Audic Empire at Amplified Live November 21, 2021

Audic Empire is a five-member group based in Austin, Texas. They have been together for almost ten years.   They identify mostly with reggae but certainly have added their own touches to the original material, most of which is written by Ronnie Bowen and James Tobias.  They have produced three albums, all of which are available on most internet platforms. These guys hit the stage like a strong wind. Fast and tight, their music held the audience like a magnet.   The reggae beat was punctuated with blues licks we have come to expect from the better Texas guitarists.  Audic Empire is a talented group that works well together. Their music is appealing and their stage presence is attention-grabbing.    

Booking: booking@audicempire.com
 

KYLE SMITH at Amplified Live November 21, 2021

Kyle Smith was the second act to perform on November 21.  The Kyle Smith group is currently a trio composed of bass, drums, and (Kyle Smith ) on guitar and vocals.   Smith is from Ventura, California, and is currently engaged in a multicity tour.  His music draws on rock and reggae which he calls “Cali-reggae”.  Other writers refer to this as “California-style” reggae.  I’m not sure there are definable, regional differences or if this is just a promotional idea.

Smith’s music was tight, as are most trios.  It was also fast-paced and generally struck me as more rock than reggae.   The musicianship was good, and I think they are a good bar/dance band but I did not get a sense of a clear musical direction. Their stage presence was not so prominent as the previous band ( Drifting Roots ). Smith has previously recorded an album “Lost Cause”, available on internet platforms.

Booking: Kylesmithjams.com/booking
 

DRIFTING ROOTS at Amplified Live November 21, 2021

Drifting Roots is a four-piece band that hails from the Daytona Beach area of Florida and has been touring for the last several weeks.  They were /are one of the first acts to appear on the newly remodeled Amplified Dallas in-door stage. Playing all original music there was a nice hint of rock in their reggae.  The instruments were well balanced with the vocals and the overall effect was that the group was better than the sum of the individual players.   These guys play well together.  The players were Matt ( guitar and lead vocalist ), Tim ( lead guitar ), Joey ( bass), and Chris ( drums ).  

They played with force and presence. They interacted well with the audience and projected their individual and group personalities.   It’s hard to define, but these guys strike me as having star potential. 

Contact:  driftingrootsmusic.com
 

Amigo the Devil at Amplified Live 11.18.21

Amigo the Devil is an icon of “murderfolk”, a subset of “folkpunk” music. His real name is Danny Kiranos and currently calls Austin home.   He is a one-man, one guitar, one amp show.   His songs are his own and many are written to intentionally involve the audience.  He is quick-witted and, at times, funny enough to claim the title of a comedian.   His songs range from tales of bloody knives to the pina colada song ,” Escape”by Rupert Holmes. I recommend him to anyone who appreciates a pretty good singer/songwriter with a rather dark sense of the absurd.  

Management: ifo@regimenic.com

Booking:  RO@WMEAgency.com.

 

 


AMPLIFIED LIVE, Dallas

1026 Technology blvd

Dallas, Texas 75220

 

 In 2014, Richard Rawlings, professional hot rod mechanic and reality star branched out into the entertainment business by opening “The Gas Monkey Bar and Grill “in northwest Dallas. The club was large had good grill-type food and booked touring bands three to four nights per week.  It started slowly but built a rather large, loyal crowd. There is no doubt the club was successful, but for reasons known only to a few, in 2020 Rawlings decided to get out of the club business and took the name with him.   Under new management, the club was renamed “Amplified Live”.     Though largely the same, a few improvements have been made, including a first-floor in-door stage and an extension of the original bar.  The outside stage required little modification and is likely the best live popular music venue in Dallas.  The stage is large and there is room for about five to seven hundred outdoor quests, not including a second floor semicircular balcony with tables and chairs ( although most guests stand ). The sound and light systems are state of the art.  The service ( food and drink ) is first-rate .   Photography and videography is permitted.   Security is ample, but not overly conspicuous. Talent booking is thoughtful and with a good grasp of what is popular and ( more importantly ) what is not popular.  There is usually a cover charge between ten and twenty-five dollars, but parking is free. I liked the Gas Monkey, and its change to Amplified Live has only made improvements. I’ve been to a lot of clubs and music venues.    We in Dallas are lucky.  There are a lot of nice places with good entertainment.  That being said, Amplified Live is my choice for number one.

jb

Tejon Street Corner Thieves at Amplified Live 11.18.21

The Tejon Street Corner Thieves hail from Colorado Springs and tour in a yellow school bus ( roomy, but I’ll bet it’s a bear to maintain ). The group has been in existence since about 2012 and until recently would have nothing to do with record labels/companies.  They have released Four albums and plan on the fifth ( “Thick as Thieves”  for later this year ). The Thieves call their music “trashgrass” and is composed of guitar, upright and electric bass, banjo, and percussionist ( wash board / thimbles and  assorted junk ). The members are Connor O’Neal, Shawn D’Amario, Spencer Mode, and Jeremy Knowles. Their performance is fast-paced, well-rehearsed and perfectly timed.  The music is original and delightful.   In terms of pure entertainment value, I would rank these guys with the likes of Brave Combo. 

Management: info@regimenic.com

Booking:   Jknight@teamass.com.

IV and the Strange Band at Amplified Live November 18, 2021

Colleman Finchman was reportedly unaware that he was a fourth-generation Williams ( as in Hank Williams ) until his teenage years, hence adopting the name IV ( as the son of Hank Williams III ).  In his formative years, he played with various punk and alternative groups.  He finished college in English literature but found teaching unsatisfying and he began to look around for players. Initially performing punk music it wasn’t long before his country linage began to emerge, ultimately resulting in the strange Band. IV fronted his band at Ampified Live .  

IV’s music is a unique mixture of country and rock reminiscent of John Prine, the Melvins, and Jesus Lizard and might be described as “country punk”.    The music will appeal to hardcore rocker and country fans alike.  The group was made up of Coleman Williams ( guitar and lead vocal ), David Talley ( lead guitar), and Jason Dietz ( bass ).  Laura Beth Jewell ( violin ) was not present for this event and was replaced by a banjo player whose identity escaped me.  The band’s first record, “Son of Sin” was released in April 2021. See him when you can. He is really a rising star.

Booking information:  Mikemonterulo@tkco.com

 

Alice Longyo Gao & Fraxiom live at Club Dada 11.11.21

Club DaDa

We’ve been to DaDa several times this year and will likely go several more times as it seems to be one of the “must play” venues in Texas for touring artists.  Though DaDa is also a full-service bar, it occasionally has all-ages nights and marks under the drinking age with ink on a hand.  This practice seems to satisfy the police and allows DaDa to have acts that appeal to under-aged fans. The club has a large dance floor in front of the stage but does not allow mosh pits or stage diving. In fact,  any sort of serious misbehavior is rare at DaDa.

Club DaDa 2720 Elm Street Dallas, Texas 75226

 

Fraxiom

Fraxiom is a 21-year-old, Chicago-based up-and-coming star in the world of hyperpop.  ( Hyper-pop is a mixture of maximalist, electronic, squelching synths, voice alteration, and rap.  So far, it is a small genre prompted principally on streaming internet services ).  Fraxiom is a gender-fluid person who has partnered with Gupi, aka Spencer Hawk ( son of skateboard legend Tony Hawk ). As a duo, they are called FoodHouse. The Fraxiom performance lasted about an hour and feature Frax as the sole performer along with a synthesizer and various prerecorded tracks.   They bounded, jumped, sat, and skipped back and forth on the stage while intermittently singing and rapping. Most of the time they ( perhaps intentionally ) seemed oblivious to the audience.  The audience, mostly teenagers to early ’20s, seemed to enjoy the show and bounced in cadence when a definable beat was present. 

