Every day, thousands of bands play in every corner of the globe -- it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. Here is a list of 10 DFW bands who you'll never forget seeing, according to the esteemed live music lovers at DC9 at Night. Our panel of experts on this particular one includes Jaime-Paul Falcon, Gavin Cleaver, Brian Rash, Douglas Davis, Shahryar Rizvi, Alan Ayo, Eric Grubbs and Kelly Dearmore.
New Science Projects What used to be a one-man show with folk-punk guitarist Dale Jones has morphed into a full-fledged punk band. The group follows Jones' lead, with uniform war paint and red and black makeup smeared all over their faces, necks, hands and arms. The group is known for getting sweaty as Jones shouts incomprehensible banter (and sometimes lyrics) once he goes into his possessed character. He writhes and wriggles his way into the crowd, smearing sweat and makeup onto people's shirts as he screams lyrics about politics and society into the microphone and their faces. The crowd is just as much a part of the set as the band is, and Jones is particularly adept at getting everyone singing along. You'll seldom see the band on a stage, as New Science Projects prefer the floor, where the people are.
Bad Sports, Mind Spiders At the Dallas Observer Music Awards a couple years back that a rowdy threesome pissed off what looked to be a few upper middle class, white gentlemen. After Bad Sports guitarist Orville Neeley squirted a bottle of mustard over the crowd, an angry man retaliated by slapping him in the face. A few moments later, another man threw an overpriced beer at the band. Both were escorted out firmly by security, leaving the band in good spirits and the crowd cheering for more. That's the type of action you can expect to see at Bad Sports shows. You'll see much of the same brazenness at Mind Spiders shows, since the two bands share a member or two.
The Wee Beasties If you've never seen a live Wee Beasties set, you're missing out. Lead singer and all-around troublemaker Richard Haskins is a combination of things: sweaty, loud as hell, obnoxious, perverted and often naked. His massive hairy body tests the elastic limits of his whitey-tighties as he blunders around stage instructing girls in the crowd to kiss each other, and inviting many of them up to the stage to dance, before singing music that inspires mosh pits to form at the front of the stage. It's some kind of magic.
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Unconscious Collective Bassist Aaron Gonzales, guitarist Greg Prichett and drummer Stefan Gonzales come together to form a production called Unconscious Collective, an Aboriginal-looking trio, decked out in bone necklaces, face paint and minimal clothing. Fusing jazz and blues elements into their calculative, math-laden rock, UC offers two compelling reasons to stick around -- one of which is entirely the music. These guys can certainly keep you entertained, dressed as primitive-looking hunters and gatherers, but their fast and then slow music has breathtaking crescendos that start and stop at the command of the drums, which Gonzales seems to control by spirit alone.
The Black Dotz Ginger Berry, longtime fan of The Black Dotz, has this to say about the band and why they're mind-blowing live, and honestly, she puts it best:
To see and hear the Black Dotz live is to witness a long musical history of many subgenres. Postpunk, free jazz, and all matters of blues drive The Black Dotz, encouraging the audience to feel with them not just with their heads but with their bodies. Wanza Dover, the lead singer, joins his audience writhing and raving, reconnecting a tradition of the live music experience as a time to let loose entirely and forget what you know. Going to one of their shows is what I imagine it might of been like to see Howlin Wolf playing in Sun Ra's living room while Wilson Pickett had a cigarette break on the front porch.
Bastardos De Sancho Dallas band Bastardos De Sancho has one of the most memorable live shows in the metroplex. It's one that every live music lover should see at least once. The Latin fusion metal band play the Star Wars "Imperial March" song while shouting nonsensical Spanish before each set. Three guys in Luchadore masks trapse onstage with smoke pouring from every corner before playing their infamous intro, called "Obi Juan Peyote." Could it get any better than that?
Atomic Tanlines Alli "Alli Play-Nice" Lowe is unpredictable. You never know which side of her personality you're going to get. She once ripped up an entire leopard print fur coat with a pair of scissors onstage at Reno's. But it's not all antics -- she also prefaced a heartfelt tune about gender equality at a different show with some thoughts on her friend's gender transition. People may mistake Atomic Tanlines for nothing but a fun, maladjusted punk band (which it totally is), but the band, and the lady with the afro running things have got a message to spread. "In the beginning, some people write you off or judge you harsher," says Ally regarding females versus males onstage. "When a guy messes up a song, or something along those lines, he isn't scrutinized, but when a woman messes up she is a joke. But if a woman surpasses expectations, she is only 'good for a girl,' or the fact that she is a girl gets thrown in front of everything." Go to an Atomic Tanlines show if you're ready to ride the roller coaster that it could take you on.
Mariachi Quetzal The crowd goes absolutely apeshit for this band. This nine-piece Mariachi band, dressed entirely in traditional uniforms, comes with four fiddles, three guitars and two trumpets, and there is no stopping the lustrous notes that radiate from each of the nine members. They take turns singing in unison or a cappella, while people in the crowd shout "!Olay!" and "!Ay Yay Yay!" during the course of the set. Some of the onstage dancing is choreographed but much of it is spontaneous. Either way, it's an all-around fiesta when these guys take the stage.
Fair to Midland If you've ever been to a Fair to Midland show, you know that a lot of things go on. There's the heavy synth, which ushers in drony, metal guitars and eerie samples as the lights fade. The band has gained a lot of momentum over the recent years and are now signed to a label, so attendance at their shows has been rising. Fair to Midland's lead singer is prone to doing any number of antics to the backdrop of heavy guitars and gritty rock music. As you'll see, he climbs onto the rafters, dangling upside down and singing to the crowd as they scream relentlessly and reach up to touch him.
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Spoonfed Tribe This band is delightfully weird. Their live show matches their music, which is simply indescribable to other people. You really just have to see it for yourself. If you do, you'll see that Spoonfed Tribe is like a jazzy, psychedelic, math-metal world band, with intense light shows, skull-masked guitarist and a lead singer who flails around and shouts into the mic like he's speaking in tongues.
Power Trip Power Trip scares me a little. The speed metal band elicits one of the area's most consistently enthusiastic responses. Almost immediately following the first song of the band's heavy, haunting set, people go batshit, flailing their arms, moshing heavily in the pit, which soon becomes the entire room. The crowd does cartwheels on everything from the floor to the stage where the band itself is playing. Watch a video from one of Power Trip's performances and you'll see what I'm talking about. Just you go watch. Shit's cray.