Editor: Welcome to our weekly rundown of our nine favorite shows, all of which are better than this new Lil' Wayne album. It's terrible, guys.
If you're looking for loud, head to Dada for The Casualties and awesome friends. If you're looking for something a little more multi-generational on this Easter weekend, we recommend House of Blues' brunch. Local hero Ryan Thomas Becker's doing Sparklehorse and Mindless Self Indulgence is a hell of a lot of fun live. There's more, check it out:
Ryan Thomas Becker Plays Sparklehorse, Daniel Markham, Mike Nicolai, Big Round Spectacles, Tony Ferraro Thursday, March 28, at Hailey's Club, $5/$7 This week offers us something special: One of the city's favorite songwriters, Ryan Thomas Becker, will be performing a tribute set to Sparklehorse with the help of local violinist Petra Kelly. The two did this at the Kessler last summer, when Becker used his four-track tape recorder to create backing tracks that he played along with at the show. He supplemented the sound with a synthesizer and percussion, in the form of a bicycle wheel onstage with a baseball card in the spokes. Becker says he appreciated the way Sparklehorse incorporated lo-fi, noisy sounds into the pop format. I can think of no better way to pay homage to Sparklehorse's late Mark Linkous than with a set like this. The rest of the bill is dripping with local talent as well, and it's all pretty eclectic: Daniel Markham's drony psych-folk will follow Austin singer-songwriter Mike Nicolai well. Orchestral pop band Big Round Spectacles and Satans of Soft Rock frontman Tony Ferraro's solo set will open the night. -- Rachel Watts
Junior Brown Friday, March 29, at Granada Theater, $16-$32 Indiana-born, Austin-adopted Junior Brown could also be considered a metroplex local, given how often the sharp-dressed honky-tonker plays in Dallas, and especially the Granada. Of course, it isn't by chance that the 60-year-old Brown is still helping boots scoot across Texas and beyond. Instead of fading into mid-'90s obscurity after his signature song "Highway Patrol" made him a prominent voice that bridged the gap between the mainstream and what is now called Americana, Brown has consistently produced gem after gem in terms of his catalog. It doesn't hurt that along with being a keen songwriter and expert performer, he can also count musical innovator as a bullet point on his impressive resume. As inventor of the so-called "guit-steel," a hillbilly take on the prog-favorite double-neck guitar, Brown truly developed a style all his own with the half-electric guitar and half-lap-steel rolled into one instrument. Such ingenuity is a blueprint for younger artists to follow. Want to last as a touring musician for a couple of decades? Literally invent your sound, just like Brown did. -- Kelly Dearmore
The 2nd Annual Deep Ellum Big Folkin' Festival Sunday, March 31, at The Prophet Bar, $15/$20 When it first began last year for its inaugural Deep Ellum folk-alternative event, the fest promised to take an "under-appreciated genre" and showcase it in an "underrated, historic neighborhood." It wasn't clear why folk was so misunderstood in the area, especially since there seem to be between 10 and 15 bands that could be categorized as such playing every weekend. However, this Saturday, there are five stages filled with Texas acts that excel in variations on the genre, including Quaker City Nighthawks, Kirby Brown, The Roomsounds, Holy Moly and The O's. -- Rachel Watts
The Casualties, Goatwhore, Havok Saturday, March 30, at Dada, $15 Dada is a great place to see high-energy bands. The stage, although shaped pretty weirdly, is close enough and low enough to allow for havoc, the bar takes up an entire side of the venue, and it's just the right size that everyone in the room can get totally drawn in. On these terms, high-energy punk acts like The Casualties can't fail to put on a good show, worthy of your Saturday night. The Casualties are so permanently on the road that you can't really say they're touring in support of their new album, Resistance, but there's no doubt they'll throw in a few off that. The support act of also-permanently touring Goatwhore offer a strange contrast to them in the form of a more dirgy metal, so there's something for everyone. If you have a mohawk and a studded leather jacket, attendance at this show is pretty much mandatory. This tour is for you. -- Gavin CleaverHouse of Blues Gospel Brunch with Lady Diamond Sunday, March 31, at House of Blues, $17-$40
A gospel brunch may not be a Dallas icon--the format probably originated in New York--but it's become a signature event for the House of Blues chain, although outlets have had varying degrees of success with it. According to featured performer Lady Diamond, who has starred in the weekly hallelujah-and-hash show for four years now, "Gospel Sunday" will be a monthly event where she sings in the dining room, rather than on "the main stage where all the bigwigs come," and the restaurant's done away with its "huge massive buffet." But Lady Diamond's confident she'll be able to rebuild the once-popular tourist attraction. Two show times will be offered this Easter Sunday: one at 11 a.m. and one at 1:30 p.m.-- Rachel Watts Otis Heat, The Hanna Barbarians, The Phuss Monday, April 1, at Live Oak Music Hall & Lounge, $10/$15
For a band from Portland, Oregeon, headlining act Otis Heat sure does have the whole Southern influence thing down. The trio is on tour right now in support of their recent release,Yoon
. Fitting the bill nicely is Fort Worth's bluesy alt-rock group The Hanna Barbarians and heavier "punk-blues" or "Texas-punk" group The Phuss who have put out their stuff of Denton label Do For It Records. If there is such a thing as indie blues, here's just the show.-- Rachel Watts Mindless Self Indulgence Tuesday, April 2, at House of Blues, $25
Although the music of this punk/industrial/hip-hop four-piece from New York is definitely indulgent, it is rarely mindless. In fact, Jimmy Urine and the rest of Mindless Self Indulgence create music that is long on both power and brains. Sure, it's campy and goofy, but it's done with an over-the-top attitude that has drawn kudos from the likes of Insane Clown Posse and Rammstein. And like those bands, MSI really deliver the goods on stage. In-your-face hardly begins to describe the visual assault as Urine lives up to his stage name at every opportunity. As far as albums go, 2005'sYou'll Rebel to Anything
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is about the best of fairly solid lot. Grimy, pulsating and patently vulgar, it encapsulates everything right and wrong with a band that couldn't care less what you think about them.-- Darryl Smyers
Labretta Suede, The Black Dotz Wednesday, April 3, at The Crown & Harp, Free Fearless leader of Labretta Suede and the Motel 6, Labretta Suede is a Brooklyn-based New Zealander who struts her stuff in fishnets and red lipstick, and leads the Motel 6 lo-fi garage band. Driven by bass, the band has some surf-punk influences, although it sticks pretty close to the retro model. Opening is The Black Dotz, a local favorite, led by DJ Wanz Dover, who pulls up their soul, R&B and punk roots and claw out your eyes in a white-hot blast. -- Rachel Watts