For more than a decade, the carefully woven fabric that is Dallas’ local music scene has hardly ever turned its back on any thought-out musical subgenre or intricately produced multimedia cacophony. Nearly every night, some bar room, ballroom or living room in the city is vibrating with the sounds of music both mainstream and madcap. This Friday, one particular local showcase (of the madcap variety) will hold its 100th show.
“Dallas, but really DFW at large, has an incredibly creative music scene,” says Lily Taylor, local musician and host of BandWidthTX on 92.9 FM KUZU in Denton. “Any genre you may be interested in, or might not even know about, is happening here.”
Run With Scissors #100 will feature Taylor alongside former This Will Destroy You member Donovan Jones, aka Black Taffy. The showcase, which normally runs every Thursday at Tradewinds Social Club in Oak Cliff, will include a special song from the duo on a much more crowd-friendly Friday night, on June 28. The lineup includes the likes of the Spanish singing synth-punk quartet Seres, Body Mechanics, Melting Season and North Texas’ extraterrestrial digital dance demons, AFTV.
The showcase’s founder and lead booker, Jim Branstetter, says he wants the 100th edition to stand as a thank you to the artists and fans who’ve kept the show going since it debuted on Tuesday nights in 2017. Getting his start booking acts for Harper’s Revue, another experimental music showcase formerly held at the now closed Crown and Harp, Branstetter says Taylor was a mentor to him when he started. After the bar closed down and he moved to Oak Cliff, he decided to make a night of his own at his new neighborhood dive.
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“At the time I was doing it there were some DIY shows, and they were getting shut down because of the fire department,” Branstetter says. “I kind of wanted to have a DIY type showcase, those kind of acts. But you know, kind of in a place that’s safe and you know it’s going to be OK.”
He pitched the idea of a Tuesday night showcase to Tradewinds manager Justin DiBernardo just one month after the closing of Crown and Harp, which was also where the Gonzalez brothers’ Outward Bound Mixtape Sessions began. Since then, touring acts such as Austin’s The Reploids, Last King of Poland out of Chicago and Norway’s Golden Oriole have taken the stage at Run With Scissors alongside local acts both obscure and beloved.
Run With Scissors, like similar experimental showcases both current and before its inception, draws a mixed bag of music lovers from all across the DFW area, with each crowd looking different from the last, and where folk punk acts follow Taiko drummers before an electro headliner. The first Thursday of every month, Branstetter says, they put on a duo of artists who most of the time have never played an improvised set, accompanied by project visuals, which will be handled by Kent Evans on the upcoming 100th show.
The show will start at 9 p.m. at Tradewinds Social Club in Oak Cliff with a DJ set by Ev Borman, whom Taylor calls a driving force in Dallas’ music scene, and Branstetter says has acted as guest booker for Run With Scissors in the past. A $5 cover and 21-year-old age limit are all that’s keeping you from seeing one of Dallas’ coolest local showcases.