Feature

FWN News! World Premiere / William Trouble / Done It Again by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

 Photo by Beatriz Zamora 

Photo by Beatriz Zamora 

Cleburne native Markus Midkiff has music running through him like electric current. His third rail was powered by years wearing his fingers down while wrapped around his cello. We are proud to to debut his new single, Done It Again, featuring the alluring photography of Beatriz Zamora. 

Midkiff's alter ego, William Trouble, came to life with the help of his Roland Juno-106, an analog synth manufactured between 1984 and 1991, used by pop luminaries such as Dave Stewart of Eurythmics and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. The middle 80s sonic palette is utilized with emotive perfection on this lovesick mid-tempo crusher, just as it was on his previous single, the pulsing driver, Runaway. 

These William Trouble tunes are produced alongside JD Tiner, who also partnered with Midkiff behind the board on a pair of Joe Gorgeous burners including How Bruce Lee Died. In fact, after a European walkabout, Midkiff convinced Gorman to move to Nashville with him, "we loaded up his car in Ft Worth and he moved up. We had some wild years. 

The first time I saw Midkiff perform with Kopecky Family Band, he moved with outstanding alacrity from one instrument to the next. Shortly thereafter, when I asked him to play his cello inside Richard Serra's 67-foot steel sculpture, Vortex, at The Modern, he kindly obliged on a hot Monday afternoon. 

William Trouble makes his Fort Worth debut at MASS on December 14th on a scorching lineup with Joe Gorgeous, Jake Paleschic and Sur Duda, the solo project from Cameron Smith of War Party. Facebook event link: https://www.facebook.com/events/130145624350236/. 

Honky Tonk Country Club Now Seeking Members by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

 Art by Jackdaw folk art

Art by Jackdaw folk art

It does not require an ethnomusicologist to understand what is known as “Country Music” rarely resembles what it once was. There are populations who have turned away from a genre that seems to have fragmented into product placement and recycled hip-hop and arena rock techniques. Whether it be the high and lonesome sound of train songs, or the beautiful melancholy of a pedal steel crying with heartbreak, from Western Swing to the revolt of Outlaw Country, a long period of musical output ties us to a time before the omnipotent information age. When culture was still passed by hand and many of the best writers in America wrote songs in Nashville.

Back in March, singer L Denison, Andrew Skates and Austin Jenkins, of Niles City Sound were all discussing a potential group of great local players to bring those songs to life. When I caught them up at Lola’s recently, L explained, “Austin, Skates and I have been talking about putting something like this together for a while, we knew we wanted to get Summer involved but weren’t sure of other players.” Once Skates saw Summer Dean perform, something clicked for the skillful multi-instrumentalist. Something about her voice and presence was key for him to see what Honky Tonk Country Club could become. And from what I’ve seen, I’m inclined to agree, especially after hearing her take on Waylon Jennings’, “Waymore Blues,” accentuating the tune’s understated soul. Dean has a knack for finding a song’s bones.

Once the band started to fall into place, they found a good fit with Lola’s and the Country Club took to the metaphorical lonesome highway with regular Thursday nights. Adding Beau Brauer on drums, L explains how he brought a fresh perspective, “Beau didn’t really have honky-tonk experience, but he has jumped into it by doing a great deal of research. I mean down to every element of the sound, he even figured out which sticks work best.” Rounding out an unbelievable rhythm section they have local songmaster Jake Paleschic, who played bass in the brilliantly short-lived Longshots, and also adds the third lead vocal on the stage alongside L Denison and Summer Dean. If you’re lucky, he might sing you something by Roger Miller.

For L Denison, the group offered an opportunity to cut her teeth singing lead alongside a terribly experienced group of folks. She also figured it was as good a time as any to begin learning to play guitar, “I mean who’ll notice if I miss a chord, it feels safer with the group. But, I really feel lucky ‘cause they’ve all been doing it longer. If you want to get good at something, I’ve always thought you should do it with folks who are better than you.” Similarly, the band allows Andrew Skates to work on playing lead guitar because he plays bass on his adventures as an internationally touring musician with Leon Bridges. Skates, who has also performed with Quaker City Night Hawks is an incredibly tasteful player, who can sit back or straight up burn. He’s easy to talk to and the joy music brings him is obvious.

