January 10, 2019

SOUND CHECK

Bobby Sessions, 🎸 at GRVNGE fest, and more local, can’t-miss live music

There’s nothing better than having friends in the know—and when it comes to the Dallas music scene, you can’t find anyone more plugged in than our friends at Central Track. Every month, its editor and founder Pete Freedman shares his picks for the city’s can’t-miss live shows. Up this month: 

FRIDAY, JANUARY 11
Bobby Sessions at Trees
Inarguably one of the most skilled emcees North Texas has ever produced, Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions returns to one of the Deep Ellum venues where he cut his teeth. This show arrives some 10 months—not to mention two EPs and a wide-released single—after he signed his widely publicized deal with the legendary Def Jam Records.

His thematically tied 2018-released short-players, respectively called RVLTN (Chapter 1): The Divided States Of AmeriKKKa and RVLTN (Chapter 2): The Art Of Resistance, proved the politically charged artist at the top of his game, at times allowing his emotions to take the wheel and, in other moments, using his sharp wit to dissect American society’s many race-rooted ills.

This concert, dubbed “RVLTN Live!,”  figures to feature more of the same compelling—and unforgettable—dynamic. Opening the night are Keite Young (of Medicine Man Revival) and Zyah, two extremely talented Dallas R&B singers that Sessions has prominently featured in his Def Jam output. (Yes, that’s on purpose; Sessions is as deliberate an artist as they come.) Tickets: $11-$16

SATURDAY, JANUARY 12
GRVNGE Fest at 2513 Main
OK, so: There’s a reason this show (it’s using the term “fest” loosely) is stylized as a “grvnge” offering rather than a “grunge” one. In short? This night won’t be your flannel shirt-rocking older siblings’ bag at all. But your hip younger cousins? Definitely all up in their social feeds. Consider the fact that the lineup features such earnestly named performers as Emotional Xan, lil house phone, guitar emoji, Benny Bandit, Hextape, LIL REIGN DROP and WOOD.wav.

Do each and every one of these acts place style over substance? Unabashedly! That’s what’s popping on Soundcloud these days. While a fairly genre-less affair, many of the performers on this bill do boast some vaguely dark and lonely Tumblr-core vibes (hence the moody title). We recommend the goth, gender-bending, whisper-rapper Emotional Xan; the Valley Girl-bedroom synth pop of hextape; and the bratty, Auto-Tuned, postmodern heartthrob R&B of a guy who, wherever possible, is stylistically represented as 🎸. Can you imagine the existential crisis you’d have if you went to this show on mushrooms? My lord. Tickets: $15-$30

Dead Flowers at Three Links
If there isn’t yet an award for “Most Deep Ellum Band,” let’s make one and fork it over to Dead Flowers. Not only has the band been a fixture in the historic Dallas music neighborhood’s scene for the better part of a decade now, but some of its members can also be found slinging drinks just a few spots up the road from where this album-release show is taking place.

Also, have you heard “I’m Fine,” the band’s new single? In the brash and sneering cut, frontman Corey Howe very sarcastically and dismissively describes his state of being (and the state of everything else around him, for that matter ) as “fine.” Have you ever talked to the people who constantly bum around Deep Ellum? That’s exactly what they sound like, all the time. Spot on. In turn, expect there to be plenty of neighborhood support at this show, which also features The 40 Acre Mule and Jonathan Jeter & the Revelators on the undercard. Tickets: $10-$12

SATURDAY, JANUARY 19
The Bralettes at Regal Room
Nothing against the Regal Room, a pleasingly intimate performance space nestled into the back room of Deep Ellum’s Indpendent Bar + Kitchen, but I am a loss as to why this show isn’t going down in a bigger space. For one thing, this night is meant to celebrate the debut album release from The Bralettes, a slacker-punk trio of young women whose knack for penning affecting and sincere songs is so obvious that everyone’s been raving about them since they first popped up on the scene.

Frankly, this occasion alone merits a bigger stage—and that’s before factoring in the acts sharing this bill, all of which are similarly young and impressive. Sets from Dallas psych-rock rejuvenators Acid Carousel, San Antonio surf-punks Junkie, and Acid Carousel member Ian Salazar doing a solo turn are reason enough to head to damn near any stage in town. Next time these acts get together, it’ll be in a room twice this size. Tickets: $10-$12

Damn Fine Music Fest II at Three 
This one needs some explaining. At this second-annual sonic tribute to the cult TV hit Twin Peaks, 20 Dallas musicians will form five one-off bands—all of which will perform a short set of music inspired by television show at large, but also by one of five characters from the series that each act has been assigned.

Yes, that sounds like a very niche concept. But last year’s inaugural run of this event—named as an approving, caffeinated nod to the closest thing Twin Peaks had to a catchphrase—was a huge hit. That’s in part because some of the bands—a different crop of musicians, for what it’s worth—got really weird with and into the concept. If you’re even remotely familiar with the iconic show, you should consider this oddball offering. David Lynch would absolutely approve. Tickets: $12-$15