Don't get us wrong--we disagree with some of the winners of our music awards too. (You think we would give Grand Street Cryers an award? Yeah, maybe--for most suckity.) But at least the readers vote on those, bless them. The Topaz Awards are voted on by "1,600 local music-industry professionals," according to NTMF organizer Paula Moore. Does this town even have 1,600 local-music fans? (Someone should also tell these professionals that Matt Pence, not Dave Willingham, produced Centro-Matic's Redo the Stacks, before Willingham wins the best producer award for which Pence should have been nominated.)
"I am trying to do this as right as possible," says Moore, who also works as an A&R rep for MCA Records. "This is beneficial to the music community, and they want to vote on who has been successful or who is worthy of merit. It's something where the music business can get together."
The showcases, which take place at venues throughout Deep Ellum on Friday and Saturday (and include an outdoor show by Tripping Daisy on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.), are hit or miss, like most weekend nights. I wouldn't mind catching Willie Nelson's daughter Paula on Saturday at the Gypsy Tea Room at midnight, but since when did a band named Ashtray Babyhead from Little Rock get a headlining spot at the Curtain Club (on Saturday at 1:15 a.m.)? And yes, you can judge a band by its name. Oddly, a good hunk of this town's best bands aren't even participating in the weekend, despite the promise (OK, threat) of A&R execs and lawyers and publishers descending upon Deep Ellum like locusts. Which is why we get Beaver Nelson from Austin instead of, say, anyone else.
"I am striving to make this a multigenre and multicultural event, but I am sticking with what I know," Moore says of the rock-heavy fest lineup (though there is an "urban showcase" Friday at the Gypsy Tea Room and a smattering of country bands throughout the weekend). "It is limited right now, but it is something supported primarily in the rock community."
Hey, I'm not trying to be a jerk about this, really. But we've lived through this nightmare before, when it was called Dimensions of Dallas during the early 1990s. Do we really need industry toadies coming to town (Eddie Kramer's so old he bleeds oil) listening to bands they'll never sign? Hey, Moore's an A&R rep for one of the biggest labels in the world--and the two bands she's trying to sign aren't even from Dallas.
"There are a lot of good local bands, but I think they're all developing," Moore says. "Unfortunately, we're living in the age of the hit single, and I have to do my job. I don't want to throw anybody to the wolves." Wake up, Dallas.
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