The Saturday before St Patrick’s Day is the one day every year when Dallas seems almost a little bit like Mardi Gras in New Orleans. A little. People start setting up their party base camps in parking lots for the big parade real early. Kegs, beer bongs, makeshift bars set up on portable tables, lots of people wearing lots of crazy green shit and even lots of dogs wearing crazy green shit. By the time the floats start rolling down Greenville Avenue at 11:00 AM sharp the general ambiance is pretty much mass public intoxication. And crazy shit. And of course I mean that in the best possible way.
After the parade is the big concert in a big fenced in parking lot and this year it featured some of the best of Dallas’ alt-country-roots rock scene. The O’s, The Drams, Eleven Hundred Springs and The Old 97s.
The crowd was kind of thin but you could no doubt chalk that up to the weather- it was cold, windy and the cloud cover was threatening drenching rain at any moment. Still, for the faithful that did show up, it was as fine a day of music as a drunken partier decked out in a spray painted fake beard, 2 lbs of beads and a big green hat could hope for. And I saw more than a few of those.
We arrived shortly after The O’s started their set. The O’s are Taylor Young on guitar and John Pedigo on guitar and banjo. They’re probably the best new band in these parts despite their just being two guys. They write great songs and play them very nicely- you can check out a few of them on their MySpace page. They also managed to play the very best song of the day-a cover of The Pogues’ "Body Of An American." It was the perfect song for the occasion and they nailed it.
The crowd had grown some by the time Slacker Country favorites The Drams kicked things off with a fine cover of Neil Young’s "Come On baby Let’s Go Downtown."
They played their best stuff from Jubilee Dive and a few new songs like "Man Of Note" and "Doesn’t Bother Me." They also did The Jayhawks’ "Real Light" and Chad Stockslager’s "Homemade Biscuits" and got a pretty good call and response from the crowd on that one.
Eleven Hundred Springs sounded as good or better than ever. They’re always in their element at these things as much as in a loud bar. I missed a good deal of their set but what I saw killed.
Matt Hillyer’s got to have the coolest guitars around.
By the time the Old 97s came on there was a pretty respectable sized and largely inebriated crowd. They opened with "Won’t Go Home No More" and pretty much covered their entire span- from "Doreen" to "Dance With Me." They came out for an encore of Jimmy Dale Gilmore’s "Dallas" and closed with a stomping "Timebomb."
After that of course it was time to hit the bars. Weren’t The King Bucks playing at The Dubliner or something?
Thanks to Michelle for the pics!