Through the eventful history of live performance, 2021 will stand the test of time as one of the most significant years for live music. After a year essentially sequestered at home, artists came back strong, armed with inspired new releases. Venues reopened, touring resumed and the concert industry was tasked with keeping audiences safe. Sadly, it was still a year full of loss, with the death of many prominent artists and audience members, such as the 10 people who were fatally injured during Travis Scott’s Astro World concert.
While we get many kind requests (“Shut up about politics, DO, and tell us what local bands are playing”) for local music coverage, these are the stories that most interested our readers this year.
10. On a Clear, Maskless Night, Deep Ellum Showed Its Face Again by Elvis Anderson
After Texas' mask mandate was lifted by Gov. Greg Abbott in March, we ventured out to the streets of Deep Ellum and found the neighborhood was overrun by joyful patrons, yet far more mellow than we anticipated. The neighborhood would be back to its normal rowdy self in no time.
9. Drinker Beware: The New Pantera Beer from Texas Ale Project Might Induce Headbanging by Brittany Nunn
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of Pantera’s album Reinventing the Steel
, Dallas brewery Texas Ale Project collaborated with the Arlington-born heavy metal legends on a beer. As if our drinking wasn't "heavy" enough this year.
8. We Checked Out the Musicians Who Played the Dallas QAnon Convention by Danny Gallagher
In May, the For God & Country Patriot Roundup would be one of many occasions throughout the year when Dallas would host large groups of ultra conservatives intent on congregating to share the fan fiction they call political ideas. The Memorial Day weekend event featured guest speakers and various musical acts, and naturally, we had to check out the latter. We were not disappointed. One singer-QAnoner-songwriter among the bunch was J.T. Wilde, whose bio includes the following: "J.T. found himself called to the patriot movement. He watched as our country was being lied to and torn apart by the mass media."
7. The Most Overused Songs in Movies and TV by Liam Gaughan
Martin Scorsese loves to use the Stones' "Gimme Shelter" in his soundtracks, but he's not the only filmmaker trying to beat audiences to death with a classic song. Writer Liam Gaughan listed examples of the most overused songs appearing in soundtracks from film and TV.
6. NFTs Are Taking Off in the Music Industry. What's an NFT? by Malen Blackmon
For months, the music industry was buzzing with talk about all the ways NFTs were changing the industry, but no one seemed to know what the hell an NFT was. We think we found out.
5. Donald Trump Jr. Tried to Come for Erykah Badu, and Michael Rapaport Isn’t Having it by Eva Raggio
In August, Donald Trump Jr. messed with the wrong crowd when he tried to come for neo-soul icon Erykah Badu. After tweeting a photo comparing Badu's look to Dave Chapelle dressed as '80s music star Rick James, Junior got dragged by Badu fans. Most merciless, however, was the response of actor Michael Rapaport, who made a video calling Trump Jr. a "dick stain," and offering choice words for every member of Junior's family.
4. Dallas' Hip-Hop Community Mourns the Death of Anthony 'OneSelf' Stanford by Bryson "Boom" Paul
On July 13, the local music scene suffered a major blow with the death of producer Anthony "OneSelf' Stanford, who died at age 44 after being hospitalized with COVID-19. Friends and colleagues remembered Stanford as "a true legend."
3. 8 Best Verses and Lines That Show MF DOOM's Genius by Vincent Arrieta
Rapper MF DOOM died on Oct. 31, 2020, but news of his passing didn't get out until two months later. Music critic Vincent Arrieta analyzed the late hip-hop artist's legacy and his lyrical genius through eight of his best verses.
2. Hey There, People Calling for Kirk Franklin's Cancellation: Have You Met Alec Baldwin? by Raven Jordan and Eva Raggio
In March, North Texas gospel singer Kirk Franklin became the subject of online scrutiny when his adult son, Kerrion Franklin, leaked an audio to his Instagram account in which his father can be heard yelling and cursing at him before hanging up. Not very church-like at all, but social media seemed to be all too happy with the shaming of Franklin while selectively forgetting all about Alec Baldwin. Before accidentally killing someone on a film set, the actor had survived a 2007 scandal just fine when a leaked voicemail surfaced of an irate Baldwin calling his then-11-year old daughter Ireland a "thoughtless little pig" who didn't "have the brains or the decency as a human being" to answer his call in time. Baldwin's offenses didn't stop there. He also did a lackluster Trump impression on SNL
and married a white woman pretending to be Latin
1. Garth Brooks Fans Say He's 'Lost His Base' After Announcing Biden Inauguration Performance by Eva Raggio
President Joe Biden's inauguration gave us unforgettable music moments, from Lady Gaga performing in her Hunger Games
best to JLo randomly shouting "Let's get loud" during her song, but the most-talked about performance no doubt came from Garth Brooks, and before he even took the stage. Brooks really made his conservative base mad when he announced he'd be going to the U.S. Capitol as a performer, not insurrectionist. Many called the moment a "slap in the face of America" and Brooks' "Dixie Chicks moment."