, which has sat vacant and unwanted for roughly half a decade. To us, the fall of Trees proved there's no happy middle ground between jumbo shows at Nokia Theatre and Smirnoff Music Centre (coincidentally, also run by House of Blues) and 500ish crowds at the Granada Theater, Gypsy Tea Room, etc. Apparently, HoB disagrees. "We think we can bring something unique and different by opening one of our branded clubs in Dallas," HoB representative Liz Smith says. "And it's not merely a music club. It's a multifaceted entertainment destination," complete with a restaurant. The HoB Web sites indicate a massive preference for national acts (and no local openers), though Smith insists that "we book local nights in every single one of our clubs. "
But after one look at upcoming shows in the Chicago HoB calendar--Pat Benatar, Steven Seagal (really), some no-name emo crap and our beloved Drowning Pool--we're wondering what kind of blues the company is trying to cause.
Really? Truth be told, we ain't never seen him live, as his home-recorded Let's Be Poor Together never made a huge impression. Rollins doesn't disagree: "You definitely have to see my live show. I played Bend Studio right before I left [for Liverpool], and people freaked out." So we logged onto his MySpace page and found a short concert clip that, admittedly, is pretty damn good singer-songwriter stuff--the range and emotional delivery of Jeff Buckley without any annoying showiness.
Still, should anyone care about a fest that had absolutely no recognizable names on the roster? Rollins, who spent eight years in Los Angeles before moving back to Dallas a little over a year ago, thinks so. He explains that the IPO is a huge deal in his former city, having broken national bands like Rooney and Phantom Planet, and the fest is now growing into other markets as well--Rollins' debut was at the second ever Liverpool IPO. "I tried for years...it was totally impossible to get in," Rollins says. "I just got in this year because someone recommended me to the company's president."
Rollins is taking the momentum into Salim Nourallah's Pleasantry Lane Studios, where he will record his first proper album starting June 30. But if you want to see the act that made Leigh feel "like Brian Epstein must have felt," you'll have to wait until his July 7 gig at Taste of Dallas. Sorry, mates.