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

Whiskey Folk Ramblers

12 a.m.

Pleasingly combining the Gypsy-punk appeal of Gogol Bordello with a noirish Wild West aesthetic may seem an impossible task, but, somehow, the Whiskey Folk Ramblers pull it off. Live, they're a force to be reckoned with; as their name implies, this isn't a band afraid of debauchery.

Grant Jones & The Pistol Grip Lassos

1 a.m.

Like Lucero before them, Grant Jones and his Pistol Grip Lassos somehow make gritty barroom rock feel sensitive, despite the genre's inherent raucous nature. Credit Jones for that and for not letting his aesthetic outweigh his storytelling aims.

Prophet Bar (Big Room)

The Singapore Slingers

9 p.m.

The Singapore Slingers' recent rise is confounding and understandable at once — confounding because, well, the band revels in the highbrow, oft-forgotten ragtime and big band genres, and understandable because it's an 18-piece and, if The Polyphonic Spree have taught us anything, it's that Dallas loves the spectacle of seeing a large outfit perform live.

Nervous Curtains

10 p.m.

Former Paper Chase ivory tinkler Sean Kirkpatrick's current three-piece endeavor travels a different path; whereas the Paper Chase reveled in doom, Nervous Curtains revel more in gloom. Brooding, emotional and angst-filled, Kirkpatrick may be the closest thing North Texas has to its own version of Nick Cave.

Air Review

11 p.m.

With the release of their 2009 debut, Landmarks, Air Review immediately showcased their radio-friendly pop-rock chops. The songs off their upcoming America's Son EP, however, show the band heading off into a more delicate, less bombastic direction. The ploy is clearly working; the title track off the band's impending release is already the most requested song in the short history of KKXT-FM 91.7 KXT's existence as an indie-adoring, local-friendly station.

RTB2

12 a.m.

It was something of a heart-warming moment at last year's Dallas Observer Music Awards ceremony, when the duo of Ryan Thomas Becker and Grady Don Sandlin took home Best Group in the reader-voted awards, beating out groups such as Midlake, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights and Ishi in the process. It reaffirmed the belief that old-school promotion — playing in front of anyone and everyone as often as possible and wowing all comers with some animated, straightforward rock 'n' roll swagger — can still be a successful model in today's increasingly Internet-centric music age. And it confirmed what everyone already knew: There ain't many bands that can match RTB2's sonic assault.

Telegraph Canyon

1 a.m.

Ornate instrumentation, epic builds and cathartic releases are Telegraph Canyon's calling cards, but the Fort Worth-based favorites are hardly your run-of-the-mill outfit playing to a formula; this is a versatile band, one that's as comfortable playing acoustically out among their audiences as they are behind a booming P.A. Currently hard at work recording the follow-up to their 2009 breakthrough, The Tide and The Current, expect this band's area popularity to only increase in coming years.

La Grange

Yells at Eels

8 p.m.

After years of going unjustly ignored by the area jazz community, Yells at Eels has found a fan base, interestingly, in the area indie-rock realm. The important thing is that at least some people around here are finally paying attention to what the international jazz community has known now for years: As improvisational, experimental jazz goes, few can match the prowess shown by Dennis Gonzalez and his sons Aaron and Stefan.

Tatiana Mayfield

9 p.m.

Like Norah Jones before her, Tatiana Mayfield is a product of the esteemed jazz program at the University of North Texas. Unlike Jones, Mayfield and her live band are jazz purists: Theirs is not jazz for the Starbucks crowd, but for those who prefer their jazz the old-fashioned way.

Damon K. Clark

10 p.m.

Damon K. Clark is a jaw-dropping talent, a gifted vocalist whose talents are near-unmatched locally. Jazz is his chosen realm and it's easy to understand why: Performing live before bare-bones jazz set-ups, his absurd range is given the front-and-center showcase it so ridiculously deserves.

Fox & The Bird

11 p.m.

With the release of their three-years-in-the-making Floating Feathers album, the rotating performers in Fox & The Bird finally have a record to sell at their merch booth. Enjoyable as that disc may be, though, this is truly a band to watch perform live; if their multiple-part harmonies don't sweep you off your feet, the crowds singing along to the band's catalog will. Metaphorically, of course.

Bravo, Max!

12 a.m.

On their debut Dog's Light LP, released earlier this year, Bravo, Max! showcased themselves as a band unafraid of instrumental experimentation and sensitive lyricism. That, however, all stems from the band's biggest strength: frontman Johnny Beauford, who may be the most promising young songwriter in the region.

Mariachi Quetzal

1 a.m.

A nine-piece mariachi outfit from Denton? Makes more sense when you realize that the band's mostly UNT music program alums. This isn't your average Mexican restaurant outfit — although, OK, the band does that, too.

Trees

Yeahdef

8 p.m.

Were it not for Joey Liechty, the man behind the Yeahdef moniker, it's tough to imagine where the Denton DJ scene would be at the moment. An impressive promoter, Yeahdef's greatest strength is his ability to spot trends before they happen: Well before indie rock started recycling the sounds of the '90s, Liechty was hosting a weekly night of songs from that decade up at Hailey's Club.

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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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