Having missed Nika Roza Danilova, or Zola Jesus, way back when in 2011 at Dan's Silverleaf, I made sure to make a very conscious effort to see her when she stopped at Trees in Deep Ellum. Touring in support of her latest effort, Taiga, Danilova has traded her darker, baroque sound for a more accessible, poppier sound. But regardless what of what sound she is currently going for on her current album, one thing's for sure, this girl has the pipes to sing whatever she wants. In front of a pretty nice crowd, Danilova took command of the stage, standing in front of a white-lit mountain, flanked by a backing band. She worked every inch of the stage, matching the intensity of the music and her vocals. She headbanged, she flailed wildly, and she even had time to stop and take a breath from time to time. Opening with title track "Taiga" followed by her single "Dangerous Days", it was clear Zola would bring some bounce to the Trees stage, but her set list contained a bit of everything from her catalog. She is quite a talent and definitely must be seen live.
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
I'm not going to lie, I really wasn't too familiar with Ben Howard in the weeks leading up to his sold out show at the House of Blues in Dallas. But once I did my research, I was more than impressed with the the shaggy-haired surfer from Devon. His sound can't be classified into any one genre but the bulk of his music has a folksy feel, stemmed from his singer-songwriter roots. Touring the US in support of last year's release, I Forget Where We Were, Howard is trying to make a household name for himself, something he's been able to do aboard. And judging by the amount of sold out shows he's been performing to on this tour, I think he's doing exactly that.
Thursday, January 15, 2015
With the inaugural College Football Playoff taking place at Jerry World, aka AT&T Stadium, in Arlington, it would only be fitting that Dallas proper reap the benefits and spoils. Just like when the Final Four descended upon North Texas at then-named Cowboys Stadium and brought along the March Madness Music Festival, the Playoff would bring a few musical treats of its own. One of those being CMT's Ultimate Kickoff Party nestled inside the Playoff Fan Central inside the Dallas Convention Center. The live 90-minute broadcast included performances by Toby Keith, Lady Antebellum (including Aleo Blacc), Big & Rich, Brett Eldredge, Jake Owen, Thomas Rhett, and Maddie & Tae. Hosted by Rob Riggle and Jessie James Decker, the affair was up and down, as most live broadcasts are with each artist performing a single, sometimes two, songs before going into a commercial break. It did its purpose of getting people to the Fan Central and spearheading the Playoff festivities into full swing.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
The weather outside was far from frightful, there were no marks of fire or snow, but the music inside the Verizon Theatre was very delightful during 102.1 KDGE's How the Edge Stole Christmas. The annual mix bag of radio talent drew thousands to the great hall of Grand Prairie for an evening of alternative jams. Along the same lines as their other, much larger festival, Edgefest, How the Edge Stole Christmas mixes a handful up and coming bands (who currently have a single that's receiving generous amounts of airplay) and a few veteran bands to headline the shindig. While most in attendance were there to see Weezer, Rise Against, or Young the Giant, the openers of this year's event proved to be worthy of the bill.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
I get pretty excited when I get to shoot at the larger venues in Dallas, such as Gexa Energy Pavilion, Verizon Theatre, and the American Airlines Center or in front of a large, festival stage for that matter. I found myself giddy when I knew I was going to be shooting the Black Keys at the AAC. One of the most popular rock bands, and one of my personal favorites, performing at the premier entertainment venue in Dallas? Count me in. Touring in support of their latest release, Turn Blue, the duo from Akron, OH blazed through a set of not-so-new material, drawing most of their songs from older releases rather than their brand new album. The minimalist style and sound of the Keys is a rare thing to find in arena settings, as there were no flames shooting from the stage, no cherry pickers, no gimmicks. That's what makes their performances so great, just straight rock and raw emotion. Opening the night was the wonder kid from England, Jake Bugg. I saw Bugg earlier this year when he headlined the House of Blues and put on a pretty amazing show. Not sure if he was the best pick for support but the crowd seemed to embrace him well.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
