The Top 5 Shows

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Posted June 12, 2014 by ANTHONY MARIANI in Blotch
Blending dub with psychedelia, jazz, rock, and more, Sub Oslo is a sonic experiment that dates back years but is still as fresh-sounding as ever.Blending dub with psychedelia, jazz, rock, and more, Sub Oslo is a sonic experiment that dates back years but is still as fresh-sounding as ever.

1.) There was a time (circa the early aughts) when a Sub Oslo show at the dearly departed Wreck Room was the hottest ticket in North Texas. Though the mostly Denton band (drummer Quincy Holloway resides in the Fort) hasn’t been a band per se for a while now, the guys still get together onstage occasionally and throw down their particular brand of trippy-dippy dub with rock elements. For the group’s Saturday show at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666), they will be joined by Fort Worth goth-metalists Pinkish Black and Dallas’ Diamond Age. Cover is $10.

And unlike at those Wreck Room shows of yore, smoking ganja and/or tripping balls as Sub Oslo’s ethereal grooves and psychedelic visuals unfold will not be tolerated. Probably.

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2.) Wow, these cats are still at it? Back in the ’90s, when I was living in Houston, Los Skarnales was easily my favorite local band. Combining ska with jazz and hard rock (and Spanglish lyrics), the H-town/Get-down outfit, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year (!!!), will be at Three Links (2704 Elm St., Dallas) Friday with Spies Like Us and Rude King.

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Simply put, if you can sit still during a Los Skarnales concert, you must not be breathing.

3.) Gexa Energy Pavilion (1818 1st St., Dallas, 214-421-1111) will be a little busy this weekend. Saturday sees Jack FM’s Throwback Festival with a bunch of tribute outfits, including Back in Black, Fan Halen, and Caress of Steel (yes!), and on Sunday, it’s the Vans Warped Tour with dozens of mostly pop-punk bands. Some of the headliners are Falling in Reverse, Parkway Drive, The Ghost Inside, For Today, and The Story So Far, a 7-year-old pop-punk band from California that’s also a little melodic metalcore and grungy and more than half-decent.

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4.) Here’s another blast from the Houston past. Bayou City rockabilly/dancehall champ Jesse Dayton will open for punk living legend John Doe tonight (Thursday) at The Kessler Theater (1230 W. Davis St., Dallas, 214-272-8346), another venue that’ll be hopping all weekend long –– on Friday, L.A./Fort Worth “divorce pop” stylist Son of Stan and Dallas’ Crushed Stars will take the stage, and on Saturday, maybe the greatest rock band everyone outside of Texas has never heard of, Denton/Austin’s Centro-matic, will be preceded by Pleasant Grove and Cliffs of Insanity.

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5.) Well, whaddaya know. It’s another tie, a three-way one! (Shut up.)

5A.) Seeing as the Weekly is the producer, I’d be remiss in not pointing you toward Friday on the Green: Mills & Co., Kevin Aldridge & The Appraisers, and headliners Jetta in the Ghost Tree, the newish vehicle of former Flickerstick frontman Brandin Lea, who’s now clean and sober and back to his old regal self –– “regal” because he’s still one of the best singer-songwriters in not just North Texas but all of Texas.

As a fan, I still find myself wondering what might have been. Lea and company had just signed to Epic Records and were about to play a label showcase in New York City when the first plane hit the North Tower. One microscopic casualty of 9/11, relatively speaking, was the beginning of the end of major labels’ stranglehold on rock music. Good, as we now see, for millions of underground bands. Not so good for Flickerstick and other ex-underground dwellers that had just been granted access to the super-exclusive club that was mainstream rockdom. Among many other, much more important joys, you can bet that had 9/11 not happened, “Coke” and “Beautiful” (and also probably “Girls & Pills” and “Helicopter”) would have been international hits.

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But Lea has persevered and is now thriving. Jetta is currently recording its debut album with producer Taylor Tatsch (The Orbans, Shadows of Jets) at Tatsch’s newish Colleyville studio, AudioStyles.

The music gets going at Magnolia Green Park (1100 Lipscomb St., the Near Southside) at 7 p.m. No cover.

5B.) Speaking of what might have been, I sure wish Fort Worth native Shea Seger would have stayed in North Texas instead of relocating to England, where she and 10-year-old daughter Luna Rose have been living for the past few years –– and also where Seger got her major-label start in 2000. Why? Relative newcomer Van Darien is, basically, Shea Seger Lite, and I mean that in a good way. The nom de musique of Weatherford singer-songwriter Vanessa Bussey, Van Darien might not have Seger’s powerful, earth-scorching, gritty vocals or propensity for literary, evocative lyrics but is still all heart and soul. Van Darien’s debut EP, Silent Sparrow –– produced by Beau Bedford (Larry g(EE), Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, The Orbans’ Peter Black) –– is six mostly proto-bluesy tracks about heartbreak, loss, and being rudely woken up from the American Dream (think: Quaker City Night Hawks fronted by Sarah Jaffe), with collaborative input from Steven Cooper, multiple Music Awards nominee Joey Green, former Music Awards darling Maren Morris (before she decamped for Nashville), and The Roomsounds’ Ryan Michael.

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Van Darien will celebrate the release of Silent Sparrow Friday with The O’s at Magnolia Motor Lounge (3005 Morton St., 817-332-3344) and Saturday at Double Wide (3510 Commerce St., Dallas, 214-887-6510).

5C.) After Friday on the Green, slink on over a few blocks to The Where House (2510 Hemphill St.), where a couple super-cool Fort Worth acts –– the bruising and arty Vicious Firs and the C&W-influenced Patriot –– will open for Austin’s power-pop-rocking Leopold & His Fiction, who are no strangers to the Fort, having played the Where bunches of times over the past few years. Good stuff. The music gets going at 10 p.m. Cover is $10.

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