Riding the Bench

Watching Game 3 of the Mavs-Kings series (or as we refer to it: The Best Basketball Game Ever) the other night reminded us of the local music community. Specifically, one player's performance in the two overtimes put the thought into our heads. Walt Williams--"The Wizard," they call him--had been languishing on the bench for most of the playoffs, hitting the court during junk time and pregame warm-ups, and that's about it. He was a towel-waver, the first guy off the bench during timeouts. Not much of a factor otherwise. But on Saturday night he came up big, knocking down a pair of threes and slamming home another crucial basket. All he needed was a shot, a chance to show what he can do.

And that got us thinking about all the good bands riding the bench in the D-D-FW area, and there are a ton of them, just waiting to get in the game and show what they can do. We try to throw a spotlight on as many as we can, but we generally lack the time or space to keep up. (Some would also add "and the inclination." Bastards.)

This weekend, however, a number of them are creating their own opportunities. First up is The Long Con, a two-day showcase at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton put together by the Pyramid Scheme, a Denton-based collective that aims to make music and art of all kinds available to a wider audience. The Long Con is a pretty good representation of that goal. The first night, May 16, features sets by Silver Arrows, Bridges and Blinking Lights, Raised by Tigers, Faux Fox, Stanton Meadowdale, John Wesley Coleman and Panda. (For more information on Panda, check out the story on the group in the next few pages.) Performances by Pathosphere, History at Our Disposal, Warren Hearn, Dokodemo Doa, the Angelus, Mandarin and Mission Giant are scheduled for the next night. Call Dan's (940-320-2000) for tickets; admission is six bucks each night, or $10 for both. (You should double up; it's a fantastic lineup.) And the first 25 people at the club by 6:30 p.m. get in free. The show starts at 7 p.m., so that's not too early.

On May 18, Dallas folks get a dose, with the somewhat clumsily titled North Texas All Ages Indie Rock Showcase, which happens, of all places, at The Rock. Yes, the ASKA-kicking metal bar on Main Street. Or, as Regal Dime's Kimball Davis calls it, "The only bar in Deep Ellum that believed we could do something or returned our calls." On that bill are Benway, Heaven is a Hotel, Regal Dime, Black Lights and Lady of the Lake. The show happens from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and shouldn't cost too much to get in. "We are trying to give kids in the area something to do," Davis says. "At the same time exposing the public to local artists they haven't heard. We would like this to turn into a regular event."

To that end all of the bands (minus Lady of the Lake) will play together the next week (May 21) at Club Dada. "In my opinion, these bands are some of the most innovative and up-and-coming bands in the metroplex, and I'm very proud to be playing these shows with them," Heaven is a Hotel's James Swenson says. "I'm also grateful these nontraditional venues, for indie rock, were willing to let us hold our events at their clubs." Give 'em a chance.

There's another multiband bill happening this week, at the Cavern on May 19, but it's for very different reasons. Mur, Dick Tokyo, New Style American Boyfriends, the Golden Falcons, Speedealer and the pAper chAse (who will possibly play acoustic) have banded together to raise money for a local bartender whose family was recently the victim of a horrific crime. She's been through enough, so she doesn't want her name or any details used, but when we read about it, we wanted to empty our pockets right then. The fact that so many bands (Pleasant Grove and the Baptist Generals also tried to join the show, but eight bands were too much for the Cavern's limited accommodations) are willing to pitch in to help should be reason enough to come out. Doors open at 8 p.m., a $5 donation is required and a percentage of the bar will be tossed into the kitty as well. Do your part.
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Zac Crain
Contact: Zac Crain