With the 26th annual Dallas Observer Music Awards just around the corner -- in fact, the band showcase happens this Saturday night all around Deep Ellum -- we've been spending the past several weeks highlighting some of the nominees for this year's awards. And when we say that these artists are the "best," don't just take our word for it: We polled 150 local music experts to pull together the nominees this year, so they come on pretty good authority.
With the showcase finally upon us, what better category is there to shine the spotlight on than the candidates for Best Live Act? Each of these artists will be playing the showcase this weekend and, needless to say, each will make for must-see shows. It's a diverse crowd, from rappers to performance artists to punk bands, but that's just the way we like it. Oh, and with the awards ceremony happening a week from tomorrow, don't forget to vote!
A.Dd+ make the most of their surroundings. The sun was still out when they started their set at Untapped Fest on November 1st and the crowd was basically a bunch of people standing sideways in beer lines. With total equanimity, A.Dd+ launched headfirst into an incredible performance from start to finish. Within 15 minutes, several photographers had gathered in front of the stage and a wildly enthusiastic crowd filled the area, several of them jumping up and down and screaming. A.Dd+ were getting off the stage, interacting with the audience, pointing at faces that we were hanging on each and every word. A.Dd+ make it look easy. The positivity and happiness they radiate is irresistible.
Wanz Dover is a veteran of the local music scene. As diverse as his talents are, it is impossible to confuse him with anyone else. If he is performing with a band or at a DJ stand, it's going to sound good. The Black Dotz, fronted by Dover, will release some very different, badass recordings in 2015. The evidence is here with "Last Days of Pompeii" serving as a perfect teaser to the upcoming tracks. As a live act, the Black Dotz are raucous, in-your face and intensely focused. The band is on to something new and tossing out the old, but hopefully they still conjure up that insane Patti Smith cover once in a while.
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George Quartz is a crooner and sometimes he looks like Michael Stipe dressed up like Hunter S. Thompson for Halloween. Over the years, Quartz has developed his own unique electronic sounds as well as a knack for making strange songs like Harry Nilsson's "Coconut" or Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug" even stranger. As fun as this sounds, there is no question that he is very serious about what he does. In May, Quartz and artist/curator Art Pena paired for a performance art triptych. Among many other things, these shows had themes of pop-culture and cultism with blood-bathed women in bikinis on display; not bad for a five dollar cover. Quartz is a persona; his shows are movies he stars in or a program he hosts. His crowds are confused and mesmerized and he fucks with them wholeheartedly.
Party Static have been kicking ass all year long. If this is news to you, perhaps you don't go to shows or maybe you are one of those people who refuse to pay a cover. There's no other reason to have missed them at this point. They haven't had a single bad show this year, having played Dada, Behind the Screen, Three Links and Doublewide among other places. They killed when they headlined and held their own against every band they supported. What started out as something fun and different has evolved into five musicians with very different backgrounds coalescing into something wild and great. A true party, in other words.
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Sealion have very quickly established themselves as a go-to live act in Dallas. Their music is infectious punk that is harmonic and deceptively simple at first glance. Every once in a while they sound raunchy enough to be in a John Waters' film. Promoters can easily bill them with all sorts of bands and it is impossible to imagine a bad set from them. But headliners like Paul Collins Beat have recently found out that Sealion have their own devoted fans who show up specifically to hear them. The band has had a busy schedule of shows all year and released an album that does their blistering live shows justice.
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