Misty Watercolored Memories

Of all the memories I have from the Dallas Observer Music Awards (that would not include anything after, say, 1 a.m.), this may be my favorite: Myrtle Dupree accepting the Jazz award for her late husband, Al Dupree. I didn't know Al, but like most Dallas music lovers, I knew of him, and when my boyfriend and I slipped in to the Balcony Club for a martini or three, it was with the hope that we'd find Big Al behind the piano, greeting us with a familiar nod and those dark, sparkling eyes. I wasn't alone; more than 500 people cast their votes for Dupree, and when his name was announced and his widow took the stage with grandson Al Dupree III, the Gypsy Tea Room exploded in applause. The crowd's response said it all: This is a guy we love, a guy we still miss.

Later, as I was standing on the backstage steps watching Uncommon Denominated, the phenomenal five-piece band of nominated artists performing nominated songs, I thought what a great evening it was turning out to be. As Chomsky's Glen Reynolds sang the Burden Brothers' "Beautiful Night," I threw up the devil horns and screamed myself hoarse, emboldened by alcohol and the belief that no one could see me. (They could. Oh, well.)

But, as usual, the 2004 Dallas Observer Music Awards were not without some controversy. After the Rap/Hip-Hop award went to Dot Matrix, a mostly white group whose acceptance speech included multiple uses of the f-word, presenter Corby Davidson of the Ticket sports radio show The Hardline quipped, "Well, at least one of them deserves to sound black." (Only DJ Bryan X is black.) By Thursday afternoon, Dot Matrix fans had responded in the band's chat room by calling for Davidson's firing. Several branded him a racist. One absurdly equated him to Hitler. (Because making fun of white rappers is on par with the extermination of 6 million Jews?) Dot Matrix, meanwhile, wasn't nearly so knee-jerk. "It was all in good fun," said Bryan X, who added that the group members are fans of the Ticket. "Didn't bother me at all. We're just glad we won."

And then there is the case of the missing Polyphonic Spree trophy: When the Spree's three awards were announced, original member Roy Ivy hilariously bum-rushed the stage to accept the honors (the Spree is out of town, touring with David Bowie). Ivy is the front man for the Tah-Dahs (who were nominated for Best New Act but lost to Radiant*), and he reports that he took home one of the three trophies. A recent call to the Observer from one attendee suggests we have tracked down the location of one more missing trophy. If anyone knows the whereabouts of the third, please contact us. Be warned, however, this award could be dangerous. Those statues weigh a ton.

The bruising soundtrack to The Punisher, the film based on the revenge-seeking Marvel Comics hero, features songs from not one, not two, but three Dallas metal acts. That's punishing, indeed. Drowning Pool, who replaced late vocalist Dave Williams with Jason "Gong" Jones, opens the album with "Step Up," the first single from their latest CD, Desensitized. Damageplan contributes "Ashes to Ashes," featuring Alice in Chains' Jerry Cantrell, and Edgewater offers "Eyes Wired Shut," off their new album South of Sideways, produced by Eric Delagard, the man behind the boards for Bowling for Soup and Brave Combo. Edgewater, by the way, made their Entertainment Weekly debut recently with a critique by baseball talent scout Josh Boyd. His take? "They have the potential to hit a home run once in a while, though the other bands that are similar to them, like Creed, are stronger." At least Edgewater fared better than former Dallasite Ben Kweller (profiled in this issue), who "sounded like someone trying to do karaoke," according to Boyd. Youch. It's all right, Ben. Nothing a late night at XPO singing "Islands in the Stream" can't fix.

This week, in "Something I Just Made Up": Local bands often invite me to see their shows. Too often, obligations prevent me from going. And by "obligations," I mean "sleep" and "reality television." Well, now's your chance. For one week only--from Monday, April 26 to Sunday, May 2--I will take as many offers as possible to see local shows. I will accept every single invitation on a first-come, first-served basis, and I will write about this in the feature section the following week. E-mail requests to sarah.hepola@dallasobserver.com. I'm ready to rock, people: Bring it awwwwn!


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