King Camel celebrates its one year anniversary this Saturday at Club Dada. With the anniversary show's stellar lineup, you would that think prior to becoming a promoter, King Camel's Jeff Brown was already a fixture and popular guy around Dallas' music scene. But that isn't exactly the case. Sure, Brown, an eccentric man, found himself attending shows beforehand, but he hadn't really known anybody personally.
The lineup for tomorrow's show boasts no fewer than 15 bands, spread between the inside stage and the outdoor patio at Dada. Bands like Blackstone Rangers, Sweet Spirit and Cutter will all be present, with a "secret guest" slated to round off the night. Hard to believe, then, that barely 12 months ago Brown was merely another music fan.
Brown says he'd been attending shows around Deep Ellum and just up and decided to email bands in an attempt to put a few shows together. King Camel's first show was at Crown and Harp on August 12 last year. Then came another. And another.
You could attribute King Camel's popularity in such a short time to Brown's gregariousness and earnest disposition. "I get a lot of love person to person," Brown says. "There are a lot of smiles at my shows."
Brown says his main goal with King Camel is to foster a closer-knit community with artists.
"Some of the artists hadn't played together [before], so I like shows that kind of mix genres a little bit, not too crazy," Brown says "But as long as each band has at least two things similar going for it, I'll throw the show."
Brown feels like the permeation of tastes has introduced more people to one another and helps widen the gaps you may generally divide people in a music community. "That," he says, "and my shows are awesome."
Deep Ellum is developing; there are businesses with more of an Uptown feel coming into Dallas' heralded music neighborhood. Still, Brown says, thanks to a roots system of music venue owners -- Trees, Club Dada, Three Links -- Brown says the music scene will probably always be intact.
"I'm cool with it; bring [the Uptown people] down here. But I want them to come down here for the music, not to stand in line outside of some bar that looks like one they have in Uptown," he says.
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As far as the Uptownization of Deep Ellum, Brown says any business coming in the neighborhood is cool, so long as they respect what Deep Ellum is about, which is music and its own distinctive attitude.
"Everything down here is and needs to be unique," he says. Despite Brown's staunch adulation of Deep Ellum, in the future he'd like to expand King Camel on a national front, eventually promoting shows across the country. For now, he's just a part of the highly competitive scene in Dallas. Which, much like himself, he would like to keep friendly. But if that isn't the case, so be it.
"I hate making enemies," Brown says. "But it's just a part of business sometimes."