Tonight, Tonight: Crushed Stars' Record Release at La Grange, The Demigs at Dan's Silverleaf, Geistheistler at Rubber Gloves, J. Charles and Corey Howe at Bar Belmont and Cowboys From Hell Paso at Trees

A fairly busy Thursday night with some fine local acts showing their stuff all over the area.

Crushed Stars at La Grange
Crushed Stars consists of soft-spoken, local singer-songwriter Todd Gautreau and whoever he decides to work with at a given time. On the just released Convalescing in Braille, Crushed Stars' fifth effort, Gautreau decided to employ the services of producer John Congleton and drummer Jeff Ryan. Both were inspired choices as Braille is, by far, the liveliest set of songs Gautreau has even conceived. In the past, Gautreau has made some beautiful music that was so atmospheric it almost floated away before a listener could digest it. According to Gautreau, tonight's show features the best line up Crushed Stars has ever used. I sincerely hope he's right -- Gautreau's music deserves wider recognition.

The Demigs, Tiger Tooth & Paw and Manned Missles at Dan's Silverleaf in Denton
Denton's The Demigs used to get a fair share of flack for looking and sounding like The Pixies, but Chris Demiglio and crew have come a long way since those early Frank Black comparisons. The band's sophomore effort, Cities Can Wait, is just about to hit the streets and features a much more textured sound than the fractured noise of the past. A song like "Sophisticates and Sedatives" would have sounded completely out of place on an earlier release, but now comes off as perfectly suited to the band's matured vibe. Growing older and wiser, Chris Demig may well be hitting his songwriting stride.

Geistheistler, Final Club, Kampfgrounds and A Smile Full of Ale at Hailey's Club in Denton
Four Denton acts that all raise a hell of a ruckus merge onto a lengthy bill that is guaranteed to bring a smile and a headache to anyone brave enough to attend. Although Geistheistler headlines, Final Club may well be the best band on this particular evening. Check out "Surfing with the Devil" from Final Club for some cool, indie noise.

J. Charles and Corey Howe at Bar Belmont
The DC9-sponsored free Thursday night concert series at Oak Cliff's Belmont Hotel continues tonight as two Manhandler Booking acts share the stage, backed by the capable Danny Crelin on pedal steel. J. Charles fronts the Lucero-owing J. Charles and The Train Robbers -- the same backing band, more or less, that Howe refers to as his Dead Flowers. Tonight, they both ditch the backing band in favor of more acoustic fodder.

Cowboys From Hell Paso and Hillbilly Orchestra at Trees
Cowboys From Hell Paso is actually one of the few tribute acts that has the blessings of the band to which they play tribute. Yup: Pantera's own Vinnie Paul digs them and has given them his stamp of approval. So that should be enough for most Pantera fans. Besides, what else does a metal head have to do on a Thursday night?

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Darryl Smyers
Contact: Darryl Smyers