Emmeline's CD release feature at Mochalux Coffee was a real treat for the ears, during which all six songs from her newly released EP Beautiful Scars were performed live as the entire coffee house sat rapt. The applause between songs was explosive and very enthusiastic. Following the set, the Mochalux open mic continued with performances by Justin Hart, Shanna Hale, and others. Emmeline's new EP, as well as her two previous ones, Early Morning Hours and Someone to Be, are available from her at all her performances across the metroplex - see the Upcoming Events page for a listing of forthcoming shows.
(See also the previously available Ramblings & Rarities collection which I collaborated on)
Girls Rock Dallas is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to empowering girls and women through the use of music education to promote self-esteem and confidence by providing the opportunity to learn and express their musical creativity. Some of the 125 photos I took documenting this September's sessions can be seen by way of the media area of the Girls Rock Dallas website.
(EDIT: Unfortunately, this podcast is no longer available)
Friday night I headed out to Deep Ellum's Liquid Lounge to check out Micha Goolsby, a local keyboard player/singer who took part in two previous "Chicks With Pianos" nights at Opening Bell Coffee. As I had missed both those events, and being acquainted with the other three of the four participants in those features, it was long past time for me to finally see the fourth. Her music reminds me a lot of artists like Barbara Streisand, and of what I might hear on stage in New York City.
Spent the first day of this week at Spaghetti Warehouse for a birthday lunch with some friends, then headed five days later over to City Tavern downtown for The Virgin Wolves. The opening act, Missile, was a pretty good punk power quartet. No pictures this night.
The weekend before Halloween is always prime time for zombie and horror themed shows, and this year's Halloween weekend found me at the Curtain Club for the Razorblade Dolls. This time they pulled out all the stops, including the classic RBD pig act which hadn't been seen in their live shows for quite a long time. This was also Rezin's final show as a Doll, having decided to step down and pursue other musical interests and styles, and we all wish the best to him in all his future endeavors.
September proved to be a somewhat difficult month for me due to long hours at work and a serious hard drive failure which had me playing catch up for two months on updates. On the first Wednesday of the month I took a breather and made the trip out to Mad Swirl to support a poet I've known longer than I've known almost anyone else in the local scene, Mr. Joey Cloudy. The night was actually a double feature with his son Da'rrell, with the two alternating back and forth between Da'rrell's musical lyricism and Joey's spoken lyricism. The night also featured a fantastic a cappella performance by Jay Bean (someone who makes precious few appearances locally but who is always worth seeing) and an appearance by seldom seen Mad Swirl co-founder Cheyenne Gallion. It was a memorable night.
Two days later, I was at the Boiler Room for the dark ambient musings of Frausun. Frausun shows are always uniquely inspiring and defy the normally accepted and understood conventions of art, entertainment, and music.
This busiest of weekends for me was capped by a special Thin White Dukes performance at Lee Harvey's just south of downtown Dallas. This Bowie tribute band is always a lot of fun and put on a great show, at least the equal of the Le Cure performance I attended at Lee Harvey's a month earlier. Then again, given that the two bands share the same drummer, bassist, and keyboardist, this is hardly surprising. What was surprising was the fact that this was my first real Thin White Dukes experience - although I had caught a few songs here and there prior to this night, those were little more than glimpses of what has turned out to be a great band in action.
The weekend officially began for me with a double-shot of Denton area rock 'n' roll. The first stop of the night was Hailey's, and the band My Beerdrunk Soul. This show was in a sense a kind of crossover between two different scenes for me, as My Beerdrunk Soul's guitarist and frontman is none other than the son of local slam poet Victory, who performed and also featured at my earlier Lost Art Open Mic. I took several photos of the band which will be used in future promotions and/or flyers. Keep an eye out for them in the weeks and months ahead.
From Hailey's it was off to Andy's Bar for the Virgin Wolves. I can say that Andy's is not one of the easiest places in which to shoot a band, ranking right up there with some of the most difficult venues such as the Double-Wide and the Crown & Harp on Lower Greenville Avenue. Like those other venues, it is extremely dark and close inside with a tight, obstructed space in front of the stage in which to move around. Fortunately, unlike those other venues, it does have/feature a second level which allowed for some overhead shots of the band. It doesn't span the room, however, so it was only possible to shoot 3/5 of the band in the extremely limited light.
It's been a pretty busy month as far as personal commitments go. Overtime at work has cut into the time available for site updates and shows. Nevertheless, I did manage to make it out to the Razorblade Dollhouse for some partying and then out to Deep Ellum for some great performances.
Friday night was the beginning of a weekend of great performances and events. On this particular night I made my way out to Reno's Chop Shop for Kin of Ettins, my friend Jason's band. Jason is an amazing guitarist and virtuoso guitar shredder who never disappoints, whether it's playing Mozart on acoustic guitar at my former open mic, or a blistering guitar solo here as part of DFW's premier doom metal band.
