By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
Blazing summer heat? Check. A barren, dusty field for drunken revelry? Check. Hotter-than-the-astronomical-July-heat-index act Ryan Bingham? Sure. The Randy Rogers Band as the established, crowd-pleasing headliner? Absolutely. Alt-rock heroes Everclear? Uh, yeah, OK. MC Hammer? Wait, what? This should be more than a little interesting.
In recent years, the festival circuit in Texas has basically become one 10-gallon, ball-cap-sized traveling circus, where either the exact same red dirt rock acts seem to play on each bill or the featured acts sound as if they are all the same, anyways. The inaugural Stockyards Stampede, to be held behind Billy Bob's in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, is going well out of its way in order to showcase some variety and liven up the stale state that is the Texas/red dirt all-day festival.
Taking cues from the recent Cross Canadian Ragweed Red Dirt Round Up—where rock, metal and punk bands are sprinkled into the mix, along with the standard, frat boy-approved Texas artists—it's refreshing, and more than a little head-scratching, to see such a scattered lineup offered here. Along with the bill-topping Randy Rogers Band, Bingham, Everclear and Hammer, Texas country vets Radney Foster and Mark Chesnutt will commingle with younger acts Sons of Bill and Justin McBride and DFW's own The Bird Dogs.
It's an odd bill, sure. But when one is sucking down arctic-chilled, aluminum bottles of domestic brew while simultaneously earning a severe farmer's burn, is the cohesive flow of the day's musical agenda really that major of a concern? Hardly.