Contact: Instagram:  @fraaaaaax   Music: Spotify, SoundCloud. 

 

Alice Longyo Gao


Alice came on after Fraxiom and performed for about 90 minutes.   Alice grew up and studied music in China until age 17, before immigrating to New York where she has worked as a DJ and performer.  In various interviews, she has discussed bringing an Asian influence to hyperpop.  She is decidedly feminine but vocally supportive of the LBGQ community.  Now at age 27, she lives in Los Angeles. She too performed singularly, accompanied by various electronic devices.  Her songs are lingering and at times catchy.  She clearly recognizes the importance of audience interaction, at one point leaving the stage to mingle while singing and rapping. 

Contact:  http://alicelongyogao.com    @alicealice916


JB
 

Dreams Unwind live at Redfield's Tavern 11.06.21

 

DREAMS UNWIND


Dreams Unwind is a Dallas-based group, the brainchild of singer Lori Carlyle. Ms. Carlyle is well known for her role in the tribute band, FleetwoodX.  This new, larger group (eight members ) concentrates solely on the work of Stevie Nicks.   The group members are Lori Carlyle (vocals), Andy Long (guitar), Andy Pruyn (drums), Ryan Koger (guitar), Rob Writing (bass), Juergen Horn (keyboards), Michelle Hall, and Sarah Jenson (backing vocal). Ms Carlyle’s vocals are impeccable and complemented by her lady backing vocalists.   The music is well-rehearsed, clear, and full.   They pull it off very well.   Some consider it a small matter, but starting on time, and the lack of tuning and general non-music behavior on stage show that these are musicians who appreciate stage presence. At Redfield’s the band plays outdoors, with which I have no problem. However, I expect that their performance would sound even better at an in-door venue. If you want a Fleetwood Mac, or in this case a Stevie Nicks tribute, I’m pretty sure it doesn’t get much better than Dreams Unwind. 

Booking: www.dreamsunwindtributeband@gmail.com  (214) 693 8659

jb

 

REDFIELD’S


We’ve reviewed Redfield’s Neighborhood Tavern more than once in this column.  Variety is a goal of our reviews, but Redfield’s is one of those places that is pleasant to visit and always has a variety of interesting weekend bands.  As previously noted, Redfield’s has a fully stocked bar, good food, easy parking, and no cover charge.   

Redfield’s Neighborhood Tavern 
2213 Butler Street
Dallas, Texas 75235
 

Ryan Berg and Velvet Ears Live at Lone Star Roadhouse 11.5.21

Ryan Berg & Velvet Ears 

It has been several months since we first saw Ryan Berg, as a solo act at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. A few months before that he was a contestant on Season 20 of NBC’s “The Voice”.  At our first meeting, I was impressed with his singing and his ability to adequately support his singing with a standard guitar. He told me at that time that he frequently played with a band, Velvet Ears. When I found that Ryan and his band were to play locally, I knew a follow-up visit with video was in order.  The band members are Paul Douglas ( bass ), Medrick Greely ( drums/percussion ), Glen Fleischman ( guitar ), and, of course, Ryan Berg ( vocals and guitar ).  Most of the songs were original compositions.  The balance and volume of the group were appropriate.  The songs were melodic and the arrangements were well-rehearsed.   The songs were pleasant if not poetic.  The band formed a solid background to Ryan’s vocals.    I especially found Greely’s percussion style to be interesting, rather orchestral in nature. Ryan and Velvet Ears are clearly worth seeing and I’ll follow along to see how far they can go. Ryan and the full band are headed out on tour in 2022.  Contact and booking: www.ryanbergdtx@gmail.com 


Lone Star Roadhouse

Lone Star has been located in Northeast Dallas for over a decade.  Essentially a local tavern, the Lone Star has a full bar and menu featuring burgers, steaks, Mexican finger foods, and weekly specials. All the foods are prepared to order. The service is friendly but can at times be quite erratic. Seating is tables or the bar. The live entertainment roster is primarily on weekends, featuring local bands of varying genres. There is karaoke, an ample dance floor, pool tables, and flat-screen TVs that will be blasting the games even during a band's performance.  Parking is free and well-lit. The crowds are middle-aged plus and the dress is casual.   On evenings with live entertainment, there is a cover charge ( usually about $10 ). 

Lone Star Road House     (214) 341 3538
11277 East Northwest Highway  # 124
Dallas, Texas 75238

Menu/further information: www.lonestarroadhouse.com 
 

Petty Theft live at Lee Harvey's 10.31.21

LEE HARVEY’s


Lee Harvey’s is one of those “Deep Ellum” type places that aren’t actually in deep Ellum, but it’s close.  It’s actually in the Cedars area of Dallas, the oldest residential area of the city. It’s about two miles southwest of the Dallas City Hall, South of I30, but north of the Trinity River.   An odd little area dotted with old warehouses, a few clubs, and houses built 100 years ago.  In the midst of all this on a short street ( Gould St ) off Akard sits Lee Harvey’s.  It’s an old house you enter through an old chain link fence and a yard strewn with picnic tables.   The wrap around prairie style porch has been made into a covered stage.  You have to look closely but the façade of the old house is hand-cut flagstone, a fashionable touch before manufactured bricks were widely available. It is an earthy beer garden with a wide variety of brews and burgers and onion rings that I’m told rival those from the old Sonny Bryant.  The crowd is decidedly casual, a few brought their dogs. They have live music three or more nights per week. Parking is where ever you can, but there was plenty of local curb space.  The guy collecting admission fees ( $10 ) told me they don’t have problems with shootings like Deep Ellum.   Hey!  Beer, burgers, a good band, and no need for a flak jacket;  I’m in. 

Lee Harveys    1807 Gould Street   Dallas, 75215 (214) 428 1555

 

PETTY THEFT


A Tom Petty Tribute band that is made up of Mike Ryner ( vocals  & guitar ),  James Driscoll ( bass ), Drew Hunter ( drums ), Steve Luthye ( keyboards), Eric Neal ( slide guitar ), and Bill Porter ( harmonica and guitar ). They draw from all the Petty favorites and a few “deep cuts”, as well as songs from the Traveling Wilburys, but all with confidence and the voice of a well-rehearsed band. I think these guys are good enough to do justice to the music of most any artist(s). 

Bookings : https:// Pettytheft.com  


jb
 

Groovebumbs live at Redfields 10.29.21

REDFIELD’S NEIGHBORHOOD TAVERN

Located on Butler Street between Harry Hines and Maple avenue, Redfield’s is a neighborhood collecting place for people living in the growing Southwestern Medical District. We’ve been there before and always found it friendly with the usual bar and grill eats ( very good ) and 
Bar service. Seldom crowded, but usually well attended there is a spacious indoor area and a large outdoor patio with a bandstand (stage ) and picnic table seating. It is spacious, monitored free parking.  You couldn’t ask for much more.

Redfield’s Tavern    (214) 477 2100  2213 Butler  Dallas, Texas 75235 

GROOVEBUMPS

Formed in High School almost ten years ago, this electric three-piece rock group has seen its ups and downs. Most of the members play with other groups, but they occasionally reunite for a jam session and just plain fun.  They were largely apart during the COVID problems of 2020, but are now making a solid effort to reunite and perform more often. The group consists of  Miki Smeathon (vocals/lead guitar) , Luke Callaway (drums), and Dylan De Freitas (bass).   The individual musicianship is good, but the show is a bit loosey-goosey.  Nonetheless, some good stuff pops up, like their improvised version of Low Rider. They have talent and they’re working on it.  It’ll be fun to watch them grow. 

