There was a festival going on in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas this weekend, and the first day of it was this particular Friday night.
Now, I can’t fully criticize something that brought hundreds of people down to this area that otherwise wouldn’t have been down here, simply because it helps out the area. But I can criticize the fact that it made parking absolutely horrendous!
This festival not only took up one of the venues, but also the large parking lot behind said venue, where two additional stages were set up. So, parking there wasn’t an option, and as I cruised by my other typical lots, they were all filled up. Even the lots I usually don’t use were full, and all the parking meters were taken. I finally did come across a lot that still had one space available, and the attendant proceeded to charge me fifteen dollars to park there. So, not only did this festival make parking scarce, it also resulted in some price gouging (ten dollars is usually the most you pay to park in the area, and even that’s high.)
But I am not a hipster, so I wasn’t going to partake in any of the Indie bands that were performing at that. Instead, I was headed to The Liquid Lounge, which was hosting a very eclectic night of music with a couple acts I am a fan of, and a couple more whom I knew little about.
One of those bands I knew little about was the first act, the four-piece group, Everywhere. Supposedly, this was the bands first ever official show. The group was comprised of Shannon Barrett, who was the lead singer, Michael Maney, Shannon Barrett and Lance Lindsey, all of whom played keys of some sorts, and even added some backing vocals on most of the songs.
With that many keyboards, their music of course had an electronic sound to it, as well as having a big MIDI sound. And I preface this by saying that is not usually a genre I care too much for. However, the first song they did sounded quite good, and Shannon has a pretty killer voice to boot. Before their second one, Shannon stated that they started this band four years, saying he and his band mates played other instruments, like guitars, and then one day decided to learn to play instruments they had never touched before. Apparently that was about two years ago, and he joked that it took them until now to fully learn how to play these “new” instruments.
They played a lengthy set, and even when they finished they were told they had time for one more, which they took advantage of and indeed did one more song.
By the end of it, I had begun to grow tired of the music, but that simply was because this isn’t the main style of music I listen to. But until those last three, or maybe four songs, I was enjoying it quite a bit, and I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing them again.
They don’t have any future shows scheduled at the moment, but they do have a three song EP available on their BANDCAMP PAGE for three dollars.
Second up was singer, Arielle O’Keefe, whose setup for this show was a little different from the previous ones I had seen. Before, she has used a keyboard/piano on some songs, but all she had in tow for this show was her trusty loop station, which she sat in her lap. In some ways that made the show even better, because watching and listening to her build the various parts for the songs is something to marvel at.
She opened her set with a new song, called “OCD”, which I don’t believe I had heard before, though I found it to be one of the best songs of her set. That was followed by an older song, which I believe was “Anything but Love”, and then a cover. She said it was an older song, and while don’t remember the exact title, it was something like, “Old Gold Ring”. It was a very good tune, and lyrically it seemed to fit rather well with her originals, almost like she could have written it, and I’m sure she definitely put her own unique twist on it. Afterwards, she proceeded to set up her next song, saying she had written it “a long time ago”. “…I think I was nineteen…” she noted, pausing briefly to think and confirm that. “…Yeah… And I’m twenty-one now…” she finished. I wasn’t the only one who found that funny, as I saw a few other people chuckling at that, because the way she had made it sound, it was like she had written it almost a decade before. She went on to say there are about four or five different versions of the song out there, “…But this is the loop station version”, she added, and out of the versions of “Monster” that I’ve heard, this one is my favorite. Of course she had to build a track for it first, but once she did that, the song got underway. The lyrics to it are just outstanding, and something you wouldn’t think a (at the time) nineteen year old would write. For example, the chorus, “…My heart’s a muscle and I, I give it exercise. I make it stronger so that I can take it when it breaks…”. Upon finishing it, she stated she had two songs left, both of which were covers. She went through the programmed tracks on her loop station, accidently starting one, then saying “That definitely isn’t it.” Once she found the right one, and it got going, she began to bust out a rap, specifically JAY-Z’s, “I Just Want to Love You (Give it to Me)”. I’ve seen her do this one once before, and it truly is hysterical to see her, of all people, doing a rap song, especially since she does it with such a high-level of seriousness. There was one moment she kind of broke out laughing, but quickly pulled it together, only to let it out after she abruptly stopped it, saying, “That’s all I know.” She announced her final song was a cover of “Rejazz” by Regina Spektor, and she was going to do this song a little differently. That difference was she was going to perform it a cappella. Let’s be honest, not many singers can pull of a song in that format, and I was a bit skeptical at first, but she proved to be an exception. “Thought I’d cry for you forever, but I couldn’t, so I didn’t…” she started, and personally, I found myself completely mesmerized from that point. There’s no doubt that she has an incredible voice, but with it being laid out completely bare like this, you got to see (or rather hear) just what she is capable of. And judging from this, there is no limit to what she is capable of. For this show, I found that song to be the best of her set. I also liked how she ended it, which was after the last line, “…Thought I’d cry for you forever, but I couldn’t, so I didn’t”, she added a little laugh, which captured and conveyed quite a bit of emotion.
It was on the short side, but it was still an impressive show she put on, and part of me likes the fact that she only used the loop station, because it does allow her voice to shine through the most.
You really need to see her in these small Dallas area venues while you have the chance, and as of right now her next two shows will be at Opening Bell Coffee Shop in Dallas. One will be on October 19th, the other December 15th. Also, you can head out to the Lakewood Theater in Dallas on November 1st for the premier of her music video for her new song, “Creature of Habit” (a song that has surprisingly been absent from the past couple of shows of hers I’ve seen.) Oh, and be sure to check out/purchase her music on her BANDCAMP PAGE.
