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 19, 2014
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.
Monday, September 1, 2014
Just when you think festival season is over in North Texas, KXT brings it back with its annual Summer Cut at the Gexa Energy Pavilion. Spanning across two stages, Summer Cut always brings in an eclectic mix of genres to the Dallas amphitheater including the likes of past headliners the Avett Brothers and the Flaming Lips. This year was no different with KXT bringing in the Hold Steady, Iron & Wine, and headliners Death Cab for Cutie. Despite the sweltering heat of this August day, thousands descended upon Fair Park to take in a wonderful evening of music.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Wiz Khalifa brought the Under The Influence of Music Tour to Dallas at Gexa with Ty$ and Young Jeezy. This guy has recently started building back up his buzz in light of his new release Black Hollywood. Knowing Wiz was performing new material and having seen previous setlists throughout his tour, I had a pretty good idea what he had in store for Dallas, which made my job a bit easier and made the performance a bit more enjoyable. The tour almost has a music festival feel to it with the many openers that came along including Rich Homie Quan, Sage the Gemini, Iamsu and host, DJ Drama, all of which I heard on stage but did not shoot due to my terrible choice in parking and a little confusion at the venue.
Wednesday, August 13, 2014
When I think of the Antlers' music, I think of pure emotion. Their music evokes an honest yet strong reaction, usually of the melancholy sort. With that being said, the emotions were in full swing when the Antlers made a stop to Trees in Deep Ellum. The trio from Brooklyn, along with a touring fourth member, is touring in support of their fifth studio release, Familiars. It's been a few years since I've seen the Antlers (6/8/11 at the Loft) and definitely took note when their tour dates were released. Even though I would have preferred to see the Antlers play in a smaller venue, the size didn't take away from the intimacy of the music and how it touched the audience.
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Words and pictures by Duane Clawson
Someone call the police! There has been an assault. An assault on my auditory senses, that is! But in the case of seeing Black Label Society live, the assault was not malicious in nature. In fact, it was self-initiated. Being a fan of this band and their leader, Zakk Wylde, for the past 15 or so years, I would have gladly driven much farther than the sixty miles (round trip) to Pop’s to cover this show! For those of you that don’t know, Zakk Wylde is better known for being Ozzy Osbourne’s on again, off again, go to guitarist for the past 25 years. Over the past few years, Zakk has taken a break from Osbourne’s band and focused entirely on Black Label Society. Black Label Society has been a revolving door of fantastic musicians since its inception and its founder has always claimed members are free to come and go as they please. The 2014 version of Black Label consists of Zakk Wylde (guitar/vocals/piano), John DeServio (bass/vocals), Jeff Fabb (drums), and Dario Lorina (guitar).