You Don't Have to Head to SXSW to Find a Festival This Week

Whether you want to celebrate St. Patrick's Day or catch some South by Southwest acts coming through the region (or do a little of both), festivals are a good option this week. And you don't even have to make a trip down I-35 (the "I" stands for "Immobile") to Austin.

Some of these shindigs are quite good (others not so much), but there is something for just about everyone this week—even those with terrible taste in music.

(Oh, and in case you hadn't heard, St. Patrick's Day was officially moved up to the 15th this year.)


St. Patrick's Day

3 p.m., Friday, March 14

South By So What?!

Plano Centre

Featuring: Scary Kids Scaring Kids, Halifax, Jeffree Star, The Audition, The Medic Droid, A Skylit Drive and others adding up to 42 bands on four stages

South By So What?! is for kids who can count on one hand how many years it's been since they were listening to Disney tweener pop music, kids who are excited about rock 'n' roll but haven't listened to enough of it yet to recognize regurgitated crap. (Also, it's creepy how the bands are from all over the country but look as though the same stylist and photographer gave them all the same blond-streaked emo-bangs and coached them into the same humorless smirks.)

Headliners Scary Kids Scaring Kids play straightforward hard rock that sounds something like a punk-rock version of Mötley Crüe, complete with lightning-fast guitar wankery, and injected with passionately screamed vocals. Skylit Drive is harsher and louder than most of the fest's poppy rock acts, pairing noisy dissonance with throat-shredding screamo vocals. Other acts are more appropriate for the dance floor than the mosh pit, such as techno-pop rockers The Medic Droid.

It might be interesting to see how the suburban rock kids in the audience react to Jeffree Star, a cross-dressing electro-pop man-diva who speak-sings lines like "I'm hiding from the world behind Chanel sunglasses"—not interesting enough to actually go if you believe you have much taste, though. Still, Star's jaded faux-enthusiasm for materialism fits right in with his energy-drink pimping, logo-sporting compatriots. Whoever included "So What" in the festival name has no idea how right they were.

Who it's for: Teenagers who can't tell the wool is being pulled over their eyes.

6 p.m., Saturday, March 15

Dallas Observer St. Patrick's Day Party

Energy Square, Dallas

Featuring: Ghostland Observatory

With singer Aaron Behrens running around the stage singing falsetto nonsense and occasionally shredding on the guitar, Ghostland Observatory's live shows are more befitting of a rock concert than a dance club. Theirs is dance music for people who don't listen to dance music. If you wouldn't know Daft Punk from Paul Oakenfold, but you're in the mood to watch a laser light show while moving to thick electro beats and screeching synth noise, you can have a good time with Ghostland. Just don't think about it too hard.

Who it's for: Rock fans trying to ease themselves into liking dance music. Also: people who really want to meet the Dallas Observer Street Team.

8 p.m., Saturday, March 15

St. Patrick's Day Show

Lola's, Fort Worth

Featuring: Eleven Hundred Springs, The Wilders, 100 Damned Guns, Whiskey Folk Ramblers and The A.M. Ramblers

The Wilders, a self-described "hillbilly string band" from Kansas City, are the only non-locals on this bill, but they nonetheless fit nicely in the lineup. The Wilders play simple, tight, all-acoustic traditional honky-tonk that incorporates banjo and mandolin that's highlighted by white-lightning fast fiddlin'. The Whiskey Folk Ramblers could be described the same way—except they have a looser take on the genre, which makes them just as appropriate for a back porch as on a stage. Denton's A.M. Ramblers play folk and bluegrass with excellent vocal harmonies.

Who it's for: Country fans who think the Old 97's ain't country enough anymore.

Noon, Sunday, March 16

TMR 12

Southfork Ranch

Featuring: Charlie Robison, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Reckless Kelly and more

KHYI 95.3 FM (The Range) has once again put together a fine lineup for its Texas Music Revolution concert. Charlie Robison can write rollicking story songs that make you want to sing along and tip a beer to his outsider protagonists, like he does in his classic tale of a double-crossing Irish boxer "John O'Reilly." Ray Wylie Hubbard, whose classics such as "Conversation With the Devil" and "Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother" more than make up for his recent, irritating outputs, will also perform.

Who it's for: Anyone who prefers the Kerrville Folk Festival to SXSW.

8 p.m. Sunday, March 16

Poor Man's SXSW

Club Dada

Featuring: Sugar and Gold, Luca, Mostly Bears and DJ NodaFunk

Poor men must like really diverse lineups—lineups so diverse, in fact, that it's hard to believe someone who'd like the funky synth-disco of San Francisco's Sugar and Gold would actually enjoy any of the other acts. Sugar and Gold is the polar opposite of Luca's competent-but-forgettable straightforward indie-rock. Actually, Mostly Bears, from Tucson, is the one to see on this lineup. That band's sleepy, folky psychedelic rock with pretty falsetto vocals would be a nice complement to the rest of this bill.

Who it's for: Those suffering from multiple-personality disorder.

7 p.m., Monday, March 17

St. Patrick's Day Show

The Redblood Club

Featuring: Flatfoot 56, Dog Company and The Broadsiders

Bagpipe-toting Celt-punks Flatfoot 56 make a good choice for those who really want to extend the St. Patty's Day celebration. And, if you're a proud American, you'll like Dallas' Dog Company. Check this excerpt from a recent entry in Dog Company's blog: "I am tired of the Hippie left wing saying America sucks and what a crappy country we are. Hey, jerk!!! move to China or Venezuela and we will see how many punk rock shows you can have or protests for that matter."

Who it's for: Paddies, patriots and punks.

9 p.m., Monday, March 17

St. Patrick's Day Hangover Show

Lola's, Fort Worth

Featuring: O'Death, Langhorne Slim and Blackland River Devils

Whether you're hungover or not, O'Death's energetic, Tom Waits-inspired take on Appalachian country would cure what ails ya. Just don't tell anyone they're from New York City, or someone 's sure to mutter, "Get a rope." Langhorne Slim has an interesting soul-influenced take on folk music with Rhodes piano, but his inspirational lyrics (like "Take some chances, allow yourself to get lost" from "Diamonds and Gold") can border on preachy. The local Blackland River Devils is composed of members of Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang, playing bluegrass with fast-picked banjo, mandolin and Dobro guitar.

Who it's for: Anyone who's ever said, "That would sound better with some banjo."

9 p.m., Monday, March 17

St. Patrick's Day Show

The Aardvark, Fort Worth

Featuring: Holy Moly, Panther City Bandits and Rivercrest Yacht Club

Though this looks to be a solid night of Americana and country, attendees are definitely advised to arrive a bit late. Nobody should have to endure Rivercrest Yacht Club's excruciating white boy novelty rapping. Holy Moly has some merit, though, performing traditional-sounding country songs about werewolf girls and zombies in denial—just like Hank used to.

Who it's for: Fashionably late shitkicking sci-fi fans.


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