Moon Kissed live at Sundown at Granada 10.26.21

Sundown at Granada is well known to anyone who follows our visits to clubs around town. We seem to turn up there more often than we anticipated.  It is a nice place and the folks who work there are friendly toward us, but the real reason we go there so often is that they book some really great acts.   About two days ago, I found that they had booked Moon Kissed for one night only.  Enough said.  My car knows the way. 

Moon Kissed was formed in NYC following the chance meeting of Khaya Cohen ( singer ), Leah Scarpati (drummer), and Emily Sqouros ( synthesizer ) at a New Year’s Eve party in 2018.  Being of musical-like mind, they begin to write and rehearse together.  In a rather brief time, they had enough material to begin performing publicly in 2019.  Their first album in 2019, I met My Band At A New Year’s Eve Party was reasonably successful and they have now released their second, entitled There’s Something I’d Like To Tell You.  Their current multi-city tour is to promote that album. 

Performing their own material at Granada, the band was terrific. Each was masterful with their individual instrument(s).   Together, they are a well-oiled machine pumping out pure musical energy.  Their songs are catchy and devoid of the lengthy solos and interludes so common among young players.   Each of these players is sufficiently insightful as to play for the music as a whole.  Social media seems to indicate that a community of followers is forming around this group. Musical success requires that the members mesh, fit together, have chemistry, or whatever you want to call it.   Moon Kissed has it and they are barely getting started. 

Management: Brian@knittingfactorymgmt.com
Booking:  Amy Davidman, adavidman@tbaagency.com 


jb

Poor David's Pub & KNON 89.3 Present Zac Harmon's CD Release Party for "Long As I Got My Guitar"

POOR DAVIDS PUB

David Card opened Poor David’s Pub in 1977, at that time on McKinney Avenue. The newly opened Pub along with the legalization of alcohol by the drink made the place an instant hit, specializing in traditional blues and folk music. A few years later, the Pub moved to lower Greenville avenue and then even later to South Lamar Street ( now Botham Jean Boulevard). Today, musicians know they arrived when they are invited to play Poor David’s. The club will seat about 250 people and there is ample parking. Security is pretty fair as the Dallas Police Department headquarters is located across the street. Inside there is bar and table seating, and a stage large enough for a small orchestra. The sound system is well balanced and the volume is not excessive. Drinks will meet most expectations and though there is no “in-house” food, it is not unusual for food (  barbeque, in this case  ) to be catered in. The crowd is mostly adults and attentive to the music. 1313 Botham Jean Blvd  Dallas, Texas 75215   (214) 565 1295 Poor David's Pub

 

ZAC HARMON

Raised in Mississippi, Zac immigrated to Texas in his youth and began working as a sideman and session musician for such greats as Z.Z. Hill. He produced tracks for the Grammy award-winning album The Mystical Truth by Black Uhuru. Zach is the recipient of numerous awards for his work. His first solo album is Live at Babe and Ricky’s Inn, recorded in 2002. The night we saw Zac Harmon at Poor David’s was on the occasion of the release of his new album, Long As I Got My Guitar. The new album released on Catfish Records was being promoted by local community radio station KNON 89.3. Zac was accompanied by two keyboardists (Cory Lacey/Dan Ferguson), bass (Chris Gipson), and drummer (Jamil Byron.) He performed songs from his new album and earlier material.  His road band was clearly well-rehearsed, tight, and dynamic.  His voice is clear and forceful and his guitar work is melodic and masterful. Mr. Harmon obviously enjoys what he does.  He may play the blues, but he imparts pure joy to those fortunate enough to see and hear him live.   

FB: @zacharmon927    Zac Harmon Website
                                                                                                             jb

Greet Death, Bent Knee and The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Live at Club Dada 10.21.21

 

Club DaDa is one of the premier venues in Deep Ellum and has been reviewed by this publication previously.     It is in the epicenter of east Elm street ( Deep Ellum ) and has been instrumental in launching the career of numerous Dallas artists. These days the club hosts national touring bands almost weekly.  It has a medium-large auditorium room with only a bar and a stage. No “frills “.  There is an outdoor area in the back for conversation, drinking, etc. The house sound system is more than adequate for almost any act, but bare concrete floors and walls make for a “hard” sonic environment.  On this evening, I went to see The World is Beautiful and I am no longer Afraid to Die, a veteran Emo or Indie rock band from Connecticut.  Club Dada 2720 Elm street Dallas, Texas 75226 www.dadadallas.com  

 

GREET DEATH 

The opening act this evening was the four-piece band originating in Flint Michigan named “Greet Death”.  The members are Logan Gavel ( guitar and vocals ), Jackie Kalmink ( bass ), Jeremy Versluis ( drums), and Samual Boyhtari ( guitar ) . Their music was all original and had elements of classic, headbanging metal, and death metal.  The bass and drums pounded as expected, the tempo varied from slow to very fast, but there was very little guitar shredding.
The music was loud ( 96-98 db ) emphatic and masculine. Gavel’s vocals were monotone, but not growling. 
The audience participated with headbanging and arm thrusting.  There was no moshing or stage diving. ( I don’t believe stage diving in any form is allowed at Da Da ).  Contact: Jack@heavymetal.com 

 

BENT KNEE 

Formed in 2009 in Boston (Berklee School of Music ) Bent Knee is what I would call an experimental indie band.   The members include Ben Levin ( guitar ), Courtney Swain (keyboards and vocals ), Chris Baum (violin ), Jessica Kion ( bass ), Vince Welch (keyboards, synthesizer ), and Gaven Wallace-Alsworth ( drums ).    
Electronic effects were prominent ( echo, reverb, inversion, gating, and compression ), as well as the native instrument sounds.  The songs generally feature the lilting vocals of 

Courtney Swain, a very interesting singer with an impressive tonal range.  Their original music was melodious, but somewhat hard to follow, I suspect intentionally.  It was well coordinated and occasionally surprising.  Solos were planned and in a band this size, their attention to detail ( rehearsing ) was evident. I’ll be honest, I had a hard time following this group’s music, but I found it intriguing, with a potential for addiction. They currently call Austin, Texas home. 

Management: Anthony Geso  Anthony@lessermatters.com    Booking:  John Loshnits  jloshnits@oponewyork.com 
 

THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE AND I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE  

This band ( whom I shall refer to as World is Beautiful ) is a difficult-to-classify indie/alternative rock group.   They are originally from Willmantic, Connecticut, and are currently on a twenty-seven city tour with Bent Knee to promote their latest album Illusory Walls ( Epitaph records ) They are composed of Katie Dovak ( vocals and keyboard ), David Bello ( vocals ), Steven Buttery ( drums ), Josh Cyr (bass) and Chris Teti ( guitar ). Their music was dynamic and all original. The music was interesting, melodies were mixed with passages of pounding rhythms more like dark metal.  Vocals were provided by David Bello and Katie Dovak.  I expect the group’s intention is that Bello’s and Dovak’s voices to be complementary.  However, her voice lacked the amplification necessary to adequately mix with Bello’s. In the same vein, the second guitarist spent an inordinate period of time adjusting his guitar pedals. Despite these technical difficulties, the musicianship was apparent among the group and their music seemed determined to convey its emotional description of life and its upheavals.  The audience was responsive and appreciative.  For fans of indie/alternative music, this group’s recordings may allow discoveries not apparent in a heavily amplified club environment.   

