Best Bets • 02.03.12

AmmunitionFriday 02.03

Fill up on eye candy
Viva Dallas Burlesque delves into the absurd with Gadgets and Gobstoppers: The Twisted World of Wonka. Burlesque beauties go from steamy to steampunk teaming up with local band Marquis of Vaudeville. Expect a cavity as they transform the theater into a candy confection of dance and music and a whole lotta sexy.

DEETS:
Lakewood Theater
1825 Abrams Road.
8 p.m. $20.
VivaDallasBurlesque.com.

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Tuesday 02.07

Lady unplugged
Brandi Carlile must really love this town and rightfully so. She’s been here consistently the last two years and sold out the Granada Theater in 2011. She scales back a bit this time performing with an acoustic trio and likely her signature acapella tune. She’s one of the few who can pull that gimmick off with so much magic.

DEETS:
With Lucy Wainwright Roche
House of Blues
2200 N. Lamar St.
8 p.m. $27.50–$39.50.
HouseOfBlues.com.

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Tuesday 02.07

Sounds like couture
Fashioned Forward is a musical exploration into the designs behind legend Jean Paul Gaultier. Spanning from classical to pop, performers turn fashion into song with works by Gershwin to Madonna using Gaultier as inspiration.

DEETS:
Horchow Auditorium
1717 N. Harwood Road (in the DMA).
7:30 p.m. $37.
DallasMuseumOfArt.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 3, 2012.

—  Kevin Thomas

2011 Year in Review: Concerts

Minaj-89

Nicki Minaj

The ladies ran the world this year — or at least the concert stage, whether dives or arenas.

1. Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae (Verizon Theatre). These two crashed the venue with the year’s most amazing live performances. Monae, in all her spastic glory, ran across the stage and into the audience, proving why she is the next Prince. And with her futuristic-themed album Archandroid, her band was loud and live minus any apparent electronic help. Mars did the same but recalled old-school showmanship, channeling Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Smokey Robinson as he and his own band filled the place with raucous horns, slamming percussion and Mars’ charisma.

2. Nicki Minaj (American Airlines, pictured). Britney sputtered before her concert hit its stride halfway through, but Minaj brought it from the get-go. With military precision, she and her troupe marched and danced while the audience roared, spanking the American Airlines Center as if she were the headliner, making everyone in the crowd her bitch. And all were on board. Her ovation with Spears was proof that Minaj’s star has arrived.

3. Jackie Hall (Lakewood Bar & Grill). A surprise at the May edition of Twist LGBT, stepped in with local band One Night Stand to end the night with a bang. Even as the crowd dwindled, Hall went full bore, working up those left into a frenzy with powerful covers. This lady sings the blues and rock and pop, but turns them out like no other.

4. Scissor Sisters (American Airlines Center). There is no way to steal a show from Lady Gaga, but the Sisters didn’t need to, giving a workout of a show. Ridiculously pumped Jake Shears burned a million calories with his high-energy antics (and that ass-reveal, a great bonus). Ana Matronic held her own as Shears’ equal with funk and sass. True fans were breathless.

5. Brandi Carlile (Granada Theatre). Without much fanfare, Carlile and her legions of fans in the mid-sized Granada were like one entity fused together. Her fans gave her space to sing softly, to go unplugged and to simply love her. She gave it right back with both grit and tenderness that were triggering all the ladies’ pheromones.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

— R.L.               

—  Kevin Thomas

GIVEAWAY: Tix to scruffy bear rockers Hello Lover at The Prophet Bar on Friday

Bears worldwide are likely enjoying the proclivity of indie bands and their overly bearded members. It’s a whole thing. From the Avett Brothers to Bon Iver, you can’t throw a stick far enough across the music landscape nowadays without snagging a few whiskers.

But sometimes you have to separate the men from the boys, which local band Hello Lover does quite nicely — mostly with strapping daddy lead singer Rob Dunlap (guess which one he is). The Oak Cliff-based band describes themselves as “sex rock.” We’re good with that. Bears, sex and rock ‘n’ roll — isn’t that how it goes?