Up next was a rock band, and the band I was most looking forward to seeing this night, Always the Alibi. They are a newer band, who doesn’t have too many shows under their belt, hence why I haven’t seen them before (well, that and when they have played I’ve been out at other shows). But after seeing this one, I’m really gonna have to try to make some more of their shows.
Their 40 minute set began with their original song, “Beautiful Girl”. As the title suggests, it’s a love song, however, it is not as mundane as most them are, and also has a nice little guitar solo towards the end, from Kelly Panter. The guitars and bass started to go silent, but drummer, Richard Muenckler, kept things going, winding that song into their next, “Dream”. It was another heavy hitter, and both of those served as a great way to kick off the show. In fact, I had only just started to listen to their music again a few days before the show, and had forgot how incredible their songs were, and just with those first two I was finding it to be just as good live, and perhaps even more engrossing than their record. After that one, they stopped for a minute, as singer and rhythm guitarist, Henry Coke, told everyone who they were, and chatted with the crowd briefly. They then got back to business with “She’s Letting Go”, which was followed up by a newer one of the bands, “Ain’t Another Girl”. Next, they went into cover mode, doing “Say It Ain’t So” by Weezer. In all honesty, I haven’t listened to much Weezer (and by not much, I mean practically nothing), and while this may sound like sacrilege, I liked Always the Alibi’s version more than Weezer’s. Frankly, I’ve never been too keen on Rivers Cuomo’s voice, however, I really like Henry’s, which would probably be the main reason I found their rendition more appealing. They had a Muse song in store next, and Evan Scates kicked it off with a short bass intro/solo. The song was “Time is Running Out”, which sounded killer, and I thought they did it justice. They returned to their stuff after that, doing a catchy number, and one of my personal favorites, “Wave on the Sand”. “Edge of the World”, which was another new one, came next, and if memory serves me correctly, Kelly started this one with some mesmerizing guitar chords. Out of those two new ones this night, it was my favorite, and I thought it was even one of the most standout songs of their show. That brought them to the final song of their set, the powerful, anthem like, “We Are Waiting”, which not only seemed like an appropriate song to end on, but also left me wanting to hear more from the band.
I can’t say I went into this with any expectations (that’s not to say I thought they would be bad), but by the end of it all I was blown away. The stage show was good, considering the size of the stage at the Liquid Lounge, and there is almost no room to move around if you have four or more members in your band. While the music is sensational, and is some very radio friendly Indie Rock. Personally, I wouldn’t compare them to any one particular band, as I think they do have some slight distinctions that makes the music all their own, but if you listen to mainstream radio there is a very good chance that Always the Alibi’s music will appeal to you.
I also want to note (and thanks to Kelly for telling me this before the show) that Henry is left-handed, though uses a guitar that is made for right-handed people. That might not seem too out of the ordinary, but consider this, he doesn’t restring it or anything, so all the strings are opposite of how they would traditionally be. Pretty remarkable, and it made watching him play the guitar quite interesting.
They’re a very awesome band, and I’d highly recommend checking them out. You can find a FREE download of one of their songs on their REVERBNATION PAGE, as well as listen to their other material. They should also be doing a CD release show in the near future (close to the end of the year), so if you’d be interested in attending, stay tuned to their FACEBOOK PAGE to see their updates, Trust me, you’ll want to see that one.
Finally for this night, was Velvet Guard, who was celebrating the release of their debut EP.
I had listened to the band online before, but knew little about them. In fact, until they got on stage, I had no idea that they were a duo, of Jon Martin and David Trust, the former being the drummer, while the latter sings and plays guitar. I really didn’t even remember too much about what their music sounded like, leaving me clueless as to what I was in for.
I’ll admit, the first handful of songs left me unsure, and while I didn’t dislike their music, I wasn’t smitten with it, either. It was mainly due to David, has a very unique voice, and in my opinion, one you need to warm up to. He has a certain twang when he sings, and also his voice is in more of the bass range, giving it a booming quality that will command your attention, regardless of if your even a fan or not. Then, the further they got into it, I began to enjoy it more and more. To be a duo, they had a pretty full sound, and when he was able, David used all of the empty room on the stage, and even at a couple points during their set jumped off into the crowd, and played amongst the fans for a few seconds. And the music is rather interesting, in a good way, of course.
They finished up their planned set, and thanked everyone for coming out to the show, but then their fans, of whom there were a decent amount, started shouting for more. The band checked with the sound guy to see if they even had time, and they did, leading them to do an impromptu encore. But that still wasn’t for their fans, though it had, as they had no more time, and David again thanked everyone who made it out, as well as the three bands who opened the show for them.
I wouldn’t say they made me into a true fan. That’s to say, I didn’t feel compelled to buy their EP, nor do I think would go to a venue specifically to see them, but that’s not to say I wouldn’t mind seeing them again. I might not have been crazy about them, but they’re still a rockin’ duo.
You can listen to their EP on their REVERBNATION PAGE, as well as download a couple demo versions of some of the songs for free. And if you would like to purchase their EP, well, you’re gonna have go to a show, so keep a look out on their FACEBOOK PAGE to see when they’ll have another one.
This really was a great, eclectic night of music, and while I’m used to show bills that “make sense” with all the acts being very similar in sound, I really enjoyed this, though. It was a smorgasbord of sound, and lineups like this, where you get to sample several different genres, don’t happen often enough… I say we need more of that.