Saturday night began with a visit to the Razorblade Dollhouse for a party thrown by Skar and Rah. From there it was off to the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum, where I chanced upon an incredible band playing at the Liquid Lounge. Sometimes when I'm beginning to wonder why I bother with the shows and the bands anymore, I'll see a performance like this one and remember what it was that made me start doing this in the first place. The Virgin Wolves were awesome, an extremely dynamic and energetic live act with great material and very tight playing - all the ingredients that make for a fantastic show. I can't believe I'd never heard of them before tonight. I will definitely be back for more.
After The Virgin Wolves finished their set, it was time to go back the Curtain Club next door for the headline act. I've known Pulse's bassist P.J. Blackburn for over five years, since his days as guitarist and songwriter for Reverent (the very first band I ever photographed live), and all the years of work as a musician finally bore fruit with the presentation of Pulse's plaque for the Curtain Club wall. Congratulations!
This was a somewhat less full weekend for me in terms of shows and events, but that does not mean it was boring. If you're going to only do one show, you should make it a great one, and with the Le Cure set at Lee Harvey's this Friday, that is just what I did. Except that it wasn't just the one show. It was actually two shows, one on Friday featuring Le Cure, and one the following day, also at Lee Harvey's, featuring a band that is in a sense kin to them, the Thin White Dukes. However, I only photographed the Friday show. The performances were superb, the lighting and colors fantastic, and the crowd enthusiastic. All of which add up to a memorable experience worth repeating.
Thursday night began what was to be a rip roarin' three day weekend of music. It began at Goodfriend's in Dallas with a performance of Dallas's premier Cure cover band, Le Cure. The show began at 10 and lasted right through the late evening until around 1 in the early AM, with a break in between sets. I came out on the advice of Le Cure bassist Doug Grabowski, who also plays for Ten Can Riot and Bowie tribute band Thin White Dukes. This was my first Le Cure experience but would not be the last.
Hello Lover - what can I say? I don't think I've had this much fun at a metal show in years. Before this night, I hadn't seen these guys play in almost FOUR YEARS - back in the Holy Diver/Stew days - and had barely seen either of the Hardy brothers in over a year and a half. My first Hello Lover experience was at the Hardy Halloween House Party way back in 2008. I've come a long way since then, and so have these guys. After Stew (formerly known as Holy Diver) called it quits in 2011, John joined his brother Joe in this band, making the transition from bass to guitar. The Hello Lover set was a pounding, heavy ride from start to finish and a definite crowd pleaser, playing to a rapt audience of friends and fans who knew every word and who enjoyed the night without the slightest hint of aggression or enmity - unusual for a metal show but very welcome. The Breakfast Machine opened the set at Dada that night, Reinventing Jude followed with a CD release set, and Hello Lover capped the night off in style, the undisputed highlight of the evening for me. It was the metal equivalent of Ten Can Riot - a great time was had by all.
Saturday night brought with it a return to the Curtain Club for RivetHead and the cancer benefit. This event was the brainchild of Kat Foster, organized to benefit the American Cancer Society and cancer research, and featuring Lilith of Exile, Kung Foo Preacher, and RivetHead as the headliner, burlesque performers, stormtroopers, and ending with a raffle. Though I always enjoy RivetHead, and they played a generally good set, I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that, in my opinion, this event would have benefitted greatly from better organization and better planning. The burlesque acts in particular went on for much too long, and by the time RivetHead, the headline act, finally came on to play, it was a few minutes shy of 1 AM. The energy level of the audience by that time had abated greatly, most of it having been spent during hours of long waits between sets, a long succession of pointless burlesque acts (disclosure: burlesque is not my thing), and a very long, rambling stage discourse from a drunk hostess which seemed to go on forever. Valiant attempts by the band to fire up the audience were answered by exhausted efforts, though to everyone's credit they delivered as much energy and enthusiasm as they could muster. By the time it was finally time for the raffle, the audience was a small fraction of what it had been and a far cry from the standing room only crowd of hours earlier. Two friends of mine who had bought $20 worth of raffle tickets had been forced to leave an hour earlier due to the seemingly interminable delays. I did not have the money to buy a ticket for the raffle and quit the venue immediately upon the end of RivetHead's set. The show did, however, raise around $1500 for the American Cancer Society.
Thursday night marked my third visit to the weekly jazz open mic at Buzzbrews on Lemmon Avenue. Unfortunately, unlike the previous two nights, this one was a disappointment as the event was technically called off due to an ill host. A few who had not received the news nevertheless played a few songs on the stage. Eventually I will return on a better night and shoot some pics of jazz at its finest.
Friday night brought with it another Ten Can Riot experience, this time at the Double-Wide on the outskirts of Deep Ellum and the Expo Park area near downtown. It was a fun-filled night, as always. The Double-Wide is a venue I only rarely go to, but nearly each time I have gone there the night has been a blast. This was the scene of the Holy Diver/Tsu Shi Ma Mi Re show way back in 2008, as well as (if one wants to go way back) the site of the Famecast audition for With These Words and David Coté in July 2007, and a former meeting place for the Deep Ellum Enrichment Project back when I was a member.