Contact:  theworldisa@gmail.com   Theworldisabeautifulplace.com 


jb

     

Brody Price & Friends Live @ Deep Ellum Art Company 10.16.21

Brody Price at the Deep Ellum Art Company               October 19, 2021

Deep Ellum Art Company is located at the corner of Elm and Murray streets in Dallas.   It has been there for some years and is actually in the less dense area of Elm street, making parking less a problem.  It is, of course, a bar and frequently has live music, but the main presence is as a functioning art gallery, featuring local artists.  The walls are all artfully decorated, with individual murals ( especially in the outback / open-air party area ), posters, and one entire wall of the large performance room is an extensive display of artwork.  This is area is curated by local artists and all pieces are for public sale.  At present, I would estimate there are between fifty and seventy-five pieces on display and for sale.
The performance area is a large room with a full bar on the left and a nice stage opposite the front door. The sound system is adequate but not excessive. Food is not prepared in-house, but various food trucks are present for large events. The place is clean, has adequate ( and clean ) restrooms, interesting art, and a variety of live music.  I found it one of the more interesting and pleasant places to visit in Deep Ellum. 

Deep Ellum Art Company                                                   deepellumart.com
3200 Commerce                                                                   (214) 697 8086
Dallas, Texas 75226 

Brody Price and Friends 

This was the first Dallas performance for Brody Price and his band since the beginning of the COVID epidemic in 2020.  Brody is a singer/songwriter who lives in Austin. He has previous album recordings and most recently wrote part of the score for an indie movie, “The One You’re With”, directed by Chad Baily Werner due to premiere at the Austin film festival later this month.  Brody’s band members live in Dallas and Austin and the members are Marshall Pruitt ( lead guitar ), Hunter Beauchamp ( bass ), Zach Wiggs ( steel guitar ), Jake Hall ( drums ), and Kennedy  Webb (violin ). All of their music is original, mostly written by Brody.  The songs are lilting with rich lyrics. These, of course, are a good fit for Brody’s voice.   The band emphasizes lyrics and each player adding to the overall music as opposed to screeching, prolonged solos by any of the members. The melodies are dream-like laced with free-floating emotion. Brody Price and his music will appeal to your introspective side. I suspect real appreciation of his music will solidify with seeing and listening more than once. 

Booking:  brodypricemusic@gmail.com 
                  (210) 413 9929

jb


 

ROCKY ATHAS BIRTHDAY BASH

                                        ROCKY ATHAS BIRTHDAY BASH                                            

10-15-21
Rocky Athas Group
Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat
BluesChild
 

SIX SPRINGS TAVERN in Richardson, Texas

147 North Plano Rd . Richardson, Tx   (469) 9173040


We are no strangers to Six Springs Tavern, as it has been the location of prior band reviews. The Tavern is a mainstay of blues and hard rock in the North Dallas area. It is a table and chair type venue, with burgers, fries, and a full bar.   I have previously noted their impressive array of neon beer signs, the primary wall décor.  The house sound system is adequate, but not overwhelming and the performance sound level seldom exceeds 95 db. Given the evening’s lineup, I had big expectations. 


 

BluesChild


BluesChild opened the show, a trio with Hula Haze on guitar and vocals, John Hogue on bass, and drummer Jason Wisenborn.  This group played all original blues-rock material, most written by Haze.    The trio has excellent dynamics which add to the individual identity of each song. The bass and drums are well coordinated, providing a solid foundation for the vocal melody and guitar solos of Hula Haze. They play well together and their material makes this a very interesting and entertaining group.    

@texasbluechild booking (682) 706 7109
 

Jim Suhler and Monkey Beat

 
Jim Suhler is another native of Dallas whose guitar has brought him to international fame.  Best known as the touring guitarist for George Thorogood ( and the Destroyers ), Jim maintains an active schedule with his personal band, Monkey Beat composed of Carlton Powell on bass, Beau on drums, and Shawn Phares on keys.  In 2013, Jim Suhler was named 4th best guitarist ( of ten ) from Dallas.  Since that time, he has appeared with too many touring acts to mention, recorded albums with George Thorogood and others, and produced albums for a number of groups.  His set at Six Springs was all original material.  Suhler’s musical performance is a bit broader than most well-known guitarists' as his singing is very good, expressive, and dynamic.  This guy can really sing. The group’s powerful instrumentation, led by Suhler’s master guitar work and complementary vocals was a joy to watch and hear.

www.Jimsuhler.coom  booking: Jimsuhler@gmail.com   Jay@jayreil.com 

 

Rocky Athas Group


Rocky Athas has been around the world blues community for decades.  He has performed with any number of groups, both locally and in Europe, including the English God Father of blues, John Mayall.  Athas celebrated his birthday and his current band with this local performance.  The band is a four-piece and includes Rocky on guitar, Rocky Athas II on bass, Walter Watson on drums and vocals, and his son Jarrett Watson on rhythm guitar and backing vocals.  Athas’ guitar work is well known and I can add very little to that written about him over the years. He is among the technically and musically best.  There are no ragged musical edges.  The vocals of Walter and Jarrett Warren are spot on.  The best description I can give is that this band plays like a single, well-tuned instrument. 

www.rockyathas.com booking: Jay Reil & Associates , jay@jayreil.com  (847) 272 0202
 

POST SCRIPT :
Suhler and Athas on one stage , with lead in by the BluesChild Band; a night to be remembered and likely will not be repeated.  Powerful original music by accomplished and celebrated artists. A night worthy of notation in the book of Texas Rhythm and Blues.


jb

Gabe Lee and Zoe Cummins at Sundown at Granada

Our usual practice is to widely vary the venues we attend, repeating no more than every two months.  We have been at Sundown at Granada twice in the last month, but tonight was special as they were having two up-and-coming singers/songwriters from Nashville, Gabe Lee and Zoe Cummins.  At about 8 pm, the place looks about like it did one week ago.  It is now dark and the parking lot is lorded over by a valet. Once inside, the crowd is rather sparse.  The performers show up at about 8:20 and someone must have opened the door, as the place begins to fill up.  The sound guy plants me and my photographic gear in a corner about 15 feet from the stage. OK with me.  I have a tripod. I can do this.  The sound guy reminds me not to block the path to the restrooms. 


ZOE CUMMINS 


Zoe Cummins is a twenty-something lady from Elgin, Oklahoma who moved her home and ambitions to Nashville around 2014.   She is a songwriter and singer who is working hard to spread her songs nationally. She recently was featured as “New Artist of the Week” on the website Country Holler. She works with the Torrez Music organization and has recorded and published several songs, including the release of her single “Your Side of It” in June of this year.   She played a 45 minute set at the Granada this evening to an enthusiastic crowd. Her voice is remarkably strong for her petite stature. She sings her songs transmitting genuine emotion and adequately accompanies herself with a standard guitar.  Her songs reflect her thoughts on relationships, both joy, and heartbreak. Her performance is not as mature as it will undoubtedly become. She is truly up and coming and we were fortunate to see her perform at this stage in her career. 

