This first Tuesday of the month I joined Mad Swirl for the monthly open mic, rescheduled for the first time in its history to the first Tuesday to make room for the Fourth of July. Roderick Richardson was this month's featured performer, and by all accounts he brought the house down. I managed some photos of both veteran Mad Swirlers and some newer faces. Immediately upon leaving I joined Emmeline and company for the tail end of her free, outdoor performance at the West End Pub downtown.
The 2012 Plano fireworks display was practically down the street from my apartment complex, so I grabbed some shots on the 4th. The display was so close, in fact, that a burning ember landed maybe 10 yards from where I was standing.
On Friday I made my way over to the Arcade Bar in East Dallas, near my old poetical stomping grounds of bygone days, for a free show by Ten Can Riot. As always, a good time was had by all as the band soldiered on through several original numbers as well as a number of often surprising covers by acts including Nirvana, Men at Work, and Eazy-E, to name a few. I attended this night in my capacity as friend and fan rather than in any more professional capacity (namely because I had left a critical component of my camera gear at home).
The following night it was off to something completely and uniquely different - the dark poetical musings of a Frausun performance at O'Riley's in Dallas. I'm not able to publish any of the pictures from the night, but you can see some clips from a non-professional video I took of the performance below and on Kurtz's YouTube page.
Still trying to adjust to being back home after the whirlwind week and a half long road trip. I made sure to stop over at Yogurtville in Allen to check out my friend Emmeline's free show.
I was on vacation for the first part of June, leaving on May 31st and returning on June 10th. The trip took me through ten states and into Canada with visits to four major cities at home and abroad. See the travelog of pictures here.
Sunday was the first in a planned series of events curated and hosted by Alex Pogosov, former host and creator of the Lost Art Open Mic. "Public Nuisance" number one showcased the talents of featured poet Rock Baby, whom I last photographed way back in 2002 at a featured reading at Paperbacks Plus in Dallas. The event took place at Lake Cliff Park in Dallas.
Saturday night I journeyed to the Curtain Club for the Razorblade Dolls show. The Razorblade Dolls are a band I've followed almost since their inception in late 2006 and one of the first local bands I saw, all the way back in January 2007 at this very venue. The show did not disappoint. The RBD don't really play enough shows to suit me, though in fairness they are working on a new album due out later this year.
It's worth noting that these are the first Razorblade Dolls pictures I've posted since 2008. The backlog of RBD photos I possess is quite extensive and over the next several months I will be working to get some of them online.
Spent the week doing some routine site maintenance and going through the mountain of photos from the Deep Ellum Arts Festival. Nothing to report for the week, but good things are coming up.
This was a pretty uneventful week event-wise until the weekend hit on Friday night, and I made my way to the Liquid Lounge for a DyerWood show. Upon my arrival I found that the night's lineup also included Dead Beat Poetry, an awesome power trio whom I'd seen before at the Crown and Harp (sans a bassist at the time), and next door at the Curtain Club the lineup featured horror punk rock band Scary Cherry and the Bang Bangs, a band I hadn't seen play in nearly two years. I don't have any photos of the Liquid show to feature, as I was working for hire that night, but I can say that the show did not disappoint. To cap off the night, I ran into some friends from local industrial metal band The Razorblade Dolls. Say hello to Skar and to Rah Stitchez!
Friday night in Dallas saw another rip-roarin', killer night of music and banter by the experience that is Ten Can Riot. The set got off to a tamer start than their last outing at the Arcade Bar, but presently the energy level rose and before you knew it, the place was rockin'. Ten Can Riot never disappoints, and a good time is always guaranteed for all.
The next night saw me making the trip to Uptown for a visit to Two Corks and a Bottle, where Emmeline played a largely instrumental set consisting of covers and a few originals. When requests were solicited, I requested one of my favorite ever tunes, the Gershwin classic "Someone to Watch Over Me." All in all, it was a pretty laid back, easygoing night in a very classy setting.
Saturday the 21st was a night of music and friends at Dunn Bros. Coffee in Addison. This was Emmeline's birthday show as well as the night she debuted a new, limited edition live EP consisting of music recorded by yours truly during the run of the Lost Art Open Mic and afterward. The set over, most of us who make up the Emmeline crew, as well as some of the other audience members, adjourned to the sidewalk outside to cut the birthday cake and socialize, eventually moving onward to IHOP to finish out the night. Times spent hanging out with friends are the best times.
Saturday evening I made the trip up to Denton to see a musician who came highly recommended by a friend, local performer Karyna Micaela. I had in fact met her two months earlier at the West End Pub during an Emmeline show, but had missed her the last time she had performed at the Café Du Luxe. This time I made it and can say that the set was well worth the drive. Karyna plays both keyboard and ukulele, and was accompanied live by a drummer. I will make sure to see her play again and you should check her out at her Facebook page.
