Thursday, March 29, 2007

No Pabst, no Parliments... how about Fat Tire and a seat on the patio?

Highlands Cafe Concerts at the Cafe begins again! One Saturday night each month, this little restaurant will feature acoustic artists playing all original music. Highlands Cafe is an interesting place. Twenty neighborhood investors, mostly families that live within five miles of the Cafe, revamped a failed bakery in a small strip mall. It's very much a destination venue; if you weren't coming there specifically, you never know it existed. The food is good, ranging from veggie burgers to grilled salmon dinners and steak nachos that are amazing. It's worth the trip for the food alone. Of course, being a restaurant, the Cafe is non-smoking, and being in suburbia, it closes early, by 10pm. Performers usually bring along their families and kids and grandparents and aunts who would never, ever go see them play in Deep Ellum. The vibe is relaxed. Beer and wine are served, as well as the best cake and brownies you ever had.

This Saturday, 3/31, 8-10pm, Valentino will record their new acoustic album at The Cafe. I love Valentino for their acoustic Muse and Killers covers, but they won't be playing those this weekend. Instead they want ambient sounds behind acoustic versions of their own indie lament, "Pabst and Parliments," and I keep kidding them about a jam version of "Cosmonaut." Take a listen on their myspace page, you'll hear why that's probably not that likely to happen. But, you never know... Come, and make some noise for them! You can buy the CD later this year and say you're on a just-released rock-n-roll album. Your hipster cred will go through the cubicle ceiling. heh.

Anyway, good beer, wine, burgers and fine food. And this Saturday, music @ Highlands Cafe. See you then....

Highlands Cafe
9661 Audelia in Lake Highlands
(Audelia & Walnut Hill)

More about the artists this season, just in case Saturday you've got plans (all text shamelessly stolen from their websites)...

03/31/2007 08:00 PM - Valentino records their new acoustic CD at Highlands. Come, make some chatter for them! Dallas-based rock band Valentino got their start in October 2004, when four long-time friends from different musical backgrounds suddenly found themselves without a band at the same time. The result was the harmonious blend of indie rock, blues and punk that has made Valentino a local favorite. After gaining attention in the local music scene for their eclectic sound and ability to mesmerize a crowd, the four-piece rocknroll group began traveling to music venues across the state. Valentino recently shared the stage with notable Texas-based rockers Los Lonely Boys in their home-town of San Angelo.

04/28/2007 08:00 PM - Dylan Sneed
What started as a laid-back sing-along with friends turned into a Saturday night phenomenon. "What I Thought," Dylan's new album is a snapshot of the fun, funky, and folky experience that is a Dylan Sneed live show. Pick one up at the show!

05/19/2007 08:00 PM - Tim Miller
An underground musician who refined his craft over years of performing live, Tim Miller’s music is charged with intense, emotional sounds that convey the personal. Drawing his musical influences from a wide spectrum of artists ranging from Chris Cornell to the Indigo Girls to Stevie Wonder, Miller refined his craft over years of performing live and sings with a conviction that comes from experience.

06/23/2007 08:00 PM - Chris Holt
Chris Holt's songwriting projects include the musical madness that was Olospo and is now known as The Slack...also, he plays in Sorta, Salim Nourallah & The Noise, Johnny Lloyd Rollins, and The Jones Thing...and won a handful of awards recently that he most definitely did deserve.

08/25/2007 08:00 PM - Annie Benjamin is a veteran of the live music scene in Texas with two decades of performances to her credit. She is known for her high energy flute licks, her vocal ability to go from "0 to 180" in the blink of an eye and a unique picking style on her guitar. Her lyrics can be irreverant and silly one minute, poignantly homespun the next.

09/22/2007 08:00 PM - Colin Boyd
The music is pop/rock/folk, which is pretty contemporary. Boyd plays quite a few instruments, including guitars, various percussion instruments, keyboard and accordion... assume this guy’s a big hit out at the Kerrville songwriter festivals (unless his tunes are too pop or something), and since he’s from Plano, he’s a big hit here for sure!

Sunday, March 11, 2007


The Zac Crain for Mayor campaign is in crisis! We have not been able to collect the necessary signatures to get me on the ballot and they are due at 5 p.m. tomorrow. Arragh!IF WE DON'T GET THESE SIGNATURES, I WON'T BE ABLE TO RUN FOR MAYOR. Period. We are having an emergency signature-collecting party tonight at 7 p.m. at the Barley House, 5612 Yale Blvd., Dallas. If you are registered to vote in the city of Dallas, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come out for 20 minutes, have a beer, and sign our sheets. If you can find it, bring your voter registration card with you, too. That would help a ton.I love you guys.ZacP.S. -- Pass this on if you could.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Slack is back!!

