Music Picks: Index Festival, St. Vincent and More

Index Festival comes to Deep Ellum this weekend, bringing with it a slew of impressive national acts (most notably EL-P and Killer Mike's Run the Jewels collaboration) and locals (including our current cover story subject, Son of Stan). Elsewhere, former Polyphonic Spree member St. Vincent plays the First Unitarian Church.

Index Festival

Friday and Saturday, October 18 and 19, in Deep Ellum

This is the second year of the Deep Ellum Spune-hosted Index fest, and this time it's much bigger. The 2013 Index will span two days on nine stages, and will showcase more than 70 bands. Yes, SEVENTY. And, no, it's not just a bunch of filler, either. Index Fest has something for everyone. On Friday the spectrum spans from the folky indie-pop of Andrew Bird all the way to the art-rap of El-P and Killer Mike's Run the Jewels collaboration (with more than plenty in between). Saturday is arguably the stronger day of the two, boasting an extremely impressive and diverse group of acts. Specifically, make sure to catch these three: the exquisitely dark post-punk band Warpaint, the historically savvy Americana rockers Titus Andronicus and the DJ-as-creator pop collagist Girl Talk. With this many bands and this much beer, I dare you not to have a good time. Jonathan Patrick

St. Vincent

Saturday, October 19, at the First Unitarian Church of Dallas

When Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) appeared on The Colbert Report with Talking Heads singer David Byrne to perform a track from their Love This Giant album, host Stephen Colbert asked what a "legend" like Byrne was doing with St. Vincent because, as he so deftly noted, "I mean, you're David Goddamn Byrne." It's true that Byrne could have had his pick of any young musician to team up with on an album but it was clear from the surprised look on his face that he thought he was the lucky one in the duo. The Dallas native takes full advantage of her porcelain appearance to shock audiences with original songs about pain and rage and a unique sound that's a mix of punk and artistic rock. Danny Gallagher

Steve Earle

Saturday, October 19, at Granada Theater

At 58, Steve Earle is the elder statesman of the entire alternative country/roots-rock scene. Ironically, Earle's best music came after he had hit rock bottom with drugs landing him in jail in 1994. Since then the guy has released one classic album after another. Whether it's 1996's I Feel Alright or 2000's Transcendental Blues or this year's The Low Highway, the quality and quantity of Earle's catalogue is simply mind-boggling. Known for his way with melody and his unflinching leftist political bent, Steve Earle makes music that is thoughtful, dynamic and always on target. Seeing the guy onstage is like witnessing a countrified Howlin' Wolf playing the songs of Hank Williams Sr. It is often a revelatory experience, a chance to see a living legend play out his second chance with style and power to spare. Darryl Smyers

Voodoo Glow Skulls and The Toasters

Sunday, October 20, at Three Links

Bands like 311, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Reel Big Fish owe a very large thank you to ska-punk innovators Voodoo Glow Skulls and The Toasters. Both bands' brave combination of the punk-rock sensibility with the sounds of brass instruments on backup helped usher in the wave that those aforementioned bands have been riding ever since, only they took it further by daring to have a unique sense of humor in their lyrics, even when tackling serious subject matter. Now the bands that helped bridge many gaps in music are coming together to combine their unique sounds into a glorious symphony of the ska-punk movement's roots. Danny Gallagher

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