"The Adventure Club is very important to a lot of people, me included," says Venable. "There's always going to be folks who want to hear something different."

Whether it is his own musical heroes such as the Cure and the Smiths or more indie fare such as Austin's Voxtrot, Venable continues to be a staunch champion of music of distinction.

Every Sunday night for three hours, the verbose Venable digs deep into his personal collection and even finds time to feature a few local bands, if he finds them worthy.

THe BAcksliders
Noah W. Bailey
THe BAcksliders

"I don't try to look at bands as special simply because they are from here," Venable says. "I play local music when it's good." And whether it's a track from the hayseed heyday of the Old 97's or an obscure Shibboleth outtake, Venable knows he's doing a service to the independent-minded citizens across North Texas, those who crave the uncommon.

"I am glad to bring a small degree of happiness to listeners," says Venable, displaying a rare, but welcomed, humility. —D.S.

Lizard Lounge
Best Dance Club

What's left to be said about perennial best dance club the Lizard Lounge? Other than renaming it the Lizard King, as it continues its reign over Dallas' dancing denizens? Last year we mentioned the local and national DJs who hit the turntables, the risqué cabaret shows featuring schoolgirls and bikinis, and the established tradition of twice-a-week goth night The Church. In 2005, we wrote about pretty much the same thing. And take a guess what we wrote before that? Which goes to show, if it ain't broke, don't fix it, and Lizard Lounge has firmly planted itself as a Dallas clubbing icon. In this past year, the LL's roster has included the DJ collective Planet of the Drums, "America's favorite female DJ" DJ Irene, Telly's Trashy Lingerie Party and the fetish-fab Black and Blue Ball with U.K.'s Torture Garden. An upcoming concert by the techno dance pioneers Utah Saints lurks on the horizon. You won't find this stuff down the street at Purgatory or Blue, try as they might to be the premier dance club in the city. What other clubs in town wouldn't dare touch, Lizard grabs hold tight and doesn't let go. And after 16 years, we hope they keep holding on. —R.L.

DJ Merritt
Best DJ

For more than 13 years, DJ Merritt has been at the helm of the longest-running mix show in the country...and the highest-rated. Edge Club, airing from midnight to 3 a.m. Saturdays on The Edge, showcases Merritt's ability to play to just about any audience and spin any subgenre in the electronic music sphere. "I really don't like to claim that I have a total specialty," Merritt says.

Though he's often physically hidden behind an expansive system when he's playing out, Merritt's exuberant personality is ever-present. His humor and energy come across through his live mixes and recorded remixes and make him an obvious favorite on the electronic circuit. Recently, he's finished a round of remixes for locals Shock of Pleasure and reached out to the satellite world with mixes for Liquid Todd on Sirius.

Merritt plays the occasional one-off party or showcase but chooses not to go the resident DJ route in favor of breaking new music via Edge Club. "Dallas has always been extremely receptive to new stuff," he says. "And being on the forefront, that's what Edge Club is all about." The irony of his radio show's success isn't lost on him. "I'm an electronic music DJ. That's what I got into DJing for," he says, adding with a chuckle, "I play what they don't play on the radio." —M.M.

Best Funk/R&B

Man, you readers sure do like Sublime—er, Woodbelly. For the second year in a row, they easily carried the Funk/R&B category, likely aided in their conquest by lead singer/guitarist Cas Haley's recent appearances on the NBC hit America's Got Talent (and by the way, if you've arrived at this article by Googlin' Cas, please stay awhile and sample everything else Dallas has to offer). The band even beat out the legendary Bobby Patterson, who coasted to a nomination despite the fact he hasn't released an album of new material since 1998 (paging Shibboleth). And so it is that the funkiest dudes in Big D are apparently three chubby white boys—Cas, bassist Ben Drake and drummer Brandon Morris—with a jones for P-Funk and a penchant for wearing khaki shorts onstage. But we can't fault voters too much—these Woodbelly fellas are genuinely nice guys, with musical chops to boot. One might even say they're the type of musicians you could take home to Mom, whereas the late James Brown would have just taken your mom home. Big difference.—Noah W. Bailey

Boys Named Sue
Best Country/Roots, Best Song ("Honky-Tonk If Yer Horny")

Once again, you readers have proven that while you may know little about country music, you certainly know a thing or two about having a good time—and if you've been drunk at a bar in Dallas in the last five years, you've probably had a good time or two with the Boys Named Sue. A BR5-49 for the Jackass set, the Sues drink hard and play harder, mixing classic covers, zany originals and goofy medleys into maybe the most entertaining train wreck in town. "With the Sues, we all say, 'What is the stupidest thing we can do?'" says frontman John Pedigo. "Then someone will say, "Hey everybody! Watch this!!!" And then we all jump off the bridge."

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