 

GABE LEE

 
Lee was the headliner at Sundown at Granada last evening.  He is currently on a multicity tour through Texas and points east promoting his new album “Honky Tonk Hell”.  His music is soulful and reflects hard times, struggle,s and failures.    
Gabe plays keyboards and guitar and sings with a strong, authoritative voice.    His music is Americana, in ways reminiscent of the late John Prine. On stage, he is comfortable and projects his message to the audience like much older performers. To describe Gabe Lee as “up and coming” is a gross underestimation. He has arrived.  All he needs is one or two big sellers to put into the ranks of stadium performers. Music is a tricky business and I seldom make predictions.  With Gabe Lee, I’ll make an exception. He will go far. 

jb

Passing with Zeros at Sambuca360

SAMBUCA 360 at Legacy                                                  October 13, 2021


Sambuca ( restaurant ) began in Deep Ellum in 1991 , moved to McKinney Avenue in 2004 and finally to the Shops at Legacy ( Plano ) in 2018 where it remains today. It was and continues to be a rather upscale restaurant and bar with a lay out that allows patrons to in the same area as the main bar and band and dance floor,  a semi-partitioned area, with a smaller bar which offers a degree of isolation from the band.  There is a still smaller out door patio area.  The main bar is semicircular and is located in front of and below the stage area.  The décor is contemporary and very much in-line with the Shops at Legacy.  The food is modern American, featuring a brunch and dinner meus with various chicken, fish and limited beef options. The staff is well dressed, attentive and polite. 
Valet parking is available, but I note that the free, multilevel parking garage is next door. For drinks, a little food and entertainment, this is a “first date” type of place. 

Sambuca 360 7200 Bishop , # 270 Plano, TX 75024 (469) 467 3393

 

HI FI  HIGH ( aka: Passing with Zeros ) 

I went to Sambuca 360, primarily to review the band. I’d never heard of them and didn’t find much on the web. OK.  It’s a nice bar ( as above ) and it has easy parking. I got there before they started, but two chairs and two amps on stage gave me a clue that this was likely a duo. The two players ( Steven Wilson, bass, vocals & percussion ) and Ryan Singleton ( guitar and vocals ) came to the stage at 8 pm, picked up their instruments and then I picked my jaw up from the floor. 
They played a mix of original and covers, each better than the last.   Simply, these guys are terrific.  Ryan Singleton's guitar work is excellent and he can apparently sing anything.  Steve Wilson plays bass (a big old hollow-bodied electric ) , a small bass drum with foot pedal, and an electronic snare drum track.   He sings some solo, but mostly back up.   Now, this all sounds like a pair of busking teenagers.  Whoa, Nellie!   Nothing could be further from reality.  They have played together for several years and they’ve got it down.  Their songs rock as well as any five-piece group.    Most of their songs are flawless, their harmonies are perfect and their ability to make the most of their instrumentation is marvelous. These guys are in a class by themselves.  If they appear near you, drop whatever you are doing and go. I will. They told me they occasionally add two additional players ( HI-FI  High), but often just play as the duo I saw ( Passing with Zeros ) .

Hi Fi High  Face Book & Instagrm: HIGHHIGHBAND  Passing with Zeros                                         (214) 500 5565

Fusion Latina live at the House of Blues 10.7.21

The Foundation Room in the House of Blues, hosted the “Dress for Your Best “ Latino evening, featuring Fusion Latina, with Christain Valdes and friends, including Mariana Grahl and a host of talented players salsa and Latin -jazz fusion music.  By 11 pm the crowd has grown considerably with well-dressed Latin music fans.  Valdes, an adjunct professor of jazz music at UT Arlington is well known in the Latin jazz community and frequently performs with a quintet and his large band.  His piano work and arrangements are terrific.  When the band began and it was difficult not to hit the dance floor.  The music was tight and the beat was a mix of Latin jazz including salsa, rumba, and ( I thought ) an occasional hint of Afro-Cuban. Mariana Grahl and Christain Valdes sing well together, their voices strong and harmonious.  North Texas has a number of wildly popular Tejano bands, but Valdes’ form of Latin dance music is generally devoid of the Texas country western influence and is more jazz-oriented and growing in general popularity.   I like it, a lot. This music will make your mother want to dance.   Christian Valdes and his group have a fairly large internet presence and are frequent performers at clubs, festivals, and conventions. Find where these folks are playing and go. I guarantee you’ll be glad. 

Instagram @Christianvaldes


jb
 

Able Delilah live at the House of Blues 10.7.21

I was fortunate enough to be invited by one of the two bands appearing in the Foundation Room at the House of Blues ( Dallas ) on a recent Thursday night. The club is located near the old West End and parking was by valet, although a more thorough search would probably have found a public spot. The Foundation Room is located next to the main restaurant and is accessible by elevator from the ground floor.   The room is most suitable for private events and has a VIP area and an intimate feel.   It is lavishly decorated and designed for comfort with multiple leather-covered sectional sofas.    There is also a large bar with seating and well stocked with virtually any drink you might want. The lighting was subdued and the sound system was appropriate for the room size.  The staff were well dressed and attentive.    

Dallas House of Blues                                       Reservations:  houseofblues.com,opentables.com
2200 North Lamar Street 
Dallas. 75202                                                                                 (214) 978 2583 

ABLE DELILAH


Able Delilah was the first band of the evening, featuring Kane Vinson whom I previously reviewed as a soloist at Sundown at Granada in September.   Kane is a singer-guitarist with this band which is also composed Kirby Welch ( lead guitarist ), Samson Robinson ( keyboardist ), Drake Fanning (drums )Adam Albin (bass) and Zach DeFore ( sax ). This Arlington-based band performs its own combination of rock, soul, and hip hop.   Many of their songs are originals.  They effortlessly perform music that is rather complex and obviously well-rehearsed.  This is a busy group and their schedule can be found on Facebook. I expect this group to rise to the forefront of Dallas bands.  I look forward to seeing them again. 

Instagram @AbleDelilah
Phone (972) 603 8269  ( Kane Vinson )

Paul Renna at Sundown at Granada 10.6.21

We have reviewed Sundown at Granada previously and found it a nice venue in almost all aspects.   The service is great, the fare is fun-food and virtually any drink you’d like.  However, what really makes Sundown a place to regularly visit is the entertainment, which includes groups and solo acts. 

PAUL RENNA is a singer who can be seen at Sundown almost every Wednesday afternoon. In addition to Paul, he is usually accompanied by Jason Pardo (relative of Don Pardo from SNL) who is a radio host to the streaming station at www.texasselectradio.com. Pardo broadcasts Paul live from the Sundown (previous programs can be seen on the website above.) 

Paul’s original music is pure Americana (folk music, rock, and country). His voice while smooth and melodic has enough grit to make it stand out and give it character. His guitar accompaniment is tasteful and complementary to his singing.  He is high on our list of Dallas-based singers.   

The combination of a mild afternoon, Paul Renna, and Sundown at Granada is a winner.  

jb
 

Backhand Sally live at the Jaxon Beer Garden 10.2.21

The Jaxon Beer Garden is adjacent to the Jaxon Texas Kitchen, all of which is a part of the AT&T Arts Center complex and is separated from the larger plaza by guide ropes.   The area large beer garden area has tables and chairs and seating is directed by the wait staff.   It is well lighted and the extensive menu includes tacos, barbeque, and various grilled and fried foods. The drink menu is impressive for the variety of beers and mixed drinks. 
At the farthest extent of the garden area is a performance stage which is covered, but compared with other outdoor venues is rather small. The staff is pleasant and appropriately attentive. For a beer garden with a small rock band, the security presence seemed a bit excessive, to the point of not allowing photography without written permission from AT&T.  After pointing out that half of those present were using telephones to take photos, I was allowed to photograph only the band, use only a handheld camera and then only for 30 minutes. I suppose a real camera on support may expose a secret recipe. 

