There's been a bit of collective chatter lately, about how Dallas in 2007 or 2008 was the last time there was this feeling of momentum in the music and arts scenes. I can't speak to that, but there was definitely a similar wave hitting Austin during that span of time: Red River was turning into a more diverse, interesting place; artists and musicians were throwing shows in abandoned shopping centers or basements. Chances were being taken. Maybe scenes have parallel surges like this often, and I just haven't noticed the bigger picture. There's got to be a certain cultural telepathy.
Chatter is good; it means people are paying attention. I thought about that as I surveyed the crowd at Ynfynyt Scroll's EP release Friday at Beauty Bar. There was a diversity I haven't witnessed that often at shows here. The demo skewed early to-mid-20s, like many of Track Meet's past events, but there was a sense that the line between DJ and crowd was much less important than the typical club night. Track Meet, and a handful of other DFW DJs and producers, are taking a punk approach to their tribe, in terms of fashion, aesthetic and sound. Friday was another variation on theme -- a black light party -- and by 1.a.m., there was little to no parking left on the dance floor.
That feeling extended to Saturday night. Under the haze of the supermoon, New Jersey's Screaming Females brought the house party feel to Queen City Hall. It only took five minutes for sauna conditions to descend, but it oiled necks, as punks, hip-hop heads and metal kids all tilted in unison to the trio's '70s power chords. Singer/guitarist Marissa Paternoster has more control over her voice now, a complement to their tighter song structures. At one point, she looked up at one of the guys directly in front of her, dark bangs nearly covering her eyes, and gave him a look that I know well. Feeling sweat drip down my back is a live show experience that never fails to thrill me.
Over at Sarah Jaffe's sold-out Granada show, things were a little more low-key. Scott Danbom on keys is her secret weapon, a nuanced player whose talent for harmony and shade are fully utilized live. They ran through many of the new songs on The Body Wins, but her a cappella version of Drake's "Shut It Down" was possibly my favorite of the night. In the live context, Jaffe conveyed the song's sentiment a little better: "Put those fucking heels on and work it girl/Let that mirror show you what your doing/Put that fucking dress on and work it kind of vicious/Like somebody's taking pictures."
It wasn't a completely representative sampling of this "feeling," but it was a weekend in which Dallas dance music seemed to be turning a corner, a touring act could pack out Queen City Hall and a local act could sell out the Granada.