It had been nearly three years ago to the day that the band Tinariwen made their first trip to Dallas. Performing at the South Side's Loft, the band had a modest yet lively crowd in attendance. This time around, touring around their slot at Fun Fun Fun Fest, the men from Mali were performing at the Granada Theater to a much larger crowd. With no supporting act, it was obvious that everyone in attendance was there for the bluesy, Sahara sound of Tinariwen. And when you go to a Tinariwen show, don't expect any flash or flair. Their show is strictly about the music. And the music was excellent. Unless you speak their native Tamashek, you can only imagine the subject matter of each song but the tone of the vocals and the notes of the instruments painted more vibrant pictures than most popular music can dare to try. Despite the language barrier, the band was ever gracious, asking the crowd how they were and thanking them after almost every song. I cannot stress enough, you should definitely catch Tinariwen when they come through your city. They are not to be missed.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
Slipknot, the nine-piece metal outfit from Iowa, are known to have over the top production and theatrics for their live shows, so what could possibly make their show any better? Halloween. As luck would have it, Slipknot and supporting Korn would be performing at the Gexa Energy Pavilion as part of the Prepare for Hell tour on October 31st. So the mass of people who would have already dressed up for the affair probably multiplied by five, or perhaps tenfold, for this reason alone. Which, I might add, made for an interesting and entertaining atmosphere. Touring in support of their latest release, .5: The Grey Chapter, the masked men from Des Moines made sure that Dallas remembered this evening with their brazen metal sound and crazy showmanship.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
There are some bands that are cool. Then there's Metronomy, who bleeds coolness in the best, least pretentious way. Led by mastermind Joseph Mount, the four-piece from London (five when performing live) has a great blend of indie rock with a dash of 80's funk. The group is touring in support of their latest release, Love Letters, which has more funk than rock but was contains enough soul and bounce that kept Trees dancing all night. When performing, Mount and bassist Gbenga Adelekan command the stage. While Mount provides most of the vocals for Metronomy, Adelekan provides the best amount of crowd interaction and dance moves to boot. It was surprising to hear that this was the group's first visit to Dallas, especially being stone's throw from Austin and Houston. Nonetheless, Dallas greeted the band with open arms and lots of energy. Songs like "The Look" and "The Bay" were definite highlights and the show closing "You Could Easily Have Me" really brought the house down. Hopefully they don't stay away from Dallas because it was one of the more fun shows I've been to this year.
Monday, September 22, 2014
The partnership between the Granada Theater and local (but obviously international) blog, Gorilla vs. Bear, has been nothing short of excellent. Gorilla vs. Bear has showcased numerous bands such as The War on Drugs, Glass Candy, Chromatics, Shabazz Palaces, and Purity Ring at the Dallas venue but the annual Gorilla vs. Bear Festival started it all. Of the five bands I just listed, three of them are GvB Fest alum (Glass Candy, Chromatics, an Shabazz Palaces). So it doesn't surprise anyone when GvB decided to go with another showcased artist in Panda Bear to headline the fourth installment of the fest. Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) performed mostly new material from his upcoming release, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, perched in front of numerous projected images and flanked by two strobes. Always a sensory trip, Panda Bear is a sight to behold and fun to listen to. Other highlights of the fest were openers Ejecta and Sophie. Sophie's brilliance was felt around, making the Granada one huge dancefloor. Former Neon Indian member Leanne Macomber danced around herself as she and Joel Ford, otherwise known as Ejecta, performed a nice set of chill tunes.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
I was a bit surprised when I heard that Washed Out would be returning to the Granada Theater in 2014, as Ernest Greene and Co. performed at the historic Dallas venue less than a year ago. But trust me, I was not complaining as last year's show was a blast. Alongside Washed Out was Brooklyn's Small Black, who also performed in Dallas as recently as November as part of a Red Bull Sound Select show at the Prophet Bar. Together, the two bands provided a great one-two punch of danceable, chillwave goodness. I had missed Small Black the last few times they had come through Dallas and was very impressed with their live show. When Ernest and Co. took the Granada stage, they were without the tropical stage setup they had last November. This time, they employed a nice array of stage lighting that complimented the jovial mood of the evening. You cannot not enjoy a Washed Out show, sans the constant Portlandia references.