BACKHAND SALLY

Backhand Sally is a Texas / Nashville-based duo consisting of Ginger Grace ( singer and keyboards ) and Brock Hard ( guitar ).   They collaborate in songwriting. The duo appeared ( with a drummer and a bass player  ) on October 2, 2021, at the Jaxon Beer Garden. I was briefly in attendance and photographed them at a distance of about 50 meters. The sound system and lighting were adequate. They performed both original and cover songs.  Ginger’s voice is robust and works well with her choice of songs.  The music was well mixed and not overwhelming as is common in outdoor rock shows.   There was little or no coordinated stage activity by the band, except for Ginger’s dance moves with the music. Overall, the group was good though my experience was limited by time and distance. Playing outdoors is difficult and can be adversely affected by a number of uncontrollable factors. I think this band deserves a second look for a longer time in a better ( smaller ) venue. 

jb
 

The TWILITE LOUNGE  Comedy Night  09.29.21

 

The Twilight Lounge in Deep Ellum is a New Orleans-style club in terms of food and entertainment.  The club’s décor is a little more attractive than some of the neighboring establishments and its outback patio area is very nicely arranged and has designer lighting ( as opposed to bare bulbs on a clothesline). 
The lounge features Louisiana-type food with fish, beef, PO-boys, gumbo, and shellfish. The bar has a large variety of New Orleans type drinks.  The Twilights' entertainment schedule is varied and includes small musical groups, karaoke, single singers, and instrumentalists, and comedians. Check their FaceBook page for current listings. I went on a Wednesday evening and enjoyed three comedians who were quite entertaining. In short, a warm ambiance, great outdoor patio, authentic Cajun-style food, and varied entertainment make The Twilight Lounge a “must visit”
Spot in Deep Ellum.
       

The Twlight Lounge (Deep Ellum) 2640 Elm Street Dallas 75226  http:// thetwilightlounge.com 
       
       

Twilight Comedians: Paul Varghese, Tyson Faifer & Johnathan Jones

Though the crowd was rather thin ( Wednesday night ), the three comedians I saw at the Twilight were enthusiastic, interactive, and, above all, funny.  Varghese acted as host and each comedian’s act lasted about 20 minutes. I found Varghese the most entertaining and Jones the most animated and interactive.   However, the audience seemed to enjoy all three, and taste in comedy varies. Each act would qualify for an “R” rating for language, but I would not expect different in a bar. For a pleasant evening with no cover charge, the Twilight comedy night was a deal. 
For further information:  PDA Entertainment Group  1-(800) 956 8506 

All Tea, No Shade Drag Brunch at The FREE MAN   09.18.21

We’ve visited and reviewed the Free Man club before.   The club is known for Cajun food and good music.   On careful perusal of their calendar of events I note that each Saturday, there is listed “All tea, no shade drag brunch” from noon until 3 pm.  I read this again and realize this has nothing to do with tea or shade.  I decide this must be a drag queen show/ review or whatever.   Now let’s face it, the Free Man is modeled on New Orleans and such events are pretty common in the Big Easy.    Despite my age, I have never been to a drag queen event.     I am a rock n’ roller, lived briefly in Greenwich Village, and am therefore unconventional.  I saw and enjoyed “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.  Further, my job requires that I go to places that would mortify my mother and report on them in a fair and responsible manner.   I am not Hunter Thompson, but I decided that attending a drag show might improve my Bohemian credibility.  

The actual show began at 1 pm.  Until that time, a DJ entertains the crowd with pounding alternative music. At precisely 1 pm, the DJ introduced “Bleach”, the first of a three-person show. Bleach is about 6 feet tall and sports long, pink-streaked platinum hair and a long pink dress with side slit to mid-thigh.  Bleach delivers a monologue then summons all the newly engaged or divorced women up to the front for questions regarding their favorite Disney female character.   She then introduces the next two members of the cast, each of whom is more outlandishly dressed than the previous queen.  Each dances and dialogues with the audience and collects tips. There was a ten-minute break and each returned with a change of costume. The crowd ( mostly women ) appeared to enjoy the show and the hard R-rated banter with the queens. The Free Man is always fun and this was no exception.   Would I go again?  You bet.  I think the real value in such shows is to help each of us understand the absurdities in our own lives. 

jb

The Free Man   WWW.freemandallas.com 

2626 Commerce Street, Dallas 75226

(214) 377 9893

Frank Hasty and Da Merge live @ the Balcony Club 9.25.21

We’ve reviewed the Balcony club before ( July 2021). The club is physically a part of the old Lakewood Theatre.  The club has existed for twenty years and is widely known for jazz, blues, and eclectic musical acts. There is entertainment seven days per week.  The club was closed for almost one year due to COVID restrictions but reopened in July of this year. Some improvements have been made, but largely the club was changed very little from its prior appearance and operation. There is usually a cover charge for weekend shows. Check their website at www.balconyclub.com. for the event schedule. 1825 Abrams Road (Lakewood Shopping Center) Dallas 75214 (214) 826 8104

I dropped by the Balcony last Saturday evening in time to see Frank Hasty and the Da Merge Band.  I’ve seen this group before and they are predictably entertaining and always draw large crowds. This night was no exception.  Their music is classic funk and soul and Frank’s ability to work the audience is masterful. The place had standing room only, although almost no one sitting. Dancing is the order of the evening along with Frank and Rona’s ( niece and singer )  ability to incorporate the audience into his show.  If you have never seen this group, do so as soon as possible. You will be glad you did. 

Frank Hasty and Da Merge 
(972) 480- 2974
PO Box 1703
Desoto, Texas 75723 
 

The group consists of Frank Hasty aka "Stanky Franky" ( vocals and bandleader/cheerleader), Rona Francis (vocals ), Dwayne Hanes ( drummer ), Darius Johnson ( guitar ) Larry Davis ( piano ), and Lucios on bass. 

Wednesday Night Jam Hosted by R.C. Williams @ Three Links 9.29.21

Three links is in the heart of Deep Ellum and every Wednesday night R.C. Williams hosts a jam, featuring visiting musicians.   Like many of the clubs on Elm Street, Three Links is a single long, but narrow room with a bar on the left and the stage and staging area in the rear. There are tables and chairs, but a large space is reserved for standing or dancing.  The bar has any drink you might like and the prices are comparable to other clubs in the area.   Food is available until 8 pm.  Décor is sparse, with posters and pictures typical of clubs along the drag.   The sound system is ceiling mounted and capable of more than this room could ever need.  Recorded music plays most of the time at roughly 80-85 db, which is loud but will allow intelligible speech.  

Three Links 2704 Elm Street Dallas 75226    Threelinksdeepellum.com 

R.C. Williams' band RC & The Gritz was formed by keyboardist R.C. Williams in 2004 and currently performs as the backing band for live performances of Erykah Badu.  R.C. is also Erykah's music director and core member of her electronic production group. The band has eight permanent members and eleven more who rotate through from time to time. RC began having weekly Super Jam sessions at the now-closed Prophet Bar and currently hosts the jam every Wednesday night at Three Links. The night I saw them there were only four, including R.C. (keyboards), two drummers, and a bassist.

R.C provided minimalist keyboard backing that was simply a lead-in for the drummers to do their thing. The drummers alternated their solos or "conversations," as R.C. called them, and he would bring them back home with a refrain and then turn them loose again, to converse, again and again. Now, this evening is billed as an "open mic" jam, which can mean literally anything goes, and this was certainly the case, as the drummers alternated for 45 minutes in what would become a drum loop that became disconnected from the beat, and often descended into chaos.

