Monday, October 8, 2012
Index Festival resurrected Deep Ellum’s musical past
Main, Commerce, and Elm streets were alive once again with this cool new festival.
DEEP ELLUM Local booking company Spune has really been on a roll. Their latest endeavor was Index Festival -- “showcasing the best of what’s next in indie music” -- and spanned two days on two outdoor stages and inside Trees in Deep Ellum.
Remember how we all used to talk about Deep Ellum, five or six years ago, when the area had deteriorated past the point of anything that resembled a hub of live music and art? Remember when the area was more of a relic of the Dallas music culture than an actual part of it? Back then, the idea of having a two-day outdoor indie rock festival anywhere near Deep Ellum would have seemed more like a dream than truly probable.
Friday and Saturday, Main, Commerce, and Elm streets were alive once again, reanimated and reinvigorated. It wasn't the same late '80s to mid '90s feel, but it's a step in the right direction. It's a piggy back off the critical decision to reopen Trees in 2009.
The weekend saw sets from some of Dallas-Fort Worth’s best musical acts like Telegraph Canyon, Air Review, and newcomers Blackstone Rangers. A.Dd+ had a one of the shortest but most memorable sets on Saturday, as the local hip hop group followed a legend of the game -- GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan -- and had Trees bouncing.
GZA himself had a great set too. It’s pretty amazing to see a rapper roll through an entire setlist and edit out every curse word in every song, but that’s exactly what he did because there was a 9-year-old little girl in the first row (who was eventually invited on stage). After all, as GZA reminded us, “Wu-Tang is for the babies.”
There were plenty of highlights throughout the weekend: Grimes’s trash-bag chic band, the fanfare for the Cold War Kids, and Washed Out’s entire set were important moments. The fact that the temperature didn’t get out of the 50s on Saturday made for a crisp concert series in the best way. And then there were the surprises, like local jazz outfit Yells At Eels, who stunned the audience with a brand of re-imagined jazz that might rescue my opinion on the entire genre. They were a pleasure.
It all added up to another home run for Spune, and a welcome and overdue sight for Deep Ellum.
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