Best Music Act to Break Up 2016 | A.Dd+ | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

All things may well pass, but that didn't make it any easier to sit through the demise of A.Dd+ earlier this year. In truth, it was a long time coming. While the Dallas duo had recorded a new EP's worth of material since dropping 2014's Nawf, Slim Gravy and Paris Pershun had been increasingly inactive as a live pair, particularly as Gravy forged ahead with various solo projects throughout 2015. It was still hard, though, when relations fell to an ugly and very public feud after Gravy — apparently without his partner's knowledge — announced that A.Dd+ was over. For a half-decade, they'd been the bridge between Dallas hip-hop's ringtone rap past and its forward-thinking future, and easily the most popular rap group in the city. Perhaps times changed too much even for A.Dd+, but their cheeky, cocksure brand of fun remains sorely missed.

North Texas has had no shortage of music talent on national TV in the past 12 months. Leon Bridges, Post Malone and Kaela Sinclair have all made the rounds, with Bridges and Demi Lovato both making star turns on the stage widely acknowledged as the toughest of them all, Saturday Night Live's Studio 8H. But none of them had quite the sense of occasion and discovery of Selena Gomez's SNL appearance last January. The bedroom choreography of "Hands to Myself" got the headlines, Gomez's official doing away with her former Disney star baggage. But the real highlight was a sizzlingly assured, all-but-a-cappella rendition of "Good for You" and "Same Old Love," in which Gomez — then hot off her second-consecutive album debut at No. 1, Revival — dropped the flash to showcase a young pop star coming into her own.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

Year after year, it's the same places that pop up on any short list of the best dive bars in DFW. That's how it should be: Years, decades, even generations are required for a bar to develop into a blue-ribbon dive. They get better with age, like a fine wine — well, OK, more like a not-so-fine well whiskey, but you get the point. So is it surprising for the Lakewood Landing to be the best dive bar in Dallas? Hell no. From its wood paneling to torn-up, sticky old leather booths to the air quality that's somehow still smoky even years after indoor smoking was banned, the Landing is a dive to make your grandfather proud, right down to a bar staff with a touchingly old-school mentality. Granted, Papa might not know what to make of the corn dogs, and he'd probably be just as well without the hipsters who frequent it, but even a true-blue dive has to keep up — a little — with the times.

Readers' Pick:

Lee Harvey's

If you're not quite sure what to make of the newly resuscitated Ships Lounge, that's OK. After almost exactly a year with the lights out, the oldest dive in Dallas came back seemingly from the dead last July, under new ownership and with more than a few changes. Wine was added to the bar, bring-your-own-liquor was abolished and they started accepting credit cards. A whole upstairs area was built out. But some other key things have remained, like beloved bartender Pam Shaddox, the Wednesday night weenies and, most important of all, the jukebox. No bar in Dallas is more inextricably linked with its jukebox, in all its old-school soul, R&B and country and western glory. Without it, Ships would never be the same bar, and you'd know once and for all that Lower Greenville had given way to creeping Uptownization. So grab your change and spin 'em while you got 'em, Dallas.

A dimly lit bar with retro fixtures that hearken back to the 1960s would be, not surprisingly, the best place to forget the daily struggles of 2016. Tucked in a strip center in Lakewood that's just far enough removed from the madness of Lower Greenville, Cosmo's is off the beaten path, which makes it less likely that you'll run into your boss or an ex that you're trying to avoid. (They'll probably be next door at the Landing.) Cosmo's serves up an array of strong signature martinis and pizzas that are half-off on Sundays. It's easy to lose yourself in the mesmerizing flames of the indoor fireplace or outdoor fire pit, especially in those cold weather months. All the more reason Cosmo's is the best place to hide away from the world.

Good Luck Karaoke, a creation of Oliver Peck, Josh Hammertimez and George Quartz, got its start six years ago at Double Wide, but for the last two and a half years it's made its home at Twilite Lounge on Thursday nights. The hosts pick a theme and stay in character the entire night, miming backup guitar for each singer with Guitar Hero props. During a recent night they had a "wig party" and Peck looked like he stepped right out of Wayne's World with a platinum mullet and black plastic framed glasses. Karaoke jams as tried and true as Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl" to newer hits like Sia's "Elastic Heart" help keep things interesting. An amiable crowd two-steps to country ballads and applauds graciously for each singer, making this perhaps the most interactive karaoke night in Dallas as well.

Readers' Pick:

Double Wide

It's not about the singing, OK? A good karaoke spot, like a good karaoke singer, needs only to have the right spirit to be a success. And Family Karaoke has spirit to spare. The large space means multiple rooms, with decent sound muffling to go as loud as you'd like. The rooms are comfortable, with cozy couches and solid speakers. It has a full stocked bar and food options that range from the typical bar food (chicken wings, mozzarella sticks) to delicious Japanese options (miso udon.) The location seems sketchy but adds to the allure of the place and welcome diversity of the patrons.

With a three-sided bar on the ground level and a wrap-around upper viewing deck with a full bar that gives concertgoers a bird's-eye view of the stage, Trees is definitely the best bar to catch a rock show. The super tall stage elevates bands to rock god status, and the floor slopes gradually to the front, meaning there isn't a bad vantage point in the house. Rock legend Kurt Cobain famously got in a scuffle here in the early '90s during his show with Nirvana, and even as recently as March of this year, fights broke out on stage with the Orwells and security during Spillover Fest. This club doesn't just look cool and sling cold drinks, it has the rough-and-tumble pedigree that makes it the best.

Readers' Pick:


If historical significance alone were enough to rank local concerts, Kraftwerk's September visit to The Bomb Factory would easily be No. 1. The German quartet may not be a household name, but with songs like "Autobahn," "Trans-Europe Express" and "Tour de France," they've have had an impossibly huge influence on the past four decades of music, from rock 'n' roll to hip-hop to electronic dance music. They may or may not have ever even played here before this year: Bootlegs exist of a show supposedly recorded in Dallas in 1975, but there are strong indications that it was recorded elsewhere and little outside evidence to suggest the show even happened. But none of that is necessary to understand why Kraftwerk's stop in Deep Ellum was so remarkable. It was a show that played by an entirely different set of rules from other concerts, from the breathtaking use of 3-D imagery to the ingenious deployment of robots that took the place of the band members at one point. Kraftwerk's music still feels ahead of its time, but even as they revisited their past work they pushed it into the future, redefining what the concert format itself is capable of.

RBC is known for hosting shows with diverse lineups and showcasing up-and-coming artists, so it's no surprise that it's also the best place to discover new music. The much-talked-about Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions on Mondays have been a showcase for the experimental music scene in Dallas for two and half years. The weekly event is the brainchild of Stefan González, who configured something of an open mic (with performers vetted ahead of time), so no one gets on stage who didn't earn a spot. Outward Bound features mostly Dallas acts, but performers from around the nation and far-flung regions like Japan, France and Lebanon have graced the stage. It's been the incubator for genres like harsh noise, industrial, dance music, acoustic singer-songwriters and avant-garde jazz groups, so prepare for a grab-bag of acts, some of whom might become the next big thing.

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