After 15 minutes this disconnected conversation became less musical and more noise. R.C. attempted to bring order back to the chaos with his refrain but eventually, he had to count it out to materialize the beat. So, this drum jam showed off the drummers' skills, fast, slow, soft, loud, and everything in between, an evening of this may not be to everyone's taste. So besides our video of the evening, there is a video of R.C. and the band in a more conventional mode so you can see their musicianship. Certainly, they were appreciated by the moderate-sized crowd (not bad for a Wednesday night).  


R.C. and the Gritz record for Ropeadope  Records.  Their most recent release, however, is from Spectrasonic Records and is entitled “Live in L.A.” Given RCs' long association with Badu, and the creativity flowing from that collaboration, combined with a cast of supporting musicians, R.C. Williams's Wednesday Jam at Three Links is a must-see for music fans even when it's full of drums.  Bookings are handled by www.alliveagency.com talent agency in L.A.

R.C. and the Gritz Full Band Video

jb

SUNDOWN at GRANADA with Kane Vinson  09.24.21

 

The Granada Theatre has been a fixture on lower Greenville Avenue for almost 75 years. Until the mid 70’s it was a movie theatre, but after that new owners changed it to an event venue (special movie showing and concerts ).  
Next door to the theatre is Sundown at Granada, a relatively new restaurant, bar, with outdoor and rooftop patios and live entertainment.   The entertainment lineup can be found on their website of, in general, consists of 
bands indoors on the weekends and single entertainers in the patio areas ( weather permitting ) during the week. 
The bar area is nicely laid out with hardwood fixtures and an open adjoining dance floor and stage. There is the usual large screen TV above the stage. ( Hopefully, they turn the thing off during live performances ) . There are two outdoor areas. One in front, edging the sidewalk, and the second, located on the rooftop, which is available for private events. The selection of spirits and beer is large and the restaurant specializes in cooked to order foods including vegetarian dishes. The staff is polite prompt and attentive to details.   At least during the week, parking is not a problem. 
This is genuinely a nice place for a moderately priced evening, dinner, or afternoon drink with entertainment. 

Sundown at The Granada                                 www.sundownatgranada.com
3520 Greenville Ave                                          (214) 823 8305
Dallas, TX 75206

The afternoon I went to the Sundown, the entertainment ( 3 to 6 pm ) was Kane Vinson.   Kane is a member of the band Able Deliliah but also performs solo.  This was the case on the day I met him.  He is a twenty-something young man who plays guitar and sings original songs as well as interesting arrangements of other’s material.   He has a smooth tenor voice with excellent articulation and a better-than-average vocal range.  He is talented and if he gets the breaks, could go far.  The term “up and coming” is a good description of Kane Vinson. I hope to see him with the entire band soon.   

Kanev@gmail.com
(972) 603 8269


 

Drum Jam @ the Green Elephant 9.15.21

The Green Elephant is a rather nondescript appearing tavern on Dyer Street, a stone’s throw from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Inside the building, a disc jockey puts on a show of recorded music and lights. There is a fully stocked bar and a generous dance floor. Like many such places, there is a courtyard out back with a medium-large stage for live performances. Overall, a run-of-the-mill neighborhood bar. That is until Wednesday night. Each Wednesday night the Green Elephant transforms into a festival of incense, painting, jugglers, and a drum circle led by S-Ankh Rasa which produces continuous and hypnotic rhythms creating an ambiance that pulls me back to the late 1960s. Women dance and whirl with light fibers, painters work diligently on psych-scapes. I am told that a fire-eater is an occasional participant. ( Not back from Burning Man? ) Venders sell incense, jewelry, and CBD oil and the beat goes on. Don’t worry folks, hippies aren’t gone. They’re just all at the Green Elephant each Wednesday

The Found Band @ Sandaga 813 9.17.21

 

 

I’ve heard about Sandaga 813 for some time, particularly concerning its “off the beaten path” location and difficult to classify musical groups. After getting lost between Exposition and Second avenue twice, I spied the plain black front of the club with 813 on the door.    There was little or no foot traffic in that area of Exposition, but a parking lot next door had open spots for $5. So far, so good. The doorman seems to accept that my age is over twenty-one and lets me in. 

Cover charge, $10.  The club is dark and smells of incense.   The bartender tells me that the band starts at 10pm. I note they take reservations and tables are marked with the party’s name. They also have a dress code that requires shoes and trousers at waist level. The stage is upfront, and in the rear is a DJ in a booth spinning hardcore House music. There is also a back courtyard where smoking is allowed.

Contact: Sandaga 813 www.sandaga.com (214) 702 9945
813 Exposition Dallas, Texas 75226

The musicians began to arrive around 10 pm, but didn’t begin to play until 11pm. The group called The Found Band is composed of Chris Traylor (vocalist), Lundun Taylor (rapper), James Robinson (keyboards), Jordan Walker (syn bass), Robert Gaines (bass guitar), and Marcus Jones (drums). The group describes their music as “hypertronic” and (to me) seems a mix of hip hop, jazz, and electro-pop. Their first song lasted over 25 minutes, featuring vocals by Chris Traylor and Lundun Taylor.  The crowd, by then was about one hundred persons and was energized to dance, shout and generally participate in a way that merged the music and the dancers into a single, oddly artistic mass.   I think what I saw was a modern rave. Suffice it to say this band should be experienced to be fully appreciated.  Instagram: @thefoundbanddallas. 

jb

Live @ Amplified - 4 Bands - 9.10.21

Amplified has been in Dallas for about eight years (recently changed their name from Gas Monkey to Amplified) and during that time has served up some of the best entertainment for the dollar spent anywhere I know.  The sprawling complex is on Technology boulevard is about two miles south of Bachman Lake.   It has two stories and an attached patio dining area extending into a nearby small lake. There is an inside stage on the ground floor suitable for medium-sized crowds and ( relatively ) small performance groups.  There are full bars upstairs and downstairs and an outstanding menu and kitchen. Outside ( attached ) is a large performance area with a large dance floor and a stage that would easily accommodate a symphony orchestra and several hundred patrons.  Stage lights and sound are remotely controlled. The dance area is surrounded by a second-story balcony with tables and chairs. The large dance and performance area has ample wait staff and both drinks and food are readily available and brought to the outdoor tables.  The prices are reasonable. All areas of the club are clean, well maintained, and attractive. The Gas Monkey is open each day until midnight.   There is live music on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.   Cover charges vary with the entertainment. Security personnel are present in all areas. They are friendly and polite. The parking area is large and free.

10261 Technology Blvd, Dallas, Texas
Phone : (214) 350-1904
Menu at  www.gasmonkeybarngrill.com 


On the evening of September 10, I went to Amplified to see four bands on the large outdoor stage. Each band played a 45-minute set. 

The first was the  EMPIIRES, a four person, Dallas-based heavy rock band promoting their latest release “Through the Flames”.   The four-piece group ( guitar, Bass, Drums, and vocalist ) gave a powerful performance fueled by the animated vocals of lead singer Bishop Booker.  The performance was obviously well-rehearsed and came off without a flaw. The sound mix and lighting provided by the Gas Monkey staff contributed to the powerful effect of this band. 