Thanks to the guys at the Prophet Bar, we have three pairs of tickets to give away to Friday night’s show. Email me here with “Hello Lover” in the subject line to see the scruffers up close. Hello Lover headlines with Home Wrecker, Stew, Jefferson Colby also on the bill.

—  Rich Lopez

Free Polyphonic Spree tonight at DMA

Turn this museum out

If you’ve yet to make it out to one of the Dallas Museum of Art’s Late Nights, might we suggest to do so tonight? For two reasons. Tonight is the annual Summer Block Party in the Arts District so the DMA, the Nasher and the Crow Collection are all having festivities in and out. So it’s already a bash.

Second, um, the Polyphonic Spree will be playing at the DMA’s Ross Ave. Plaza. Pretty much the only band that makes symphonic rock cool, the Dallas-based collective was formed by Tim DeLaughter, formerly of local band Tripping Daisy. With over 20 members and a section of horns, strings, percussion and pretty much everytghing else, the Spree is joyous in that hippies ’60s kinda way but still keeping a fresh approach to music. Pretty much, it’s awesomeness.

DEETS: Dallas Museum of Art, 1717 N. Harwood St. 9 p.m. $10. DM-Art.org.

—  Rich Lopez

Must see: Marina & the Diamonds, ISHI tonight at Granada Theater

Hump day dance party

We love us some Granada Theater, but even more so when they put a show like tonight’s. Billed as Girl’s Night Out, avant-popster (and cute as a button) Marina and the Diamonds (Marina Diamandis) might be one of the best acts you’ve never heard of. Before you dismiss her as the next pop star wannabe, give her debut CD The Family Jewels a special listen. Her voice isn’t your thin, overproduced product, but instead is rich and deep. Almost husky. Her videos, so far, have been these glorious visual explosions that Miss Britney should take a lesson from. Now let’s see what she can do live.

Local band ISHI is no small deal. The band has been one of Dallas’ biggest draws due to the right combination of an amazing live show and simple but nicely construction dance confections. It only gets better when they turn on the folk switch and deliver an entirely different, scaled back sound as displayed on their debut CD Through The Trees.

Dare we say it — this might even be the best thing you go to all week.

DEETS: Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave. Doors at 7 p.m. $12–$17. GranadaTheater.com

—  Rich Lopez

Voice of Pride winners Mi Diva Loca team with local band helloeARTh for YouTube covers

Mel Arizpe, right, of Mi Diva Loca just posted a video on her Facebook where she and her partner Laura Carrizales (and other half of Loca) teamed up with local band helloeARTh for a cover of Rihanna’s “Only Girl.” The band’s M.O. is to team up with local singers and rappers and perform a cover on video to post to YouTube. That’s the nutshell.

In this video, the sound’s a little rough, but MDL’s voices are a good match with the funksters playing. Initially, I thought it was a one-time thing, but then Arizpe told me they also recorded a video for a cover of Cee Lo Green’s “Fuck You.” I thought ‘Oh, shiz,’ and was quick to search for it. It’s not too bad either, although the recording pulls in more of the music than the ladies’ voices. But when they start belting it out, it’s outta control. And by that I mean pretty priceless.

Both videos are below.

—  Rich Lopez

Hear ‘Holly is a Homophobe’ live at Trees tonight

Straight local band Bible Fire hits with ‘Holly is a Homophobe’

Clearly, you should watch what you say around Rob Halstead or it could turn into a song.

When a day-job co-worker of the Bible Fire songwriter went on a hostile rant against the gays, Halston ripped her a new one by putting it to music.  The result was “Holly is a Homophobe,” a single from the local band’s new album The Pursuit of Imperfection. Unexpectedly, when the group performs, it’s one of their most requested and popular songs.

“Holly is this girl me and Grant [Scruggs, the band’s guitarist] both worked with,” Halstead says. “She’s an enigma to me because she’s so nice and caring and then prejudiced all the way around.” An example of the lyric: Holly is a homophobe / Disdainfully, she told me so / Her biggest fear is turning queer / And I just thought that everyone should know.

Read the rest of the article here.