After nearly thirty-two months since my last SLM experience, it was time for another night with Silver Loves Mercury, and on Saturday night I made my way out to La Grange in Deep Ellum for a doubleshot of SLM and the Razorblade Dolls. La Grange, despite having an excellent lighting setup, can be a very challenging venue to shoot in due to the small size and relatively low stage. In spite of these difficulties, I managed to get some good shots of both bands, particularly of the Razorblade Dolls. I've followed the Razorblade Dolls almost since their beginning - they are one of the few currently active bands I shot on 35 mm and I have several hundreds photos of them. I've been interested in Silver Loves Mercury since the days of their precursor kittyviolet, though opportunities to see them play have been considerably less frequent. There was some drama at this event, in that a fight nearly broke out in the audience. Razorblade Doll Chris Smith had to speak up and attempt to defuse the situation from the stage.
This Friday was a very special night for a lot of us, as it marked Jessi Golden's return to the stage after an absence of over eight months. This particular night at the Arcade Bar drew a large turnout of people, many of them there to see this erstwhile With These Words vocalist take the stage with the TCR boys and perform a mini set of songs from days past. It was beyond cool to see everyone dance and sway and sing along to the lyrics that we all know, and cooler still to have most of the old band, including former WTW bassist Phil Sahs (who left the band in 2009) in attendance. Ten Can Riot never disappoints, and their set included a high energy mix of Ten Can Riot originals and TCR-ified covers of material as diverse as Nirvana, Men at Work, and Sublime.
A double shot of music and good times was what this weekend was all about: a birthday show at Reno's followed the next night by the long anticipated return of Emmeline to Café Du Luxe in Denton. Though I missed the act I had intended to see at Reno's, I did discover two more bands to add to my list of favorites. Vespers for the Dead was an unexpected surprise, musically on target and heavy but without being crushed under the weight of being too "metal." This is not a band that crams as many riffs as possible into a song while leaving out any semblance of melody or real musical structure. This night at Reno's was the first of two nights of Torchfest, a birthday celebration for Torch Idell whom I interviewed back in June. This series of shows featured various acts which have been affiliated with Torch and/or appeared on the Torch Entertainment compilation CD's. One of them, Austin's own Dawn Over Zero, impressed me with the raw energy of their music and the quality of their songwriting. After the set was over, I spoke with their vocalist and was pleased to find him to be quite down to earth and personable, not at all full of himself like so many others I have met over the last few years. It was a reminder of one thing I've sorely missed in the hard rock/metal scene.
Saturday the 11th at Café Du Luxe was a date I'd been looking forward to for a long time, ever since last November when I first saw Emmeline play the venue and considered the possibility of doing recording there. The acoustics are fantastic, and recordings I made of Emmeline at the café last December make an appearance on her new live EP Ramblings & Rarities. This Saturday I did some more audio recording and also recorded some video, and some videos of the night will be making an appearance online sometime in the near future. For now, I have some photos of the night's performance.
Wednesday, August 1st marked the return of Mad Swirl, and also the first time I've done any video recording there since June of 2009. Issues with audio and video recording meant that the night's footage was done in SD with direct sound, but this was a good night for the two featured artists Victory and Konnichiwa Zach. I've known Victory for a couple of years now and she never disappoints.
Saturday marked my return to the Mochalux Coffee House, a venue to which I have largely been a stranger for the past year. Ellen Hinton (aka Ellen Once Again) was the featured artist, and a night of open mic performances culminated in a kind of double piano feature with Ellen followed almost directly by Emmeline. I first saw Ellen perform at the Crown & Harp open mic back in February, when it was still being hosted by Emmeline, and after her impressive performance this night I will no doubt be seeing her perform again relatively soon.
This Thursday was the inaugural night for the new Thursday Open Mic at Bill's, aka "TOMB." This is a new weekly open mic started and emceed by Alex Pogosov, with whom I collaborated on the earlier Lost Art Open Mic from 2010-2011. This first night featured the return of some former Lost Art regulars and semi-regulars such as Harry McNabb, Desmene Statum, Joey Cloudy, Opalina Salas, Johnny Olson, and B.A, as well as the first time appearance of some others including M.H. Clay and James "Bear" Rodehaver. Walking back toward the stage for an open mic again felt almost surreal, almost as if the intervening thirteen months had not happened, though this time I was in attendance purely as a spectator and not in any co-hosting capacity. No complicated audio setups, sound checks, or video calibrations this time. Just a camera mounted on a tripod recording through its built in microphone, and some photos to provide coverage of the night.
Saturday night it was back to La Grange, a tiny venue in in the middle of Elm Street I hadn't visited in nearly six months, for Ghoultown. I have to admit that although I love their live show this was only the second time I'd ever seen it (the first was all the way back in May 2010). The actual headliner for the night was Michale Graves, formerly of the Misfits, but I was interested only in Ghoultown, interested enough to shell out $15 for admission when my normal limit for a local show is $10. The low light, small stage, and very cramped conditions made it extremely difficult to get any usable shots inside the venue.
For my first musical outing since the 3rd I joined my friends Ten Can Riot at the Curtain Club for a show that also featured a set by local ska favorites Rude King. Getting out of the house was especially welcome given the constant air conditioning problems I experienced throughout the month of July. Of course, when it's hot in a music venue that's a good thing because it's heat being generated by the presence of fans and the by the movements of an excited crowd. This show did not disappoint.