Monday, July 06, 2009

It List: Monday

Do you guys like house parties? Do you like house shows? Are you down with DIY? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you'll probably be totally down with this year's Dallas Observer Music Awards. You know the Dallas Observer, right? Under the direction of music editor Pete Freedman, the local "indie weekly" has really become involved in supporting and nurturing the local DIY/house party circuit in recent months, and we're happy that they've had the guts to really dig deep and expose some of the unsung heroes of local music. And we know they aren't doing it because they're trying to milk the aesthetic for cool points, either, ok? They really "get" what's going on in the local underground right now, and they want to show their strong allegiance to the scene with a HOUSE PARTY THEME for this year's Observer Awards. I guess that's pretty good news for the local music community, isn't it?

But let me guess, Mr. or Mrs. Elitist, you're skeptical, right? I bet you're wondering, for example, whether this sudden embrace is a tad hypocritical considering that the Observer's music editor feels like his voice is just too large and important to cover house shows without the Police getting wind of them and shutting them down, right? And hmmm, I bet you're also dying to know why the Observer would want to get involved in the house show circuit when their editor wrote the following scornful comment in response to this discussion about why they won't cover house shows:

But, to respond: We're not gonna cover a band that pretty much exclusively plays this scene. We won't preview a gig and let our 100,000+ (at least) weekly readers know about an illegal house show just because that's the only chance they'll have to see a certain band.

Doing so is unfair to everyone: to the band, to the house venue's owners, to our readers, to the people who aren't friends with the party-throwers, to the musicians who aren't friends with the party throwers and won't get booked, etc. I could go on. Plus, how many people can actually attend these shows? Only so many.

Point is, if a house/DIY venue is doing something really cool and WANTS our support, we'll consider it. But we're not gonna go out of our way and pander to show with an attendance of a couple dozen people. Doesn't make sense on any level. At least, not to me. Or to our thousands of readers who, a) aren't at this show, and b) almost certainly aren't invited.

Well don't worry about it, bro, because although the Observer will be embracing the look and feel of "house parties" at their awards ceremony this year, they won't really be stooping low enough to actually host any kind of real house show or DIY event themselves, ok? You see, tomorrow night the paper will be hosting a party that is literally at a house in Dallas (which we won't name in the spirit of fairness), but instead of actually having some sort of substantive event there, they'll be using the house as a backdrop for a photo op-- the Observer gang has invited all of the Observer Awards nominees to come over so that they can "snap candid and posed party shots" (quotes from the invitation) of local bands at a "house party" that isn't really a party but rather a photo shoot for a corporate owned newspaper. I guess you could kind of call it, well, a fake house party. But as negative as this label might sound at first, it makes a lot of sense when you think about it-- this way, their photographers can get pics of everyone 'fuckin chillin' at a kewl house partie without having to worry about its "illegality" or a pathetically small audience of "a dozen" showing up or even about booking bands or creating something that anyone other than a PR agent will truly give a shit about. It's the best of all worlds, really, and its refreshing to see that the Observer has finally decided to take a short break from posts about St. Vincent and Erykah Badu in order to embrace the thriving house show culture that they seemed to so adamantly oppose up until quite recently. The local underground has been waiting to become "legitimate" in the eyes of the dallas music critic community for some time, and this might be the first important step towards finally making that dream a reality.

New Science Projects/Ryan Thomas Becker/The Heartstring Stranglers/Joey Kendall/Kids of Cons (The Hydrant)

Cool Out (the Cavern)

Bad Ass Jazz (Amsterdam): I wish they would change the name of this thing because it's a fun, quality jazz night that often features some great performers and I'd really like to be able to take it more seriously.

Paul Slavens (Dan's Silverleaf)


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