Four straight shows in Deep Ellum, at four different venues, just in one weekend. It’s an idea that's so outrageous, so bodacious, so dangerous and frankly so ridiculous, that even Garth Brooks wouldn’t attempt it.
That's what the Ottoman Turks will be doing this week. Friends of the Dallas band will have no excuse for missing them.
The last band to try to play four weekend gigs in Deep Ellum were the Old 97's, and while that tour has become the stuff of legend, the 97's only made it through two nights. Of course, there are rumors of the Reverend Horton Heat playing night after night (after night) in Deep Ellum sometime in the early '90s, but no physical records of that era have survived.
Regardless, the official record was set by the Old 97's in 2001, and it has stood for more than two decades. One man and one artifact connect this weekend’s tour to that hallmark: an old poster of the 97’s tour hanging in the AllGood Café, and the AllGood’s owner (and longtime Deep Ellum booking agent) Mike Snider.
Snider was recently at the Double Wide looking for bands to help fill out dates as AllGood celebrated its 22nd anniversary. He ran into Nathan Wells, frontman of the Turks, and they quickly settled on a date. Not long after that, some other friends called, looking to fill out a show the same weekend. An idea started to form. Inspired by that poster of the Old 97's hanging in the All Good, Wells started to see how far he could push the concept.
Enough to break the Old 97's two-decade-old mark?
Ottoman Turks at the Granada Theater, April 2021.
Ken Bethea of the Old 97's grudgingly admits that the Ottoman Turks' weekend tour would be quite an accomplishment.
“Yeah, that would pretty much crush us," he says. "Four shows count as a legit tour. Two shows don’t even make a proper weekend.”
Showing the spirit of real champion, Bethea will help out on guitar when the Turks take the stage on opening night.
World records aside, the Tour of Deep Ellum will be filled with meaning for the Turks, who are legit Deep Ellum kids who grew up in the neighborhood. In the early days of the band they would load out their gear and park the car at Wells’ home before walking back to the venue. The outlaw rockers are now a critically acclaimed local favorite and the band of breakout country star Joshua Ray Walker. This is their way of connecting the history of the neighborhood to the present.
Given the band’s frenetic energy on stage, it’s far from certain they will be able to finish all four nights. You can cheer these crazy dreamers on this weekend: Thursday at Three Links
, Friday at the AllGood Café
, Saturday at the Double Wide
and Sunday at the Twilite Lounge