By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
October has officially become a beating, dudes. Perennially the busiest month of music in North Texas—thanks, y'know, to standard fall touring schedules and the countless tours that make regional pit stops here en route to Austin-hosted fall music festivals—there's still more than a week left in this month, and already we're crying "uncle."
Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately, depending on your perspective and/or enjoyment of visualizing your music critics in vaguely sexual scenarios), "uncle" ain't our safe word, and we're sadomasochistic enough to stick this sucker out a little longer. Because, in many ways (classic calendar measurements aside), October's just getting started.
Case in point: This weekend.
Friday night alone sees Gavin Rossdale and his revamped Bush lineup coming to the town of the label that owns the band's back catalog (Kirtland Records) for a gig at the Palladium. Also: Free Energy and Foxy Shazam bring their party-rocking ways to The Loft; Los Campesinos! bring their youthful exuberance to the Granada; and KEGL-FM 97.1 The Eagle kicks off its two-night Freakers Ball with performances from Godsmack, Seether and Papa Roach out at Grand Prairie's Verizon Theatre.
Friday also brings the strongest all-local bill maybe ever, courtesy of Carrollton's inaugural Festival at the Switchyard deal, which sees an impressive triple-bill of The Orbans, the Old 97's and The Polyphonic Spree sitting atop a show of area also-rans whose sets we're likely to "accidentally" miss. But just seeing those three names all sharing a bill together? Why, that's more than enough to make our local music pants pretty tight.
There are more reasons to get excited. For starters, you've got the 97's, who are still riding high off the success of their just-released The Grand Theatre, Volume One album, which finds the iconic Dallas four-piece gloriously returning to form. Then there's the Spree, performing their first area gig in more than a year. Frontman Tim DeLaughter's been gallivanting across the country for the past year-plus at this point, venturing to New York City, Chicago and even the backwoods of Arkansas as he and a small cast of bandmates have been working up a new batch of tunes—tunes that we're hearing might not even end up as Spree jams, but perhaps as something else entirely. We've been running into Spree members all around town lately—actually, we've come to learn, it's pretty darn tough to avoid seeing members of the 22-piece—and though we've tried to squeeze some info on the new songs out of them, those loyal little sun-loving minions are keeping mum on what fans can expect to hear and see up in Carrollton this weekend. Smug smiles and bashful shrugs seem to indicate that, yes, we could hear some of the new songs at this gig, but all we can say for sure, at this point, is that the show will see the Spree bringing a few new members into its fold, among them Paper Chase and Deathray Davies drummer Jason Garner.
But let's not leave The Orbans out of this salivating discussion. The band's Friday night gig sees it returning to the region after what we can only assume was a successful trip to New York, where, along with locals Sarah Jaffe, Smile Smile and others, the band participated in the CMJ Music Marathon. That assumption for the worthwhile Fort Worth five-piece isn't just smoke, either: This week's already seen the band garner a nice little shout-out from Ben Harper, who on his website shared with his fans a link to download the Orbans' phenomenal, maybe-best-area-disc-of-the-year When We Were Wild for just a single buck. See, Harper got to know the band through another Fort Worth native, Jordan Richardson, who drums for his Relentless 7 band, back when Richardson suggested they recruit Orbans keyboard player Justin Pate to help their project back Ringo Starr for some dates. Pate filled in—and did so well that Harper calls him an "absolute joy to work with and immeasurably talented." Nice words for sure. And, while hopefully our past slobberings over the album have already inspired you to go grab the disc of roots-rock goodness, Harper's other words are even kinder: "[Pate] spoke at length about his band The Orbans and I thought to myself, 'Whatever band this guy is in has got to be great!' They are stand-up cats to hang out with and I'm a big fan of their music." Hey, us too!
So that's Friday.
Then there's Saturday, which sees the second night of the KEGL lovefest, this time with Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie getting into the Grand Prairie Halloween spirit, and also performances from folk-rockers Dawes (at Sons of Hermann Hall), should-be rock heroes Valient Thorr (at the Double-Wide) and iconic DJ Paul Oakenfold (at the Palladium).
Sunday, meanwhile, sees jangle rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club making up their canceled Lizard Lounge gig from last month at Trees, punk rockers The Thermals headlining a fine triple-bill that also features Cymbals Eat Guitars and the fabulously named The Coathangers at the Granada, and, oh, just some small celebration at the Double-Wide—which, OK, isn't very small at all. The cherished venue at the far end of Deep Ellum will celebrate—can you believe it?—its seventh anniversary, and is doing so with performances from six revered local acts (Sir Silky, Descender, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, RTB2, The O's and Leg Sweeper), a DJ (DJ Hammertimez) and an Elvis impersonator who goes by the name of Skrelvis.