The second was the BAckSLIDERS, a TOADIES  tribute group.  The band was composed of four players.  Kim Bonner was not present with the group on this occasion.    The band was fronted by Chris Bonner ( vocals and guitar ). The others were Jason Bonner on bass, Taylor Young on drums, and Nathan Adams added keyboards.    Their opening, whether by choice or accident was a song from the Muppets.  I think this was merely spontaneous as the technicians adjusted the lighting.  Regardless the crowd loved it and many sang along………”Mahan Mahan Mahan”…..etc.   When the lights came up, they pounded away at Toadies songs, and a few others, I think original.    The band was dynamic and they and the audience clearly had a good time.   Overall, a very accomplished and entertaining group.                                                                                                                                     

Next were the LULLABIES to PARALYZE  (a tribute to the Queens of the Stone Age ). Their sound is very similar to the original band. Their graphics were stunning and including flying creatures that almost appeared to come off the screen.  The band was tight and concise in their playing. Melodic, but powerful.    Their set was well organized, obviously rehearsed, and came off without a glitch.   The crowd loved this group and reacted with wild applause. 
I agree, these guys are real pros.   

The final act for the evening was the FOOL FIGHTERS, a tribute to the Nirvana spin-off, the Foo Fighters.  The Fool Fighter’s choice of songs was well planned to build the excitement of the crowd. They were tight and dynamic.   Their sound was full and rich and well-balanced. The vocals were clear and musical and complimented the pounding beat of the guitars, keyboards, and drums.    This is a band that clearly deserves to be seen and heard by anyone who enjoys 90’s music.   

Jb 
 

Live @ Six Springs - 4 Bands 9.11.21

 

Six Springs Tavern has been in west-central Richardson for several years.  It offers a venue for rock, country, blues, and metal music as well as comedians and an occasional open mic night. The club will accommodate about 300 persons. There is a moderate-sized stage facing an elevated bar across a large dining area and dance floor. Dartboards and bar-size pool tables are also available but placed as to not interfere with dining and watching the stage. There is one of the largest collections of neon beer signs I’ve ever seen. The food is the usual grill fare and reasonably priced.  The wait staff is friendly and prompt. Parking is adequate and free. A cover charge is dependent on the entertainment. 

Six Springs Tavern
147 N. Plano Road
Richardson, Texas
(469) 917 3040 


On the evening I attended the Six Springs Tavern, the entertainment was four bands, an event produced by Elmo Jones, the proclaimed King of Dallas Metal Music.  Each group played a 45-minute set. 

The first group was The GROUNDS KEEPERS, a four-piece group based in the DFW area. They perform rock alternative music with a sense of power and purpose. The group is composed of four guys.  Jacob Szurgot plays guitar and provides vocals. He shares vocals and guitar duties with Chandry Coffman. Danny Curry adds bass guitar and Derek Sanders plays drums. The players work well together and their songs catch and hold the audience. They can be contacted at (817) 504 4627 or at www.revebnation.com/thegroundskeepers. 

The second group was FADE the ACE, made up of Sam Rios (vocal and frontman ), Chad Tabler (guitar), Anthony Henderson (bass), and Jess Moran on drums.  Rios’s vocals were probably the best of the evening. He has a powerful voice with a wide vocal range. The music was well performed and complimented the vocals. Their songs were powerful, rhythmic, and appreciated by the audience. This group could go far. The group can be contacted through their Facebook page.

The third group was the NO-WHERE JETS, a four-piece ( two guitars, bass, and drums ) band.  They hit the stage running with an original song (Progre$$). They also welcomed their new drummer, Gerald Iragorri to their group. They played 45 minutes of original songs, powerful and expressive. The sound mix was better than most with a good balance between instruments and vocals. The group can be contacted on Instagram at @thenowherejets

The fourth and final group to perform was TOWERHIGH. This is Fort Worth-based alternative band, composed of five persons (four players and a lead vocalist). Their original music is strong and vocalist Scotty Kilcrease has the sort of powerful voice that defines alternative rock.  The group is animated and colorful. The other members are Bret Myers (lead and rhythm guitar), Michael Fuller (guitar), Chris Newton (Drums), and James Strickland (bass). They seem to enjoy their music as much as the audience. The group can be contacted at (817) 507 5092 or at Towerhigh.net. 


jb

R.L.'s Blues Palace #2 9.3.21

The Blues Palace Show Band featuring R.L. Griffin

R L’s Blues Palace has been described in a number of publications as the best blues club in North Texas.  I visited the Palace on a Friday evening. Various writers have noted that the club is in a poor and somewhat sketchy neighborhood in South Dallas.  Nonetheless, we had no problem finding the club, parking was free and a security guard was present at all times in the parking lot. On entering the club I came face to face to the owner and noted blues artist, R. L. Griffin.  His greeting was genuine as was that of all his staff. The club was large ( about 300 capacity ), clean with ample seating, and a large dance floor. There are no liquor sales, but bringing your own is allowed.  

When I arrived ( around 9 pm ) the crowd was a bit thin and mostly in the 30 to 50-year-old range.  The band ( seven members ) took the stage at 10:30  by which time the crowd had grown to about one hundred persons. Well rehearsed, the band played vigorous  R&B and several members were excellent singers. The crowd was responsive with thunderous applause.

At 11:30, the band introduced R. L. Griffin in a fanfare style reminiscent of James Brown.  Most of the crowd was on their feet or dancing during most of Griffin’s performance.  He sang and interacted with the crowd in the manner that originally made him a star. 

In summary, this was one of the most fun nights I have had in a long time.  If you consider yourself a fan of real Texas blues, do not hesitate, do not pass go and head directly to RL’s Blues Palace .

 

The Band:   Bass: Lee Roy Ward

                     Keyboard: Ricardo Gowan

                     Drummer: Jack Wilson 

                     Sax:  Lee Charles Mitchell

                     Sax: “Gabriel”

                     Trumpet: J. Williams 

                     Guitar “T.J.” 

                     The Vocal Star:     R.L. Griffin 

 

Location:  3100 Al Lipscomb Way, Dallas   75215

Phone for reservations:   (214) 421 9867 

Cover charge $10. Open at 7 pm on Friday, Saturday, and Sundays. 

jb

Mo Robson Band @ Mama Tried 9.4.21

Mo Robson Band @ Mama Tried 9.4.21

 

Having heard good things about the Mo Robson Band for some time, I decided to see them for myself this past Saturday night. I found the Group at “Mama Tried” in the Toyota Music Center in Irving. The club was actually smaller than I had anticipated.  There was a center square bar surrounded by tables chairs and a small stage in the front corner.    There is a smaller bar along the front of the club that has a window that opens to serve guests outside the club.  A clever convenience for those seated outside.   The club is located inside the Toyota Music Center which houses several shops, bars, and a large outdoor atrium.   A second location is in Deep Ellum at 215 Henry Street (972) 707 7213.    There was no cover charge. There were about 50 people in the club whose capacity ( I estimate ) to be about 125 persons. 

There was outside seating for about 25 persons and both men’s and women’s restrooms could be accessed without entering the club. 

Location:      340 West Las Colinas

                       Irving, Texas 75039

Contact: (469) 351 0202

Hours:  Open Tuesday through Saturday, hours vary. Closed Sundays and Mondays 

The Mo Robson Band was a trio that evening, with vocalist/guitarist Mo Robson, drummer and vocalist Spud Crowley, and guitarist Patrick McAllister.    The guitarists used amplified standard ( acoustic )  guitars and the drummer used only a snare and bass drum. No toms, no cymbals.   The use of such modest equipment was both surprising but the Honky Tonk Country music they produced was impressive.   Robson was the principal vocalist, backed up by drummer Crowley.  McAllister is an exceptionally skilled and tasteful guitarist. The music was original, tight, and very good. The group has several albums available on most streaming services. 

Contact : bookmorobson@gmail.com 

                  (972) 330- 9960

 

jb