Whether Bob Wills, Faron Young, or Connie Smith, you can see the influences of each player by what songs they bring to the table as L explains, “When we have time to rehearse, we each bring a couple of songs in we’d like to try.” As most of the group are more accustomed to rock and roll, Outlaw Country or 80s and 90s tunes are more straightforward, but she adds, “Those Western Swing tunes require a more precise sense of time, it is a nice challenge to have, because the rhythm section is what makes people dance and that’s what we really want to see.”

Through Denton’s Raised Right Men, Summer Dean first met pedal steel player Chris Schlotzhauer on a lineup opening for The Derailers at The Live Oak. Elevating their sound even further, Chris has recently joined the Country Club. When I asked him about the group, he was quick to explain how important he thought it was,  “Too many of the older players stick to themselves and don’t get out and hear what’s going on in their own town. Honky Tonk Country Club looks forward to welcoming special guests to the stage as they have with glorious accordion player Abel Casillas from Squeezebox Bandits. Five years ago, I tried for a few months to get a Doug Sahm Hoot Night going somewhere in Fort Worth, but I was never able to get traction. As I was getting ready to leave the bar, Honky Tonk Country Club caught fire with the classic Freddy Fender tune, “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights,” which was eventually recorded alongside Doug Sahm for Sir Douglas Quintet. These are the sounds and songs that live inside us and there will always be a call for us to hear them played with care and energy.  

Come check them out this Sunday, November 12, from 3-7p, at Shipping & Receiving at 201 S. Calhoun as they join the festivities for the monthly Second Sundays event alongside Chicken Shit Bingo. https://www.facebook.com/events/1901429106841124/

Drummer's Circle: Valenti "Funk" Thomas Talks Solo Record, His Love For Drums & Piano by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

We here at FWN are honored to have Valenti "Funk" Thomas join us today.

One of the Metroplex's most talented drummers (The Effinays, Ronnie Heart) slides into a pair of composer/producer shoes for his newly remastered LP Valenti, due out June 7th via Thomas' own record label Clear Zebra.

You can pre-order your copy of Valenti today on Amazon.

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 Image courtesy of Valenti - Photo Credit: Dennis Webb Jr. 

Image courtesy of Valenti - Photo Credit: Dennis Webb Jr. 

1.      Okay, first off, how in the world do you manage to pull off keys and drums simultaneously? I’m barely capable of halfway yelling backup vocals while drumming much less what you’re able to achieve on your new record Valenti. Is it just a matter of practice, or, without giving away secrets of the trade, what techniques have you developed to make this possible?

V: I grew up playing drums first and then picked up the piano thanks to there being an upright piano at my grandmother’s house.  When I play just they keys, I find myself playing all the bass notes/lines with my left hand and playing chords with my right hand.  When I play them both simultaneously, I have the keyboard set up to my right and play chords and solos which leaves my left hand free for hi-hat and snare work.  I enjoy doing them both at the same time, and it’s a neat party trick (lol).  On my album, I tracked drums, keys and bass guitar (and some rhythm guitar on “More Light”) separately and save the simultaneous drumming and keyboard playing for live shows.

2.    Do you play drums barefoot or with shoes on? If with shoes, what are your "go-to" drumming shoes brand-wise or genre-wise (skate shoes, combat boots, flip-flops, etc.)  

V: That all depends on which band I have a show with.  When I’m playing with The Effinays, I like to wear my Pumas (any one of my many pairs, they all feel like comfy ankle socks).  When I’m jamming with Ronnie Heart, I’m usually suited up and wearing some nice, comfortable dress shoes.    

3.    Double kick pedal ever or nah? 

V: I’m a fan of the single kick pedal.  BUT, I do love seeing a drummer who is very skilled at the double kick/bass perform.

4.      I’ve seen you do your thing as part of The Effinays, how long have you been doing that? I ask because I actually played on a bill with The Effinays back around ’09 in Denton when Bowling For Soup’s Chris Burney was hosting a fucked up version of American Idol. I can’t remember if you were part of the lineup at the time but y’all def. won that competition!

V: Ah neat!  That may have been right before I came aboard.  I joined the band roughly around 2010.  I initially came on as a fill in drummer and that transitioned to a permanent role.  I knew of The Effinays and had numerous conversations with the bass player, Pan Blanco (we use to chat about UFO’s and religion a lot…true story lol) before I joined the band.  I was in a band called People’s Army during The Effinays early years and it seemed that we were always doing shows together.

