Wednesday, December 19, 2012
North Texas’ 5 bandwagon trends of 2012
Plus: Who fell off the bandwagon?
We live in a world of trends. What’s cool right now might be unhip by the New Year. Trends in the music scene last as short as a three-day weekend or as long as a few months or more, and we’re here to take notes and ask why.
Each year, we compile the top bandwagon trends -- that is, the music-related fads that penetrated the DFW scene. Here are our top 5:
Making Dallas landmarks musical
The explosion of new, stunning venues has helped Dallas gain some major cultural points. The newest music venue in the Arts District, City Performance Hall, was home to a star-studded opening weekend performance featuring Sarah Jaffe, The Relatives, Pleasant Grove, and Seryn. There’s also the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, an architectural beauty set in West Dallas, which makes for a rare but fabulous concert venue as it did on opening weekend when it hosted Lyle Lovett. Brand-new venues the Perot Museum and Klyde Warren Park are also poised to be concert venues, even though their first purpose is not music-related.
Imagine: Live music in a park built over a bustling freeway, or a show near a room full of dinosaur bones. Sounds like a world-class city, no?
Until a few years ago, the place to go for a music festival was Austin. And maybe it still is today. But Dallas and Denton are giving Austin a run by forming new festivals this year that brought out hundreds and occasionally thousands of people to listen to live, often local, music.
Some of the new ones this year were:
- Big Folkin’ Festival in Deep Ellum in March
- Hot Wet Mess in Denton in September
- Untapped in West Dallas in September
- Index Fest in Deep Ellum in October
- North Oak Cliff Music Festival in November
Most concertgoers treated their ears to bands they hadn’t heard before. And at Denton’s Hot Wet Mess, festival organizers put out an inflatable water slide, giving it a different vibe for the hipsters in attendance.
Music festivals have long been pools for creativity – places for like-minded music fans to geek out over new tunes and support their community. Here’s hoping the new festivals of 2012 stick around in 2013.
Funding from fans
Being a musician isn’t always lucrative. So what does a band with very little money and no recording contract do when they want to make an album? Have their fans fund it, of course. Kickstarter is one of several popular online mediums that bands use to gain funding for their next musical endeavor. Bands Somebody’s Darling, Virgin Wolves, People On Vacation, and most recently The O’s have each funded their albums from donations from their fans this year. Instead of going through record companies, the bands put their livelihood in the hands of their fans – exactly where it belongs.
Sounds + suds
Know what goes really well with music? Beer. And with the opening of more than a half-dozen new breweries in the DFW area, the marriage of sounds and suds has never been better. During Tastes of the Trinity, a beer party at the new Four Corners Brewing in West Dallas, funk group Larry g(EE) took the stage, offering attendees an upbeat setting to swig beer. New fest Untapped, which was also in West Dallas, merged beer and music with an event that deliciously celebrated both. Breweries are here to stay in DFW, and we love that they’re inviting our local yokels to the party.
Don’t forget about Arlington
UTA’s College Park Center is not only a magnificent stadium for basketball, volleyball, and other college sports, it also makes for an impressive concert venue. As soon as the doors opened, major artists like Passion Pit and Drake were booked for soon-to-be sold out performances. For a concrete building not designed with live music in mind, the sound quality isn’t terrible, nor is the view – there really isn’t a bad seat in the 6,750-seat stadium. We have a hunch this won’t be the end of the star-studded lineups for UTA, whether it be a student-only event or a show open to the public. Don’t forget about Arlington when scrolling through upcoming concert lists.
Who fell off the bandwagon?
When the Kessler Theater re-opened in 2010, we were optimistic. A newly-renovated venue meant the possibility of catching smaller acts who came through Dallas that were too small to play the Granada but too big to play at the clubs in Deep Ellum. In the beginning, there were a multitude of acts worthy of heading to Oak Cliff to see and enjoy, but eventually the buzz died down – and so did the amount of shows worth going to.
The storied venue still has promise and a great location, but we want to see a better calendar.