DEETS: Trees, 2709 Elm St. Sept. 16. Doors open at 7 p.m. TreesDallas.com

—  Rich Lopez

Break it down

Straight local band Bible Fire has a hit with ‘Holly is a Homophobe’

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer lopez@dallasvoice.com

STRAIGHT NOT NARROW | The Bible Fire bassist Rob Halstead, center, wrote about a gay-hating colleague despite few ties to the gay community; the band’s drummer, Chris Isaacs, left, has many gay ties.
STRAIGHT NOT NARROW | The Bible Fire bassist Rob Halstead, center, wrote about a gay-hating colleague despite few ties to the gay community; the band’s drummer, Chris Isaacs, left, has many gay ties.

THE BIBLE FIRE
Trees, 2709 Elm St.
Sept. 16. Doors open at 7 p.m.
TreesDallas.com

Clearly, you should watch what you say around Rob Halstead or it could turn into a song.

When a day-job co-worker of the Bible Fire songwriter went on a hostile rant against the gays, Halston ripped her a new one by putting it to music.  The result was “Holly is a Homophobe,” a single from the local band’s new album The Pursuit of Imperfection. Unexpectedly, when the group performs, it’s one of their most requested and popular songs.

“Holly is this girl me and Grant [Scruggs, the band’s guitarist] both worked with,” Halstead says. “She’s an enigma to me because she’s so nice and caring and then prejudiced all the way around.” An example of the lyric: Holly is a homophobe / Disdainfully, she told me so / Her biggest fear is turning queer / And I just thought that everyone should know.

After a misunderstanding, Holly had a freak out when she thought someone called her a gay slur. According to Halstead, she went on a rant that took him and Scruggs by surprise. He can see, though, she is sort of a victim to the usual checklist of items: “Country girl from out in the boonies, a generic Texas town, religious parents, ignorant.”

It’s not hard to hate someone you’ve never met / But face to face and still you’ve no regret / Holly, there’s a reason that nobody agrees with you.

Interestingly, Halstead admits to have little exposure to gay the community beyond his wife’s brother who is out and some curious treks to Oak Lawn in his younger days. But homosexuality isn’t an issue with him per se.

“My stance is, it’s your life,” he says. “It doesn’t affect me personally, but I’m not saying I don’t care, I just can’t care if I’m not directly involved.

It’s like I feel I can’t have an opinion on abortion because it’s a woman’s issue and something only women experience and understand.”

He makes it make sense. Straight men may not relate to gay issues, but Halstead doesn’t feel that’s reason for anti-gay (or fill in the blank) rhetoric.  “I Just have problems when people or religion are hurting people or affecting rights.”

He adds, though, that his wife is a huge advocate for gay rights because of her brother and even “punched a dude in the nose,” for spouting off.

By contrast, drummer Chris Isaacs does have a strong connection to the community. The best man at his wedding was his gay best friend, and he’s lost friends to AIDS. Even without contributing to the creation of the song, it rings loudly with him.

“This runs deeper for me because my wife and I have had so many gay friends,” he says. “We really detest this kind of behavior.”

You’ve got trauma, overprotected / Odds are adding up to gay or molested / A baby raised in ignorance, passing on hatred / Rise above, write it off, recalculate it.

Perhaps Holly herself is a way-closeted lesbian, but Halstead doesn’t figure that to be the case.

“You would think, but no, I really don’t believe she’s closeted,” he says.

Congratulations we commend you / Dedicated hater’s a full time job / Now let’s all give a round of applause to Holly / Holly, take a bow.

Nor did the song really open her mind even though it rips her to shreds. Halstead’s disappointed by this. He had hopes for the tiniest seed to be planted.

“Nothing is going to change people who make up their minds,” he says. “I would like to think it changed her, but I don’t really think so. She does come to our shows, though!”

I know you were born in the middle of a former Confederate state / But your views are two decades behind the times and still running late.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 10, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

Joan Jett and Black Tie Dynasty at Que Fest Saturday night

After a dismal drive in the rain to Rowlett, the storm somehow paused for the evening’s show at Que Fest. The night was at times both cool and sticky at Robertson Park. Attendance didn’t look too high when local band Black Tie Dynasty took the stage, but increased as darkness came and Joan Jett would soon appear. More pics and notes from the show after the jump.

Black Tie Dynasty

—  Rich Lopez