Best Spontaneous Song Generator 2019 | Paul Slavens and Friends | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Paul Slavens is a fixture in local music. The Dentonite who sings and plays keys for the long-running, Dallas-based alt-rock band Ten Hands is truly a virtuoso in his field, and his almost-weekly gig at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton on Mondays is a perfect example of his musical genius. Great for a date night, taking the kids out or just sipping beer, Slavens' Spontaneous Song Generator night gives the audience control. Simply hand Slavens a piece of paper or bar napkin with a made-up song title and a few bucks for a tip, and listen as he makes up a song inspired by your input on the spot. Using his keyboard and beats he's composed and recorded, it's pure fun all around. If you can't grab cash first, Slavens usually offers payment through Venmo.

Ed Steele
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studio

No other music venue in North Texas has undergone quite as many changes over the past year as Denton's new and improved Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. The once-grimy DIY venue that's positioned mere feet from the train tracks that run through Denton's industrial district reopened earlier this year after shuttering in 2016 — booting the filthy toilets and sticky floors for a shinier, polished version of itself. The venue has hosted some of North Texas' rowdiest punk shows for a couple of decades, so it was high time for a little spring cleaning. Longtime fans will remember the many stickered and graffitied walls, the bathroom horror stories and possibly the legend about a scorpion falling from the ceiling and stinging a guitar player onstage. Today, under new ownership and staff, Gloves can thrive again as a cleaner arts venue welcoming anyone with a creative itch to its updated and spacious digs.

This year, the Denton Main Street Association presents the 26th annual Twilight Tunes concert series on the lawn of the Denton County Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum. The free, family-friendly eclectic series features a mix of rock, big band, Motown, Americana, bluegrass and country performers. As long as the weather is nice, it's worth the drive to check out the performance while picnicking on the lawn with sandwiches or a cheese plate from home or a to-go order from a restaurant on the Square. The spring and summer series usually runs from mid-April to the end of June with concerts on Thursdays from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Twilight Tunes is scheduled to return for a fall series on Thursdays Oct. 3 through Oct. 24. The concerts take place rain or shine with an updated indoor location posted on social media.

It's now easier than ever to get to Dallas' best place to dance. After closing its original Knox-Henderson location, Beauty Bar opened shop in a bigger, better location, with a huge dance floor and flashier, more vibrant bar. Getting an Uber or a Lyft in Deep Ellum is a bitch-and-a-half, especially with the new designated drop-off and pick-up areas. So skip those surged fees and hop on the green line to Deep Ellum station. After a quick, 10-minute walk to Beauty Bar, you and your squad will be at the hottest spot in town, ready to get your groove on. Sip on some bomb cocktails and back that thang up on the dance floor to everything from throwback favorites to current bangers.

The résumé of Norman "MouseQuake" Barrett speaks for itself. His national credits for production and engineering work include Lil' Wayne, Nas, David Banner, UGK, Kevin Gates and ScarFace, to name a few. Locally he's crafted and cured beats for Rakim Al Jabbaar, Stone Mecca, DQ Hampton, Flower Child, Shoose McGee, Flexinfab and on and on. MouseQuake's profession can be a thankless job. When the finished product is streamed or performed onstage, it's easy for artists and fans to forget about the person who created the instrumental. What differentiates MouseQuake is that what he provides to the DFW hip-hop community is deeper than beats and proper EQ levels. He's a mentor who shares wisdom and experiences aimed at helping local artists become the best version of themselves.

Roderick Pullum
Kimber Fox

Kimber "Crimsin" Fox is a DFW native who established her entertainment career and substantial following as a member of the Her Sins Burlesque & Cabaret troupe when she lived in Austin. Upon moving back to Dallas in 2017, she established a subsidiary of the troupe called the Erotic Side of Sin. Through that brand, Fox has done a great deal as a performer and producer to elevate erotic performance art into the mainstream of Dallas burlesque. The themes of her shows include elements of kink and fetish with the intent to normalize expression in ways that are safe and consensual. There's surface entertainment value in her productions, but for Fox it's important that people learn they shouldn't be ashamed of who they are as sexual beings as long as consent has been established.

EvryDay Tony has a lot going for him besides a cool stage name. Honestly, we don't know much about him, but here's what we've gathered so far: The up-and-coming rapper hails from Arlington by way of New Jersey. Lyrically he's armed with potent punch lines and stellar lyricism. Back in March he stood out among a strong crop of talent at the Master of the Mic competition, which he won. Also, EvryDay Tony has a strong team behind him. He's signed to Fort Worth hip-hop icon Erotic-D's label E-World, which means he has plenty of fire beats to go with his exceptional lyrics. For anyone who's in the market to become a new fan of a local rapper, you should listen to his song "Super Nova" immediately when it becomes available. If the legendary Italian director Sergio Leone came back from the dead to direct a modern, hip-hop-influenced western, "Super Nova" would be the theme song.

Kathy Tran
Gavin Mulloy represents.

Promoter and music marketing guru Gavin Mulloy has been a pillar of the Dallas live-music industry for more than a decade. After manning the creative director post at the Granada for five years, he left to oversee marketing for Trees and The Bomb Factory. This made him a vital part of maintaining and elevating the resurgence of live music in Deep Ellum. He also handles marketing for Dallas-Fort Worth's seminal local music event Homegrown Festival. Last year he headed north for a position at Legacy Hall in Plano, which gave instant credibility to their live-music ventures. Mulloy is an outspoken staple of the community whose passion extends to the people and businesses of Deep Ellum. He's typically present at any town hall meeting or panel discussion relevant to Deep Ellum, and whether online or in public, he'll spar with whomever for what he believes is in the best interests of the diverse population of residents, patrons and business owners who are the lifeblood of Deep Ellum.

In the year of our Lord 2019, it's nearly impossible to get a decent adult beverage for under $10. Thankfully, Bryan Street Tavern has us covered. A vodka soda will set you back only $3.25 during happy hour, which is Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. They also run daily specials like half-price pizza on Mondays and half-price Texas drafts on Tuesdays. It's also a great date spot. When you get bored of all that awkward small talk and you need something to do with your hands, you can play darts or pool. Plus the cavernous lighting is flattering, no matter the time of day. As an added bonus, the bar is a stand-alone establishment with plenty of parking, and they're conveniently located in East Dallas.

Anyone who's lived in Dallas for more than a few years has heard of The Balcony Club. Settled a few feet above ground adjacent to the historic Lakewood Theatre, the Balcony Club is primed for people-watching. The club opened in the late 1980s and has faced many closure threats through the years. Yet the club's original decor and comforting, community-based feeling survives. Folks commingle among the dusty neon and velvet unlike any other place in the city, and whether it's in the bar or the dance floor at Mi Cocina below the balcony, there's always something to eavesdrop on. The best time to visit the club is Sunday nights, when jazz, poetry and people who actually go out on Sunday nights convene. You never know who you'll meet — or what you'll hear.

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