Spring Fling

We here at the Dallas Observer have been griping for years about downtown Dallas, about the need for more entertainment options in the area, not to mention the need for more people to stick around to enjoy the ones that are already there. So far, that means a handful of fine restaurants and bars (the latest addition to that number, City Tavern, a Barley House-style establishment from the fellas who brought you, well, the Barley House) and a few more nightclubs are on the way. Things appear to be getting better, but then again, they couldn't have gotten much worse.

After years of bitching, we've finally decided to put our money (OK, someone else's money) where are mouths are, in the form of the cumbersomely titled Dallas Observer Music Awards Spring Concert Series, which happens every Thursday at Pegasus Plaza, located at Main and Akard. (By the way, if you turn the name into an acronym, DOMASCS, it almost looks and sounds like "Damascus," so feel free to use that instead.) The objective, in simplest terms, is to get more people into downtown after business hours and/or give the folks already down there something to do. The shindigs kick off April 24 with a show by A Hard Night's Day (voted best cover band in our recent music awards) and Oliver's Army, followed by Eleven Hundred Springs and Tweed (May 1), Deadman and Colin Herring Band (May 8) and Sorta and the Lonelies (May 15). Each show starts at 5:30 p.m. and lasts until around 9.

The best part--besides the music, of course--is that it's all free, thanks to our alliance with Downtown Partnership Inc. (a nonprofit with hopes to revitalize, no kidding, downtown) and Budweiser, which has forked over plenty of scratch. The bands have all asked for (or accepted, at any rate) much less than they normally get, and Budweiser is putting all money from beer sales back into the program. The series lasts 12 weeks, so look for more bands to be announced. And look for us to start whining again after that. It's what we do best. That and sweeping floors. Seriously, we're surprisingly thorough.

Two items of note from last week's Bright Eyes show at Trees: We ran into Jack Ingram in the crowd, and we were as surprised to see him as he was to be there. He picked up a copy of Bright Eyes' latest, Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, a week or so prior, and he came out to Trees expecting to stay for two or three songs. By the time the group finished its encore, Ingram was still there, a bit disappointed they didn't play his two favorites from Lifted ("False Advertising" and "Nothing Gets Crossed Out") but very interested in cutting a record with the band's producer (and multi-instrumentalist onstage) Mike Mogis. Too bad they didn't hook up the night before at the Dallas Observer Music Awards show, where Ingram headlined (and took home the country trophy) and Mogis and the rest of the band, in town a day early, hung out upstairs in the dressing room. The other thing: Bright Eyes front man Conor Oberst got the biggest cheer of the night while introducing a new song, "Road to Joy." The crowd was excited to hear it, sure, but the whoops and hollers came because, in his intro, Oberst said, "You guys produced one fucked-up president," and later added, "Fuck the Dixie Chicks, fuck it all." Yeah, what he said...

One correction from last week: The Polyphonic Spree's American television debut, courtesy of Jimmy Kimmel Live, happens on April 29, not April 30 as we originally reported in the blurb we wrote for the band's Best Act Overall and Avant-Garde/Experimental wins in the DOMA issue. We are aware of the date change because seemingly everyone who has ever seen the band e-mailed to tell us so. We were tempted to put in the wrong date again just to see what would happen, but we're pretty sure the Observer's tape-and-twine server would not be able to handle the traffic. So there you go...

Hand stamps: The New Final Friday happens April 25 at Gypsy Tea Room, with DJ Rerog, DJ Nature, Pikahss, 2 Kol' Syndicate, Desperato Boyz, Sivion of Deepspace 5 and Cientro-Fixion, and it's hosted by DJ EZ Eddie D; The New Year is also at the Tea Room on April 27; The Hochimen and Tweed open for Ian Moore Action Company on April 26 at Trees; Radiant* and Far Star play Club Clearview on April 24, followed by Mur on April 25; Green Room Productions and Warner Bros. present a showcase at Curtain Club on April 24 featuring Red Animal War, Alan, Elisthe and the Broadcast; Liquid Friday Hip-Hop happens April 25 at Liquid Lounge, with Dot Matrix, Bavu Blakes, Original Soul and Mooncricket; Heaven is a Hotel performs April 30 at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios. And we're out.