Desmene Statum, Roderick Richardson, Lilly Penhall, B.A., Gordon Hilgers, Bunny Trahan, Amano Pepper Tucker, Jesse Doughty, Alex Hayley Beausejour, Josh Weir, and Peggy Sue capped off a great night at Mad Swirl which began with a double feature performance by Carlos and Opalina Salas. A bevy of dynamic first time readers and performers made this night one to remember.
I was pleased to have been able to assist in the booking of the first ever live show for Chemical Fingerprint, which took place at Reno's Chop Shop on Friday night. I know Cherina Craft-Davidson from her days booking shows for the old Tomcats venue in Deep Ellum, and just recently reconnected with her via Facebook (social networking sites do actually prove useful on occasion). The audience started out small, not knowing what to expect from this unfamiliar and untested band, but grew larger and more enthusiastic such that near the end of the set one audience member turned to me and said, "These guys are bad ass!" And they were, even with only the two of them (drums and guitar only, as the bassist was injured and unable to attend) and a one-song-only guest vocalist.
The Deep Ellum Arts Fest was in full swing on the following day. I ran into Frank Campagna of the Kettle Art Gallery, whom I know from my days with the Deep Ellum Enrichment Project, and socialized with two of the members of RivetHead. I enjoyed performances by Ten Can Riot, the Effinays, and local folk outfit Fox and the Bird on the outdoor stages, and performances by keyboard virtuosos Emmeline and Anna Thomas at an unrelated event at In Accord on Main Street. Anna Thomas likes to write songs about crazy people, zombies, and pyromaniacs, though you would never guess the subject matter from the music alone. The sound at the Arts Fest was fantastic, and with the exception of their January performance at the House of Blues, I've never heard Ten Can Riot sound better.
Mad Swirl Open Mic - April 4, 2012
Chemical Fingerprint - Reno's Chop Shop, April 6, 2012
DyerWood - Crown and Harp, April 6, 2012
The Effinays - Deep Ellum Arts Fest, April 7, 2012
Fox and the Bird - Deep Ellum Arts Fest, April 7, 2012
The final week in March saw me largely working on PAO Productions related site maintenance, but I made it out to two shows on the last night of the month. First it was the Big Folkin' Festival at In Accord in Deep Ellum, for Lara Parker's first ever legitimate gig. This was also my chance to reconnect with Kyle Brooks, and my first exposure to Chris Norwood, both consummate musical artists. Emmeline was next, playing to what was initially a small and somewhat distracted audience but which soon grew enthusiastic and very attentive. Such is the power of a great artist to reach out and capture the audience. The In Accord show was also my first real chance to chat with the host of the Ghost of Blind Lemon blog, a fellow lover and supporter of the local music scene. Check out his blog when you have the opportunity.
From In Accord it was straight to Gator's in the West End with Emmeline. I have had an association with her for the past two years, one which goes back to times spent at the Mochalux Open Mic in Arlington and my own Lost Art Open Mic at Bill's Records (video of several Emmeline performances can be seen in the Lost Art Open Mic area of this site). I decided to take advantage of the outdoor, rooftop setting and its absence of smoke and colored spotlights and do most of the night's photos in black and white.
This was a weekend of contrasts, musically and stylistically. With two CD releases on two nights and a bevy of different artistic perspectives given voice both through music and performance, this weekend's adventures comprised an unusually diverse collection of styles and tastes.
The weekend was inaugurated on Friday with a CD release show at Opening Bell Coffee, with a lineup featuring Arielle, Temple Diver, and the ever fleet-of-finger guitar virtuoso that is Mark Brandt. Mark is a difficult performer to photograph, not because of his onstage gyrations or his antics at the microphone - his material is entirely instrumental - but because his fingers move so quickly over the guitar strings that it's very difficult to get a shot of him playing that isn't blurry. As expected, he blew the audience away with his blistering guitar handiwork, and he was joined onstage by celloist Brianne Sargent for a rendition of Led Zeppelin's "Rain Song" that ranks up there with the best live musical performances I have ever seen. The rest of the audience apparently agreed, if the loud and hearty applause which followed is any indication.
From Opening Bell it was off to Club Dada for something completely and entirely different. I had never been to a Frausun show before this, though I had been a fan of Kurtz's former band Wolfcult Choir (also known as Hour of the Wolf). A Frausun show can best be charaterized as an experience rather than as a performance, with its incorporation of dark mythological elements and motifs, burlesque and unconventional lifestyles, and experimental music and video. Click here to view the gallery (note that this gallery contains images which some may find disturbing and/or offensive).
Saturday night, it was back to my old stomping grounds - that is to say, back to the Curtain Club in Deep Ellum. This was where I got my start photographing bands one night back in March 2007, and this night's headlining band included one member who made up part of the band that gave me my start that night five years ago. March 24th was a celebration of Pulse's first CD release, and they played a packed house with the support of five other local bands which included Deaf Angel, White Elephant, and Redefined. Pictures from the last three band performances are below.
