For whatever reason, dubstep hasn’t taken off in Fort Worth (or Denton). Dallas is silly with the stuff, but the good ol’ Fort? Not so much.
Maybe the Stockyards are to blame. Though we all know better, a lot of North Texans still think of Fort Worth as “Cowtown,” full of big hats, big hair, and both kinds of music: country and Western. We ain’t got no int’rest in yer fancy dance music! Or maybe dubstep –– a newish, mostly instrumental electronic-based music that isn’t always danceable –– has too much cultural baggage. Maybe in a hardworking, blue-collar town like Fort Worth, glowsticks and bikinis are a little too showoffy, too glamorous, too fake-seeming.
But since dubstep can now be heard in Grammy-winning songs and McDonald’s commercials, maybe the genre, like martinis (circa 2000) and indie-rock (circa 2005), simply needs time to catch on here.
Dub Commission has been doing its part to warm Fort Worth to the sound since 2007, when the genre first became popular (and first took hold in Dallas). Co-founded by then-twentysomething Fort Worthians DragonMan, Soy Capaz, and Blackat, Dub Commission is now 10 DJs strong. Do more members mean more success? “It gives us diversity and variety, but it’s also hard to book a night with 10 people instead of a couple,” said DragonMan, a.k.a. Nate McCaskill.
The crew got its start –– where else? –– in Dallas, spinning at places like Absinthe Lounge, Green Elephant, and Afterlife. The only place in Fort Worth that’s consistently proven hospitable to the crew –– and, obviously, to dubstep in general –– is Froggy’s Boat House on White Settlement Road. Every other electro-music-friendly place in town, DragonMan said, relegates dubstep to the ghettos of weeknights. “It seems like no one wants to give [the genre] a solid chance,” he said. “It’s always hip-hop or Latin or Top 40 mixed in. [Venues] don’t want to risk their big crowds, their bread and butter, on weekends” with dubstep.
However, DragonMan sees no reason why dubstep can’t become popular here. “Enough people drive to Dallas for shows,” he said. “Maybe if there was a central spot on a consistent basis.”
Dub Commission has been quiet over the past few months but is returning now with a bang. Or is that “with a boom”? On Saturday at Froggy’s, Bikini Birthday Bash will feature national headliner Evol Intent plus DragonMan, Tony D, Britnibritnibritni, Big T, Tetris, 3D, Wickid, Experiment, Chale, Bassick, Inflatable Date, and the newest commissioner, Fracture. DragonMan expects a pretty solid turnout. “Based on a regular old Friday night [spinning at Froggy’s], we can pull 100 people on our name alone,” he said. “Hopefully, with a big headliner and six solid weeks [of promotion], we can get a good push. Sometimes we’ve had 300 to 400 people here, between inside and outside.”
Cover is $10 to 15 (half off for anyone in a bikini) and is 18 and up.
Anti-mainstreamers will be encouraged to know that Dub Commission is keeping it real. “We still try to stick to the underground side,” DragonMan said. “That’s why we’re not on the map in Dallas. They’re going the mainstream route. We’re going for the underground, where it’s more about the music and less about the show and glitter.”
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