Sunday, April 21, 2013
Review: Untapped reminds us that good music and good beer are a great mix
You needn't have been drunk to enjoy this show. (But it's OK if you were.)
FORT WORTH One of the oddest twists in hipster rock is its ironic embrace of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. What’s next? Opera fans swilling Boone’s Farm apple wine straight from the bottle?
Thankfully, the Untapped Festival is here to remind us that good music goes best with intriguing beer. Co-sponsored by Paste magazine and the local Spune Productions, Untapped streamed a zesty blend of craft brew and hard-to-peg rock ‘n’ roll Saturday at Panther Island Pavilion near downtown Fort Worth.
More than 200 types of ales, lagers, and stouts were poured by 60-some breweries, including local outfits such as Rahr & Sons, Lakewood Brewing, and Deep Ellum Brewing companies. Most attendees opted to savor the suds in 2-ounce sampling cups, which meant far fewer sloshed numbskulls than you’d find at the average beer blast where everyone drinks from bladder-busting-size cups.
Even if you were barley novice who didn’t know an I.P.A. from a H.M.O., the servers were happy to tell you all about each brand -- as long as you didn’t ask for the jalapeno beer. That keg was dead long before sunset.
The music on the two stages started with local bands Dove Hunter, Somebody’s Darling, Skeleton Coast, and the Orbans, followed by Tennis, a Denver group led by Alaina Moore and her husband Patrick Riley.
“I’m not drunk, but I hope you’re drinking,” Moore said. “This is a beer festival after all.” But you needn’t have been tipsy to love Tennis. Moore’s jazzy, quavering soprano and Riley’s trance-like guitar work were intoxicating enough.
Justin Townes Earle -- son of alt-country kingpin Steve Earle -- took the stage just before sunset and switched from prescription shades into regular glasses as quickly as he switched from ballads to waltzes to rockers. He sounded tired of playing his semi-famous cover of the Replacements’ “Can’t Hardly Wait,” but he came alive in “Harlem River Blues,” perhaps the most ebullient suicide song ever written.
The Rhode Island band Deer Tick closed the event with a joyous and rowdy show full of twangy blues and stoner rock. But the real star of the festival was Denton’s Sarah Jaffe, who played the night’s most daring set. Flanked by an all-star band featuring Scott Danbom (keyboards) and Robert Gomez (guitars), Jaffe moved gracefully from art rock to synth pop to a deliciously grim overhaul of the Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.”
Since debuting last year in West Dallas, Untapped has grown into a recurring series, with plans for fall events in Nashville, Atlanta, and Dallas. The Big D site has yet to be announced, but hopefully it’ll be greener and more inviting than the nondescript urban parking lot that hosted Saturday’s event: A festival this good requires more than just a slab of blacktop.
Thor Christensen is a Dallas freelance writer.
- Review: Dedicated hopheads braved the cold at Fort Worth's Untapped festival
- 15 hilariously-named beers at Fort Worth's Untapped festival
- Theater review: All’s Well That Ends Well provides both light-hearted comedy and thoughtful reflection
- Theater review: Into the Woods creatively interprets childhood tales
- Theater review: Bank Job takes toilet humor literally