Best Place To Watch a Tribute Band 2023 | Legacy Hall | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Kathy Tran

We recommend checking out DFW's original music scene, but if your cup of sweet tea consists in having some beers and singing along to songs you know all too well, then no judgment. Legacy Hall in the swanky Plano entertainment district Legacy West books tribute bands almost exclusively, but also has trivia nights, and it serves as a big sports bar during important games. The cafeteria-style venue has dozens of mini restaurants serving a variety of flavors from bourbon ice cream to tandoori chicken. So if you want to catch a Queen tribute band followed by a screening of Spice World, douse your chips in vinegar and sing along to "Radio Gaga" like you're watching Freddie at Wimbledon.

Best Big Dallas Band That Dallas Hasn't Heard Of


Courtesy of Polyphia

The mostly instrumental band Polyphia has such a mix of influences that it satisfies the discriminating taste of jazzheads, world-music chasers and those dudes who sit in the corner of Deep Ellum bars with an approving stank face while lost in the groove. The group's broad appeal is easily quantifiable; Polyphia has millions of listeners just on Spotify. But the Plano band that plays to huge crowds around the world isn't a household name in Dallas — at least not yet. Wait until word gets out that a local band is popular elsewhere, and local fans will flock to it; it's a Dallas tradition.

Katherine Tejada

Any time a '90s-rock-influenced indie band comes out of DFW, you just know it's from Denton. And that's a true compliment. Smothered, a four-piece formed by singer Taylor Watt and drummer Simon Russell, is an alt-rock outfit that's a guitar-driven, scream-filled, grungy trip back to the nights of MTV-binging and days of Bill's-Records-browsing for the latest Tripping Daisy. But the group has 2020s values: Smothered donated half of the proceeds of their latest single "My Southern Girl" to an LGBTQ+ nonprofit. Rad.

Daven Martinez

At this point, the expression "Thoughts and Prayers" is more loaded with sarcasm than any word out of Audrey Plaza's sardonic mouth, yet some lazy, naive "well-wishers" still believe it's an appropriate response to any tragedy. This was the idea behind drummer-turned-singer Young Dean's video for his single "Thoughts and Prayers." As we wrote in November, his debut solo song is "a bomb of chamber pop originality" that tackles those uncommitted, indifferent pleasantries uttered in the aftermath of shootings and the threat of human rights violations. The first video for the album Terror on Vacation illustrated the song's message with a kitsch Tex-Mex hodgepodge of religious iconography in the style of tattoo art — after the song slaps you with Motown-style keys. You have to see it.

Brian Maschino

The past few years have been trying for everyone, and we're only talking about the pandemic and its ripple effects in the workforce. Add to that mass violence, political disarray and a general rise in unhappiness correlated to the use of social media. Sometimes the best ways to cope are those tried-and-true comforts that kept humanity thriving through the ages: community support, talking to strangers and finding common ground with others. Foundation 45 was born from the loss of two Deep Ellum residents, and the nonprofit continues to fight for better mental health for all through meetings, events, art therapy classes and other resources. It's so much more than a crisis hotline; for many, it's an actual lifeline.

Jason Janik

Everyone has a different idea of what an ideal playlist entails when it comes to a banging night out, but longtime DJ and Dallas musician Wanz Dover really knows how to soundtrack a Saturday night. Dover's weekend series plays through the decades with electrofunk, cold wave, disco and soul, so it's part music lesson, entirely a vibe. It also takes place at Charlie's Star Lounge, our 2022 winner for Best Rock Bar, making it the perfect marriage of cool sound and cool space.

Courtesy of DSO

Five years ago, Kim Noltemy left Boston for a sweet new gig as president and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Association. In 2019, she achieved one of her goals for the organization when the association took over management of the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center. Her bigger goal is an ongoing challenge: beyond bringing audiences to the symphony, she aims to bring classical music to audiences everywhere. That's why you'll see the DSO playing for the elderly at home or on buses and teaching kids in elementary classrooms. Noltemy's overarching aim is to get Dallas to take the same civic pride in its orchestra as it does in its sports teams. Mission accomplished.

Courtesy of Casablanca

The spotlight can feel like a heat lamp from hell or a beacon of light on your unrecognized talent, but whether you can't carry a tune or can sing like a nightingale, your stab at karaoke will entertain crowds. But the best is when you get the chance to sing in front of friends who'll laugh a bit with you and somewhat at you, and not with large audiences who'll definitely be laughing at you. Casablanca is a luminous bar in Bishop Arts that offers private karaoke rooms, the Casanova Karaoke Lounge, with all-day or hourly options. It has a full menu, with plenty of cocktail choices for your friends — who'll surely need them after you bust out an old bore like Lady Gaga's "Shallow." Don't play it again, Sam.

Little image is ironically named, because the Dallas band keeps a consistently striking visual presence. Just look at the alt-rockers' music videos, such as "Out of My Mind," or their Instagram page, which follows the same red-to-white-to-black ratio of a White Stripes marketing rollout. The group's complementary color scheme on Instagram is cohesive, but their look is not overly curated. And it's not all crimson smoke and mirrors. Little image's aesthetic is but one component of the band's overall irresistible artistic package, which starts with the rocking pop flavor of the band's music.

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