The Can't-Miss Shows to Catch at Index Festival

Index Festival returns to Deep Ellum this weekend, with more bands than ever before
Index Festival returns to Deep Ellum this weekend, with more bands than ever before
Ed Steele

There are more music festivals in Dallas at any given moment than there are Tumblr blogs about One Direction or goldfish in a Petsmart. Yes, another festival is happening this weekend, but you should absolutely be paying attention to this one. What more can you ask for than a festival that ushers in the fall and has a healthy mix of acclaimed national acts and buzzworthy local talents? Plenty of things: Like an above average credit score or a sip of the creekwater Pharrell drinks in order to stay 20 years old for eternity.

But, Index Fest will suffice. It's in Deep Ellum, the heart and soul of Dallas music with a shit ton of bands. However, with over 90 bands to choose from spread across three days, there's a lot to digest. So, to make matters a little easier, here are suggestions for each day of the festival.

Friday, September 26

Future Islands 7:40-8:40 p.m., KXT Stage

Earlier this year, Future Islands performed on Letterman and frontman Samuel T. Herring did that weird convulsive groove dance thing. It made its way around the Internet as a meme, which was well earned because, what a hilarious thing to watch. But the true, wonderful, painfully moving moment was watching Herring bang on his chest ever so earnestly and reach deep into his viscera to let us know in a cathartic growl that "people change, even though some people never do." It's a fantastic moment that you can perhaps witness live, along with some renditions from their fantastic album

Singles

, just you missed Future Islands perform earlier this spring at Three Links -- or even if you were there and you're coming back for more. Also, Mr. Herring has a rapper alter ego. He's pretty good. Here's a video of

that

.

Sudie 10:00-10:40 p.m., Trees

At one point, Sudie attended Southern Methodist University majoring in vocal performance with a concentration in classical music and opera. Don't be wary; you won't hear any arias being belted out. It's certainly not that type of party. "Con te partirò" doesn't mix all that well with well whisky and PBR. Sudie took that training to refine her voice and create a sound that is an amalgam of jazz, electro-pop, funk, jazz and more. Here's the part where I'm by trade supposed to compare this to other solo female musicians, but neither you nor I will get off that easy. What you have here is a unique artist with a powerful voice and production that's fascinatingly embellished in all the right places.

Quiet Company 11:35-12:35 p.m., Three Links

At this point it's as trite as "It is what it is, bro," to say, "Hey, you know how cool it would be to see Musical Act X at Music Venue Y? It's so intimate." But, credence, Quiet Company is such a band that you need to see at a venue like Three Links. Imagine: The air is crisp, the garage door is up and the music is blaring. Quiet Company's cinematic rock in which a piano makes some guest appearances is enough to overwhelm you in a small and well-put together venue. This is the closest feeling you may get to heaven on earth, except for the first bite of food you have after you've been a little inebriated all night.

Saturday, September 27 The Cool Kids 3:40-4:20 p.m., Goose Island Stage

You can trace hip-hop in its current form back to around 2007 and 2008 when Kid Cudi, Big Sean, Wale, Drake and the Cool Kids were all sizzling on the internet's keenest rap blogs. All of the aforementioned names were a breath of fresh air and either brought an insane rapping ability to the table (Drake, Wale, Big Sean) or a brand new sound (Kid Cudi). The Cool Kids, though, they brought us an old-school hip-hop sound we were pretty familiar with, but tailor made for a millennial generation. And the music was fun without being lobotomized. In 2011, Sir Michael Rocks and Chuck Inglish went on hiatus and they kept their word. They really did take a break to work on a few solo projects, but now the coolest duo in hip hop since Outkast is back with an updated sound. They've got a little more gold and they've nixed the pager for an iPhone 6.

White Denim 5:10-6 p.m., Goose Island Stage

White Denim's last album has a deadly accurate title:

Corsicana Lemonade

. Corsicana as in some small, quaint Texas town and lemonade as in the most delicious summer drink of all time. (Iced tea, I'm sorry sweetie, but runner up ain't that bad). Listening to the album you can't help but think this might be a metaphor for their version of a whiskey sour. It reminds you of the sunny sunny, bit with an extra kick. Hailing from Austin, White Denim has consistently made bluesy Americana jams that kick a whole lotta ass. Rocktimists, this is your calling.

 
Lee Fields and The Expressions, 12:15-1:30., Trees

Lee Fields has had his feet wet in music for quite some time. That is, since 1969. There aren't that many people on this earth who have been playing music that long and can expect to play a festival like Index Fest. Most are gonna do a night or two at a casino. What you will have the pleasure of here is seeing a well-seasoned artist and incredible band throw together some raw soul.

Blue, the Misfit 10:50-11:35 p.m., Club Dada

I almost left Blue, the Misfit off of this list. Surely, you've seen him perform before and are at the point where you don't need a nudge or a wink to pull you in any direction on this matter. If you were gonna go, you were already gonna go. If not, then you were gonna hit another venue. Right? Yes? No? Well, here's the thing: Blue, the Misfit puts on a fantastic and energetic live show. He's one of the most prominent rap artists in all of North Texas and his album

Child in the Wild

Upcoming Events

is one of the best albums to hit Dallas this year. Maybe even the country. This is where all of the cool kids are gonna be Saturday night -- hell, maybe even the actual Cool Kids.

Sunday, September 28

Sealion 2:25-2:55 p.m., Goose Island Stage

This surf-punk outfit puts on a great live show time and time again. It's a shame they're playing so early, and if all was right in the world, they'd play at either Dada or Three Links for a little longer, but you take what you can get. If you're a fan of both harmonies and uptempo and aggressive instrumentation, here is your chance to watch them clash against one another perfectly and brilliantly like your grandparents or congress.

Local Natives 8:45-10 p.m., Goose Island Stage

I once read somewhere, or had a drunken conversation, about how Los Angeles doesn't really have a marquee "indie" band to call its own. But Local Natives are making a very strong case. Their debut

Gorilla Manor

and their sophomore effort

Hummingbird

are both great records. The band's harmonies, as soothing as tepid rain, are their strongest point. So it's only right they get the title of being L.A.'s banner rock group. They're the millennial version of the Beach Boys.

A.Dd+ 12:00-1:15 p.m., Prophet Bar

Close out the festival with Dallas' most beloved rap duo, A.Dd+. They're coming off the heels of a pretty solid EP by the name of

NAWF

and an album,

DiveHiFlyLo: Every Man Is King

that dropped at the tail end of last year. There really is no better way to close out the weekend. Actually, wait; where's the after party?


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