Another Set List on the Green

I had a lot of fun last week at the Set List on the Green – downtown Dallas in Klyde Warren Park. So much fun that, braving a bit of chill, I hopped a train and headed down as the sun set.

What Set List is about is, on Thursdays at 6:30 PM they have six local musicians take the stage for a half-hour set each. What is cool is the wide variety of talent (and, frankly, wide range of talent) on display. Though, not surprisingly, the musical stylings tend toward the folk/acoustic/country/songwriter sort of thing… your really don’t know what to expect.

It makes for a nice evening. A chair or blanket on the grass, a bit of sustenance from a local gourmet food truck, a beer or glass of wine from a nearby stand, and some good local music. I am compiling quite a list of music that I like and am able to follow them around the city… find stuff I like. It’s pretty damn cool, if you ask me.

This is only the second SOG (Setlist On the Green) and it’s the last of the season. Due to the impending cold weather (yes, it does get semi-cold here in Dallas in the dead of winter) they will be on hiatus until March. I’m looking forward to it starting up again… though if they go on Thursdays, they will compete with the Patio Sessions nearby…. so little time, so many choices.

At any rate, the lineup this week:

next_week_set_list

This time, I did drag my camera along.

Arianne Gray

Arianne Gray

Tyler Lowe

Tyler Lowe

Nicholas Altobelli

Nicholas Altobelli

Claire Fowler

Claire Fowler

Carl Sullivan and the Rising Suns

Carl Sullivan and the Rising Suns

First Anniversary at Deep Ellum Brewing

A Pollinator Bock on the right, Dallas Blonde (I think) on the left.

Saturday was a very busy day – in a good way. There was a lot of stuff going on, stuff I was looking forward to, and I had to pick and choose what I could get into my schedule.

First, at 8 AM, was a bicycle swap meet up in Frisco, in the infield of the Superdrome. I’m beginning to think I might be able to keep my two ancient bicycles running a bit longer, and I could use some cheap used parts and accessories.

Then, at noon, was the 1st Anniversary Party at the Deep Ellum Brewing Company – I’ll write about that today…. Then, there was a Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, which is always fun. And then Candy and I wanted to eat dinner at a place we’ve been eying – Il Cane Rosso, also in Deep Ellum.

I’m not sure exactly when I first had a Deep Ellum Brewing Company beer – perhaps it was at The Foundry, earlier this summer, or maybe at the Gingerman, or Oddfellows in Bishop Arts. This sounds a little silly, but I had almost completely stopped drinking – I simply had lost the taste for it. But I loved the beers… all the beers, from the Deep Ellum Brewing Company and really, try to restrict my patronage to establishments that sell their stuff.

Well, it didn’t take long to find our from their website that they have Saturday beer tours at their brewery, complete with tastings, live music, and cool people. It’s one of the best times in Dallas… really.

So when I read that they were having a big blowout for their 1st anniversary of operation I bought tickets in advance online, knowing that there was going to be a big crowd. I was especially excited about a new beer they were going to debut – Pollenator Bock, with real honey in it.

So once we showed up and waited in line to get our glass and chart showing the beer offerings and tap locations I immediately went to the end of the long line to get a glass of Pollenator.

I am not a beer expert, but that stuff is about the most delicious liquid I’ve ever drank. I couldn’t help but walk around with a stupid grin as I sipped it down.

Now, it isn’t for everybody. I talked to a couple of beer fans that said it was way too sweet for them . I asked them if they were “Real IPA People” and they nodded yes. That might be why I liked it so much – it doesn’t really taste like beer. You can really taste the honey in it, it’s almost sweet. It’s very complex and not like anything I’ve ever had. That’s why I loved it so much.

It’s the sort of thing you will really like if you really like that sort of thing.

What I really like about the tours at Deep Ellum Brewing is the live music. Today they had a double bill. Up first was Cody Foote, who I had seen a couple months back in the same place.

Cody Foote

Then, the O’s came out and played the place dry. I’ve seen the O’s a couple of times – first was down in the Arts District at one of the cool Patio Sessions Concerts that I love.

One of the two O’s.

The O’s must be famous, they have their portrait on the Hall of Fame Wall. And how can you not love a band that sings a song about Tietze Park?

The place was packed – maybe a little more packed than I would have liked – but they had plenty of beer taps going and everybody was having a good time.

So congratulations to Deep Ellum Brewing Company on their first year. I hope I’m able to get a growler full of that Pollenator Bock somewhere – it’s something special. The are starting to bottle now, though I still thing a tap is the only best way to drink a beer. I’m sure there will be a second and third and more and more anniversaries for the brewery – I hope they are able to stay local, though, and stay good and true to their vision.

Otherwise I guess I’ll just have to quit drinking again.

The first Patio Session

In my neverending quest for free stuff to do I came upon an article touting this year’s Patio Sessions at Sammons Park in front of the Opera House in the Dallas Arts District. That sounded like a plan, so I rearranged some scheduling, dragged myself out of bed a little earlier so I could leave work on time, and took the DART Red Line from work downtown.

I got there in plenty of time – they weren’t even set up when I arrived. The two musical guests for this, the first Patio Session of the year were Madison King and Calhoun.

It was really nice. With the evening sun starting to set, the light in the Arts District was thick and gorgeous. The musicians played in front of the reflecting pool between the Winspear and the Wyly – which is a particularly attractive spot. The skyscrapers of downtown all glowed in the evening light like warm mountain spires and far overhead the aluminum sunscreen reached out with a welcoming last bit of shade. The crowd was light and super mellow – most people brought blankets and spread out on the patches of bright green grass around the pool. The weather, unusual for North Texas, was perfect – the killer summer heat hasn’t arrived yet.

Madison King was up first and did an excellent acoustic set. Everything was so relaxed and chilled – it was just what I wanted – a perfect escape at the end of a day.

Between the bands I wandered over to the food trucks and bought something to eat. There were plenty of tables – my only difficulty was balancing my food on the way over. Most people found their way into the roped-off area with little tables where they were selling alcohol. Even though this was outside, the sound was good and you didn’t have to scrunch up close – though you could if you wanted to. The only downside was the periodic roar of a Southwest Jet overhead and, for some reason, a couple of times the bells of the nearby Catholic Church erupted into a cacophony of clanging – which usually is cool, but clashed with the music.

I wandered back for Calhoun’s set. They were using an instrument I had never seen before – it was like an accordion in a ornate wooden box set on a stand. He would move one wall of the box back and forth and you could see the air going through little cloth valves. The box said “NAGI” on it and it didn’t take much work to find out what the instrument is. It’s a portable harmonium. These seem to be mostly used by Indian musicians, but it fit right in with what Calhoun was playing tonight. It enabled the three piece ensemble to have a deeper, more complex sound.

In their Youtube video for their SXSW showcase they look like a pop band, but again, for this setting, they went for a mellower, chilled out acoustic sound. They were very good at it and I really liked their set.

It didn’t last long – at 7:30 or so they were done. That’s nice for a work night, and I was able to catch the train before the sun set.

The Patio Sessions continue into the summer, every Thursday at 5:30. The lineup looks impressively diverse – and thankfully full of local talent – The Simon & Garfunkel tribute band looks cool, and I’m always up for a string quartet. I don’t know if it is always as relaxing and laid back – but I imagine it is. It might get more crowded as the season goes on, but there is plenty of room.

I’ll have to remember to bring a blanket next time.

Madison King at the first Patio Session

Madison King

The musicians play next to the reflecting pool in front of the Opera House

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The audience was very, very laid back.

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Tha Nagi harmonium that Calhoun used... very cool.

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