Menu | Rating System | Guest Book | Archived Reviews:
A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

  THE DEATHRAY DAVIES w/ Legendary Crystal Chandelier and Pointy Shoe Factory  
  The Curtain Club  
  Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX  
Reviewed by:
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:

There’s a shelf life to concert reviews, really -- if they aren’t written up in a few days, many details and notes can be lost. That’s never good if you’re a reviewer like me who tends to procrastinate for weeks on end. This time, I’ve really stretched the limits of my memory and organizational skills because it’s been a month since I saw this show. Usually, I would just give up the ghost and never write the review, but I flew all the way to Dallas, TX to catch these bands… well, that’s a stretch: I was visiting family over the holidays. But, anyhoo, since we Minions rarely catch shows in the Southwest, it seems worthwhile to charge ahead, with sincere apologies for my brevity and Swiss cheese memory.

I arrived at The Curtain Club a little anxious and out of sorts since it was an unfamiliar venue and I was alone in Deep Ellum, one of the edgier parts of Dallas where one block separates a small “strip” of bars and shops from the southside hood. The door to The Curtain Club is also hidden on a rather shady side street, which made me a bit uncomfortable. When I entered, I was relieved to find that the bar had an atmosphere like many Atlanta clubs: dark curtains, big stage, minimal seating, and a nice sound booth in the back. Interestingly, the ceiling is two stories high with a balcony area overlooking the main floor, giving The Curtain Club a theatre-like image. And, I was pleased to find that unlike many Atlanta bars, this venue actually made an effort to start the show on time -- at 10:00, not 11:00 or so -- and people were actually already there! I suspect that the rather restrictive blue laws in Dallas may force bars to close at a reasonable hour, especially on a Thursday night such as this.

The most amenable aspect of The Curtain Club, though, was not its fixtures or promptness or equipment; it was, in fact, the knowledgeable and friendly bartender who became my musical guide for the evening. He not only supplied me with background information on the evening’s bands, but he also suggested a list of other quality local Dallas acts. I only wish I could remember his name so that I could thank him in this review.

But, I digress. Back to the music: because the show actually started on time, I was startled to arrive at 10:15 and see that the first band was already playing. They are Pointy Shoe Factory, a large ensemble (at least five members that I can remember) including a male/female duo of singers. From everything I’ve read online since the show, Pointy Shoe Factory are, or at least were, a sort of experimental industrial Goth band that probably wouldn’t sit well with an indie-guitar rocker like myself. But, the band I heard on this night has much more in common with Superchunk than Front 242. Either their sound has evolved (they have undergone line-up changes in the last year or so), or I heard a different band with the exact same name, or I was on serious hallucinogens that night. Certainly, Pointy Shoe Factory has a sort of experimental tinge; like some Atlanta bands, they feature an unusual mix of instruments including guitar, keyboard, and violin. But most impressive were the vocalists, both of whom seemed to be trained for musical theatre; their voices were beautifully harmonized, melodic, and sweetly in tune, something you rarely see at a rock show. Like similar Atlanta bands, Point Shoe Factory’s sound is difficult to describe. I would say its indie rock meets Phantom of the Opera. I was impressed with their technical musicality as well, especially given the seeming young age of several bad members, and I was truly moved by their indie rock cover of You Should be Dancing (by The Bee Gees). As their set ended, I thought, “Hey, any band brave enough to do a cheesy cover of that magnitude is worth checking out again.”

The biggest flaw of the show was unfortunately the sound; often, the bass was too loud, creating underlying buzz in the side speaker by which I stood. This problem continued throughout the second act, Legendary Crystal Chandelier. They are a four-piece fronted by long-time Dallas musician, Peter Schmidt, whose sound alternated between a sort of Western-Goth a la Atlanta’s Myssouri, some straight-up bangle rock, a whole lot of U2, and a hint of Wall of Voodoo (but slowed down a notch or two). In keeping with this sort of 80’s music theme, the lead vocals reminded me a bit of Nick Lowe crossed with Jim Reid (Jesus and Mary Chain). The guitar work was quite nice and varied in style, including a few shoe-gazeresque pedal-heavy moments (Texas rock seems to foster a lot of that). Thankfully, there were not too many of those long laborious cords to turn off this rather skeptical fan of such music. And, that sound was tempered by an interesting hint of The Edge’s echo-y guitar style, creating a unique Western 80’s rock mix.

Of the three bands this evening, Legendary Crystal Chandelier stood out as the most experienced and sophisticated songwriters and musicians, which is surprising because I had actually ventured down to Deep Ellum to see the headliner, The Deathray Davies, who I have seen and enjoyed several times in Atlanta. This night, they were the clear “hometown favorites,” chatting amiably with the large enthusiastic crowd who bopped along to their jangle pop sound. The Davies played a fun, lively set, probably the longest and most energetic I’ve seen by them. It was a solid show, but given the strength of the first two acts, the late hour, and the disappearance of my concert notes, I must admit that I remember little of it. I will say, though, that they wrapped up a great holiday package of Texas rock.

Related Links:

None available.


Return to the top of this page. | Return to the Concert Review menu.