The Slack, that stalled project that made me gush back in Aug 2005, is once again a living, breathing band, though its membership has changed. In the fine, long-standing tradition of East Dallas bands, The Slack has rearranged its musical chairs, and reincarnated itself.

They're playing TONIGHT at Sons. Go! It'll be fun, I promise.

and in addition to that, Chris is now playing in Johnny Lloyd Rollins' band, and they are part of the wonderful line-ups at the North by Southwest shows at ellumONSTAGE. Check this out...

The show is on Saturday. The lineup is as follows:
12:00 - Swim Swim
1:00 - Benjamin Del Shreve
2:00 - The Planning Fallacy
3:00 - Love & Reverie
4:00 - Kingfish
5:00 - Smile, Smile
6:00 - Johnny Lloyd Rollins
7:00 - Salim Nourallah
8:00 - Hendrick
9:00 - Polyphonic Spree

I had wanted this post to be long-winded and all gushy about The Slack, but that will have to wait. Leaving on Spring Break. Going to the hinterlands where (gasp!) there is no internet. Will be back, fellow hipsters, in two weeks. Enjoy SxSW and NxSW for me. Nos vemos!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

UNofficial SxSW (or, the real reason to go)

"Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges!"
- Hedley Lamarr in Blazing Saddles

I swear, I'm going to make that my annual SxSW quote...

So, you want to go to SxSW but you "forgot" to buy your $500 (with discount) Music badge and your press credentials (and expense account) aren't up to par? I'd say that you officially* don't need one this year. The best stuff is happening outside of the showcases
(I didn't write any of the following, so don't blame me for errors or inconsistencies)...

The UNofficial List of North Texas @ SxSW:

from Stephen Ruiz:
In a Matlock-like turn of events, HOT FLASH! resident DJ Stephen R. will be DJ'ing a Punk-SKA-Dub-Indie set at the Sinister Muse Records and the Lonestar Rollergirl's (did you see their A&E series Rollergirls?) party, "The Biggest Little Party in Austin 2007" on Friday March 16th upstairs at Momo's. Sinister Muse Records' recording artist Graham Isaacson, Treaty of Paris, Dead Town Revival and Omnirox artist The Sterns will perform live. FREE beer and FREE food will be served. Guaranteed to be the best party in Austin - don't miss it! RSVP to

from Goodwin:
Goodwin plays at the Dizzy Rooster (306 E 6th St
Austin, TX 78701) on Saturday March 17th at 8pm, courtesy of the Austin Indie Alliance (
Admission is FREE. FREE! The AIA has showcases going the entire duration of SXSW at the Dizzy Rooster, and all of them are free.)

from Lindsay Graham/Method Entertainment/BandSiteLive/Deck Sachse....
If you're in Austin next week, please be my guest for an afternoon of music and drinking to kick off this year's SXSW conference. I can think of no better way to begin a 5-day binge of debauchery and excess than to start drinking at noon on a Wednesday, watching excellent bands - all for free.
Arthur Yoria
The Mercers
Doug Burr
Pleasant Grove
When: Noon, Wednesday, March 14th
Where: B.D. Riley's, on Sixth St., Austin, TX
Flier: /events/sxsw2007/

from Kirtland Records:
Toadies headlining Stubbs during Interactive. Check the Stubbs calendar. Most likely sold out.
Hourly Radio: Gothimist/Austinist party Wed at mohawk time tba - day party.

from Idol Records:

Black Tie Dynasty will also be playing on Sat. March 17 at 8:00 PM at the FOUR ON THE FLOOR PARTY
located at: 1604 San Antonio Austin, TX (between 15th & 16th)
Free food from Fancy Pants Tamales (vegan & vegetarian)

*Officially by me. Not SxSW endorsed. Or by anyone else, for that matter. But I have excellent taste. And you'll tell me when I don't.

Also, here's the scoop on badges: find a friend with one. You may then join them in line to pick up their badge and they can buy a wristband for you for the going rate of around $150-175. That amount changes every year, so check in with Waterloo Records and see how much wristbands are this year. Or, if you have a really really good friend who lives in Austin and likes lines, they can buy a wristband for you at Waterloo when they are released. The trick is that Waterloo makes the announcement only in the Austin Statesman very very close to the day the bands go on sale and your friend needs to get in line at a very unreasonable hour of the morning. Wristbands sell out within a couple hours. If you're relying on a wristband to get into shows, you need to be in Austin on Wednesday. It's highly unlikely that you'll find one for sale, even with a badgeholder, by Friday night. Do you need a wristband or a badge? Only to get into the hot official shows. Otherwise, you can have a fine fun time and never even go near an official venue.