Mark Brandt CD Release - Opening Bell Coffee, March 23, 2012
Frausun - Club Dada, March 23, 2012 (NOTE: This gallery contains images which some people may find offensive)
White Elephant - Curtain Club, March 24, 2012
Redefine - Curtain Club, March 24, 2012
Pulse CD Release Show - Curtain Club, March 24, 2012
This week's Pass the Mic featured the talents of one Mark Landson, perhaps better known as Neo Camerata, on violin. This guy has some chops, for sure. Friday found me at Opening Bell Coffee in the South Side Lofts for the always engaging and upbeat folk singer/songwriter Camille Cortinas. Until this night, the last time I had seen Camille play was in May 2009, and the fact that she remembered who I was says a lot about who she is as a person and as an artist. Fresh off her European tour and with a captivating new album of material, she and Eric Neal did not disappoint as they played through a set which featured a selection of new tunes and some old favorites.
Camille was followed onstage by another Texas folk-influenced artist, Tiger Darrow. I admit I had not heard of her prior to this performance, but after seeing and hearing her, I can count myself as a fan of her work. A Dallas/Austin native and alumna of Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas, Tiger is an enormously talented singer/songwriter and actress, and showed herself to be a highly consummate performer on guitar, cello, and vocals. Check out some of her music at her ReverbNation page.
This month's Mad Swirl open mic began with a feature spotlighting some of the maddest mad ones of Mad Swirl: the founders and staff of the Mad Swirl 'zine, website, and open mic itself. Cheyenne Gallion, Lisa Carmen, M.H. Clay, Madelyn Olson, Tyler Malone, and Johnny Olson took center stage for the feature, backed by the poetical jazz fusion musings of house band Swirve. I arrived a bit late but still managed to capture all the featured performers with my lens.
The weekend was brought in in style with a rockin' Ten Can Riot performance at Lakewood's Arcade Bar on Friday night. This band is the very essence of punk/ska, drinks, and pure rock 'n' roll revelry all rolled into one. A good time is always guaranteed with these guys.
Wednesday night at the City Tavern was a good night for Pass the Mic's special Leap Day installment, with performances by Katie Carroll, John Housewright, Jes Spires, and Mike Hamilton of Gray, the New Black. Mike in particular displayed some of his outstanding guitar virtuosity in a half hour long solo performance that closed out a night which featured special guest host Scotty Isaacs.
March 2nd was also a very special night for Dallas industrial metal mainstays RivetHead, as it was a celebration both of their newest CD release Doomsday for Optimism and of their longevity and contributions to the local music scene. RivetHead was formally inducted into the local music hall of fame with the awarding of their official Curtain Club plaque, and they proceeded to bring down the house with a long set of new tunes and old favorites which ran right up to closing time. Both they and opening act The Razorblade Dolls really killed it tonight.
This was a very busy week for me with six different events at five different venues. Wednesday night's Pass the Mic featured a special performance by celloist Brianne Sargent, who accompanied Justin Dyer during his half hour set. From there it was off to the Crown & Harp hosted by Emmeline.
Thursday night's "Battle of the Bands" at the Hard Rock Cafe pitted Emmeline against two bands, Nevermind the Darkness and The Gypsy Bravado. Of course I was there to support my favorite pianist and to get some pictures of the event. Nevermind the Darkness proved to be a band I wouldn't mind seeing more of in the future. Departing the Hard Rock, it was time for a change of musical direction with a stop at La Grange in Deep Ellum for my first ever White Elephant show. This was a long overdue show of support for bassist Josh Armstrong, whom I've followed through two previous bands (Reverent and Red Pyramid, Reverent being the first band I ever photographed live). All I can say is . . . heavy, loud, and powerful - just the way rock should be.
The week was brought to a close with a smokin' DyerWood performance at a totally packed Crown & Harp on the 24th, and a visit to the Mochalux Coffee House in Arlington the next night to reconnect with my family of poets.
This week's open mic at the Crown and Harp was kicked off with a feature performance by Steve Jackson and Tyler McCarthy of Acoustic Distortion. Steve Jackson is the host of the Tuesday night music open mics at Opening Bell Coffee at Dallas's South Side / Lamar district, an event which is well worth checking out. This was an exceptionally good night of performances which included the always awesome Lara Parker and Felix Flores. About ten years ago, Felix worked at the Wolf Camera that processed my 35mm film.
Saturday was a signal night at the City Tavern downtown, being not only the night of a killer music festival featuring fifteen different local artists on two stages, but also a celebration of everything that is the community of Dallas art and music as expressed through good times, friends, and family. A good time was had by all at this, the release party for the Peace, Love & Dallas Music CD on a special weekend installment of Pass the Mic. If you've never been to Pass the Mic, you'd be well served to check it out. Unlike other open mics which limit performers to short sets of one or two numbers, Pass the Mic affords artists an opportunity to shine by providing each with a half hour long set time at the mic. Slots are booked in advance and can fill up quickly, so be sure to reserve yours ahead of time at the Pass the Mic Facebook page.
For the CD release night, I trained my camera on performances by DyerWood and a Mark Brandt solo set, followed by the lion's share of the following set by Tweed EQ.