As you may (or may not) have noticed, Will Rogers Memorial Center Auditorium is on its way to becoming a bona fide rock venue, kind of like our very own Gypsy Tea Room, in Dallas, minus the gross floors and stinky bathrooms.
Marquee hipster bands slated to perform at the Will over the next several weeks include The All-American Rejects, Barenaked Ladies, Drums and Tuba, The Damnwells, and Primus. Along with the Fort Worth Convention Center, the Will belongs to the City of Fort Worth and has hosted big rock acts in the past, such as Beck, Morrissey, and The Flaming Lips, but never on such a consistent basis. The force behind the surge in cool, young bands is AEG. A multi-national entertainment company that owns and operates different-sized venues in St. Louis, Nashville, New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Houston, Columbia, S.C., and Dallas, AEG also puts on big productions across the country at other companies’ facilities.
“We normally don’t pursue business. They come to us,” said Will Rogers spokesperson Marsha Anderson. “We’re excited to host all of the concerts. It brings a different level of energy here.” Response from fans and performers, Anderson said, has been good. For a venue whose name is not in any local hipster’s lexicon, that the Will is getting national bands – and not just any national bands, but decidedly cool ones – is a coup of sorts. A possible explanation: The Will offers some things that other Metroplex venues don’t or can’t. For one, the house is not too big, not too small, seating 5,000, much more than the Gypsy but not nearly as much as Nokia Theatre, in Grand Prairie. Second, the building isn’t in the middle of a bustling entertainment district, which pleases the performers – their crews can easily load up and load out. Last, the auditorium seating is comfortable, and the sight lines are great. Also, unlike at, say, the Bass Performance Hall during shows, concertgoers at the Will can bring alcohol into the house. Anderson said whether the good gigs at the Will will continue is up to AEG, a strong presence in Dallas but not here so much. Yet. Visit www.fortworthgov.org/publicevents.
… The busiest heavy label in North Texas, Fort Worth-based Dada Drumming, has just dropped a new 7-inch by Cowtown metal-heads Four Days to Burn and is finishing up an eponymous 7-inch from another local group, The Great Tyrant. Possible release date is December. Recent DD recordings include a full-length from defunct Jerusalem-based sludge rockers Rabies Caste, a Church of Misery/Sourvein split-7-inch, and a split-c.d. from Black Leather Jesus and The Incapacitants. The label isn’t afraid of experimental metal, but a majority of the sounds are extremely heavy, muddy, and methodical. It’s kind of stoner-rock but more focused on musicianship than on the poses. However you describe it, it’s uniformly exceptional. Visit DadaDrumming.org, MySpace.com/fourdaystoburn, MySpace.com/thegreattyrant.
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