Welcome to Local Music 'Mericans, where we meet some of the people behind the local music scene -- those who aren't necessarily members of local bands, but more the people who make the scene move.
Kris Youmans has one of those jobs that looks cushy from the outside, but, from the inside, can be quite nerve-wracking. In short: He's is risk-taker with a great set of ears. Sure, it looks like he just books indie bands -- but booking bands outside of the mainstream can be dangerous work. You really have to have a strong gut instinct about music.
He spent many years at the Granada Theater, helping to assemble exceptionally exciting, cutting-edge live music shows, utilizing both local and national acts of greatly varying flavor. Now, he does it for The Loft (located above the Palladium Ballroom) and the fairly new South Side Music Hall, located in the old space previously occupied by Gilleys, behind the Palladium.
Nobody, perhaps, in the local music scene fights harder or takes more risks to expose the public to newer, and better, sounds. If he hears something in a band, he'll put it on the line, book them for a show, and bend over backwards to sell enough tickets to at least keep the lights on for the next show.
Pretty commendable stuff.
After the jump, more on the guy who works every day to persuade you to spend more time (and money, for that matter) on new sounds.
Has music always been in your bloodstream or was there a significant event in your youth that sort of affected you going forward?
Music has always been in my blood. It started when I was 7 or 8 and I decided that I wanted to play the cello. I don't really remember why I started playing it, but it has continued to be a major force in my life still to this day.
For many years, you helped the Granada assemble some really amazing and eclectic presentations of music. Tell us about the process of programming some great, but left-of-center (and therefore risky,) music choices.
The biggest thing is that you have to believe in the band -- even more so if it is obscure. My specialty is definitely the left-of-center bands. I have been doing underground, punk and indie shows since I was 18 in 1995 when I started doing house shows in Denton. So, at this point, if I believe in the band, I'm gonna do what I can to get folks out to the show.
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How about the transition from the Granada to The Loft and the South Side Music Hall? Difficult?
It has been a challenge, but a good one. I was able to get The Loft going pretty quick, and that has continued building -- we have a great spring booked. The South Side Music Hall is still a work in progress. We are finishing out the inside right now, just giving it a cosmetic overhaul. Once it's done, it will be a great room -- just wait.
What act would you most like to jump in and help get the success they deserve?
How about other local music? Current favorites?
My current local favorites are True Widow, Sundress and Soviet. And there are a couple of newly developing bands I can't mention yet that will be making their debuts in 2011 that everyone should look forward to. These are new bands from old favorites.
How about local favorites from days gone by?
One of my absolute favorite bands from years past (and I mean years past, like 1990-93) was a punk band called Pasty Face. They were my introduction to the underground punk scene in Dallas. There were a couple of different clubs out on the outskirts of what is now the Design District that did underground shows back then, and Pasty Face was the band in that scene.