Your 2011 Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase Performers

A closer look at all 52 acts playing this weekend's Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase in Deep Ellum

The old-timers about town would have you believe that Deep Ellum was maybe the single greatest place in the world some 15 years ago, right at the height of the neighborhood and the area music scene's tandem peaks.

And, hey, maybe it was.

But, y'know, some of us weren't of drinking age 15 years ago. And some of us don't like living in the past.

So, at this year's Dallas Observer Music Awards Showcase on Saturday, we present something of a compromise — the chance to see some of the scene's best bands from both then and now, on one night.

Actually, in the case of the final three bands playing our main stage at this year's event, they never really lost their statuses as top dogs. Thanks to strong recent releases, the Toadies, the Old 97's and Centro-matic are still on top of their games. A show featuring just these three bands would seem like enough of a treat — especially considering that this weekend's showcase also boasts the distinction of being the first-ever shared bill between the Old 97's and the Toadies. Yes, ever. But it's just the start. In total, 52 of the region's most talented bands will perform on 10 different stages throughout Deep Ellum. Among this lineup, no doubt, are the scene's future and current stars — talents as diverse as Sarah Jaffe, RTB2, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, The Burning Hotels, Hunter Hendrickson and Power Trip. Read all about each of these performers in the blurbs below.

Plus, with a single wristband purchase granting you access to all these shows — $15 a pop in advance, $20 at the doors — maybe it'll feel a little bit like the Deep Ellum of yore once more. Who knows? The neighborhood already seems to be trending that way.

Clearly, as this list of performers proves, the talent never left. For one night only, maybe it'll feel like the crowds didn't either.

Main Stage

Sarah Jaffe

4:30 p.m.

Perhaps the most dominant artist in the history of the Dallas Observer Music Awards — prior to this year's voting, she's been nominated for 11 awards and walked with the prize each time — the 25-year-old Denton-based folk singer is starting to branch out into new directions with her new The Way Sound Leaves a Room EP. Slowly but surely, Jaffe's music is trending in a more electronic and dance-inspired direction. Her endearingly intimate, soul-baring approach to songwriting, however, remains unchanged.

Centro-matic

6 p.m.

Perhaps the most unappreciated crown jewel in North Texas' musical cap, this Denton four-piece is the model of consistency. Remarkably prolific is the name of Centro-matic's game — the band has released a combined 16 LPs and EPs since 1996, not counting the various releases from the band's side and solo projects — and, clearly, the process is working. This year's Candidate Waltz full-length release may be the band's best-ever recording thanks to its intricate songwriting and gritty, in-your-face rock appeal.

Old 97's

7:30 p.m.

After regaining some lost momentum and re-embracing their alt-country roots on last year's The Grand Theatre, Volume One release, the Old 97's continued their impressive return to form with the second and final volume in their Grand Theatre series this summer. Seemingly content and satisfied with their role and identity at long last, the Old 97's are back on top of their game.

Toadies

9 p.m.

The hard rock regional heroes of the '90s went away for a bit in the early '00s. But since reforming in 2006 for a performance at the annual Observer-hosted Greenville Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade after-party, the band's been acting like they never left: In 2008, they released No Deliverance; last year, they released for the Dallas-based Kirtland Records a re-recording of their 1997 album for Interscope Records that never was, Feeler. This month, after a few years of touring and performing before the biggest crowds of their career — and once again happily trotting out favorites such as "Possum Kingdom" and "Tyler" —the band is returning to the studio once again.

Prophet Bar (Small Room)

Andrew Tinker

9 p.m.

One-time Polyphonic Spree member and current piano-toting solo artist Andrew Tinker has been a big draw in Denton for a few years now. The college crowds have trouble resisting his happily pop-trotting ways; given the sheer exuberance on display in his live performances, it's not hard to see why.

Nicholas Altobelli

10 p.m.

The big knock on Altobelli is that he's never written a song he didn't release. And, with three full-length albums released under his name since 2008, that's difficult to argue with. The good news: Despite the small windows of downtime he's allowed himself between those releases, his songwriting has shown significant growth on each subsequent effort. His increased confidence shows on this year's Radio Waves and Telephone Wire, which features a guest appearance from Whiskeytown's Caitlin Cary.

The Naptime Shake

11 p.m.

If it's literate, historically grounded songwriting you seek, look no further than The Naptime Shake. Highlighted by the heartfelt songwriting of former Observer staffer Noah W. Bailey — backed here by members of Slobberbone, Pleasant Grove, American Werewolf Academy and Doug Burr's backing band — The Naptime Shake's music slowly but surely sneaks up on you right before it quite literally screams for your attention.

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6 comments
Jennifer E Miller
Jennifer E Miller

You guys really need to spread the word and get bands on the TV show coming Oct 26th produced for NBC with Vince Neil, Mark Slaughter and Kid Rock www.WARofROCK.com email brittany@WARofROCK.com for more info if you need.

duh laughter
duh laughter

stupid is timeless, pete. and you should know that, squirt..

duh laughter
duh laughter

yeah.. don't know the fox and the bird (how fuckin' original) but that above photo is among the very gayest i think i've EVER seen...

bee
bee

Toadies "still on top of their game"?Really?

I haven't heard anything new from them in over 10 years.

 
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