Let's just clear some things up here concerning the Dallas Observer Music Awards. There's been a lot of, er, intense feedback concerning this year's ballot. The main concerns appear to be: 1) Some categories contain up to 10 nominees, while others only have a few; 2) Some nominees don't match their categories—e.g., bands that have been around for a number of years are included in the "Best New Band" category; and 3) The ballot is thus different from years past.
If I may, I'd like to offer up a little explanation as to what's up.
1) The reason for the discrepancy in the number of nominees per category is twofold: First, the number of nominees in each category is meant to roughly correspond to the number of bands in the genre. For instance, there are way more indie rock bands in Dallas than Tejano bands; therefore, there are more nominees to represent that genre.
Second, this year, there were a lot of close races for the final spot on the ballot, sometimes separated by one or two votes. For example, if the cutoff was five bands per category, a band may not have made the ballot, simply because they fell one or two votes short. In instances where that happened, we expanded the nominee spots, sometimes up to 10. This was my call. I simply felt it was unfair to have some bands come so close and be omitted. I stand by this decision, especially since, ultimately, the band with the most votes will win, whether from a field of five or 10.
The intent of changing the ballot this way was to include more bands and expand the scope of the music awards.
2) As far as nominees matching their categories...don't forget this is a reader-generated ballot. The voting public is responsible for who goes where. This is a public undertaking, meant to reflect the public's wishes. Therefore, I've chosen the philosophy of not interfering with voting results no matter what. If the results are off-base, so be it.
3) That's why the ballot is different this year.
Whether or not you agree with this strategy, all this obsessing on the ballot is—though at its heart most likely well-intentioned—disappointing, because it distracts from what is really important: The Dallas Observer Music Awards are meant to be a celebratory event. They are meant to be fun. And, most important, they are meant to give a big yee-haw-fuck-yeah-you-rule shout-out to the producers, the songwriters, the musicians, the fans, the club owners, the promoters and the bloggers who bust their asses and their bank accounts and sometimes bang their heads against various walls to make this thing called "Dallas music" work. And not only do they make it work, against odds sometimes more skewed than a Mafia bookie's, they pull off amazing feats of creativity.
Point is, we can focus on the ballot, and what we like about it and what we hate, and what's changed since last time or what hasn't, but ultimately, does nitpicking at a document, whose sole purpose is to provide the public with a way to show love for Dallas music, serve any purpose? Every single person who has held this post at the Observer at one time or another has been accused of being "negative." Well, OK, then let me call out for positivity. Let's let this night be about the bands, and all those other souls who pour their hearts into the red-bricked buildings of Deep Ellum, the fancy nightclubs of Lower Greenville, the strip mall karaoke bars in Addison, the beer-soaked floors from Adair's to What?Bar. Don't forget: Music is supposed to be fun. And I guarantee you, no matter who is on the ballot, this year's DOMA—both the showcase and the awards ceremony—will be just that.
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Here's all the info you need for the upcoming DOMA. We wanted to highlight as many bands as possible, so we decided to bring back the Nominee Showcase, so you could check out as much local talent as possible before the awards. The celebration will span four days, from the Nominee Showcase Saturday, August 11, to the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, August 14. Here's your schedule:
Saturday, August 11
Thirty bands, all nominees, will invade Lowest Greenville for a night of pub-crawl-type energy. This will be the last night of voting, and ballots will be available at all participating venues (Billiard Bar, What?Bar, The Cavern, Gezellig, Greenville Avenue Public House and Suede Bar).
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At press time, the final time slots have not been solidified, but acts include Money Waters, PPT, Black Tie Dynasty, Smile Smile, Salim Nourallah, Baboon, Radiant, The Slack and many, many, many more kick-ass tunesmiths. Check http://www.dallasobserver.com/php/retail/dal/musicfestival/ for finalized schedule.
Wristbands are required and available now at the Observer offices (2501 Oak Lawn, Ste. 700, 214-757-9000, Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.) or at the individual venues the day of the show.
8 p.m.-God only knows
Tuesday, August 14
The Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9933
Freekeep an eye on Unfair Park for ticket pick-up information
An all-star lineup of local luminaries called The Reunion Tower Revue, led by Mr. Bobby Patterson himself and featuring members of Shibboleth, Sorta, PPT, THe BAcksliders, Baboon, Shanghai 5 and many others will take the stage and perform special surprise song sets throughout the night. We're talkin' Paul Slavens, Amy Curnow, Danny Balis, Chris Holt, Salim Nourallah, the great Mike Rhyner and many, many more joining the house band. That's all we're sayin', as we don't want to spoil the fun. Though we will tell you that a cover of Boz Skaggs' "Lowdown" will be performed.