5.      Speaking of The Effinays, in the advance copy of Valenti we spotted Joe “Big Spook” Martinez in the album credits. How was that experience different for both of you in terms of the songwriting/recording process? What I mean to say is, was it different from producing Effinay songs given this is your personal project or was the process familiar given your strong rapport with Martinez?  

V: Both songs featuring Big Spook (Joe Martinez) are definitely “Effinays material”.  The process was pretty much the same.  Big Spook usually writes the lyrics while the band comes up with the music portion of a song.  I wrote the lyrics for “More Light”, while the “Party Fiesta” lyrics were written by him.  Fun Fact: Joe came to the studio with his composition book ready to record the lyrics he had written for “Party Fiesta”.  They were good lyrics, BUT not what I was looking for or what I was accustomed to coming from him.  With that being said, I then asked him to freestyle the whole thing. And BOOM!  There you have what you hear on “Party Fiesta”.

 Album Cover Art for  Valenti  courtesy of Valenti - Art By: iamshaun.com

Album Cover Art for Valenti courtesy of Valenti - Art By: iamshaun.com

6.    Favorite brand of drumsticks? 

V: I always enjoy a nice, fresh pair of Vic Firth’s, Peter Erskine’s (ball).

7.      On the album I love that right out of the gate you pay homage to your hometown by titling the lead track “Irving/Bear Creek, Texas.” I grew up a hop & skip away in Euless, so I know the area well. How has growing up there influenced your music today?

V: Being raised in Irving/Bear Creek, TX didn’t really influence me musically, but since day one, the community and my former classmates (LOVE you guys!) have always been a big supporter of me and my musical endeavors.  So, every chance I get, I want to mention Irving and/or Bear Creek, TX as a “thank you” for all of their support.

8.    List your three favorite drummers (not necessarily which ones you think are the best, but the ones you like the most, that have influenced your music the most).

V: I grew up listening to Dave Weckl and Dennis Chambers.  I then got off into some John Blackwell (Prince).  There are also several great Dallas drummers that make me want to go home and practice as soon as I get done listening to them.

9.      How old were you when you first started playing music? Did you start on drums or perhaps another instrument? Drums still #1 in your heart or have keys and other elements crept up your rankings?     

V: I was around five when I started to play drums alongside my mother whom was the church pianist.  The drums will always be my 1st love, and then I would put piano at #2 and then bass guitar at #3.  Production and making beats would be a close #1.25 to the drums.  My love for music was before then though.  I can’t remember the exact age, but I recall when I was real young (car seat age), a day when I didn’t want to leave the car until the song I was listening to was done.  If my memory serves me correctly, I vaguely remember that song being either “Good Times Bad Times” – Led Zeppelin or “Heavy” – The Beatles.  I sometimes get mistaken for an athlete, but I’ve always been a self-proclaimed band nerd and enjoy all things music (art related).

10.    Are you one of those drummers that never have a drum key handy or one of those kind that have like three of them on your keychain? Somewhere in-between?

V: In my younger years, I’ll admit I was that under prepared drummer who maybe had a drum key with him.  Now that I’m (supposedly lol) older and wiser, I tend to think like a boy scout and make sure that I’m prepared for any musical situation or equipment mishap.

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about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”

 

Lock Your Doors, Here Cometh Brainhole Fest by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

 Brainhole Fest show poster - Image via Brainhole Fest FB Event Page

Brainhole Fest show poster - Image via Brainhole Fest FB Event Page

As we here at FWN shift gears from Fortress Festival back to the local scene we cherish so, let's turn our attention to this weekend and the awesomeness that is Brainhole Fest.

Seriously, this is likely the largest collection of local talent ever assembled in one place. Sammy Kidd, he of local rock squad Mean Motor Scooter, stands as the guilty party responsible for all this fun.

The Fest starts this Friday at Lola's where it runs throughout the entire weekend.

$30 buys you a three-day pass at the door, or single-day tix can be purchased online right here. Full event details can be found here

This past December something caught my eye as I cruised along my FB feed... 

I have always been a fan of Mean Motor Scooter, so anything in their orbit and you can go ahead and consider me interested.

A couple of months went by and I had nearly forgotten about Brainhole Fest. Then this status bomb hit with a headline that read "3 Days. 30 Bands."

OMGeez folks, this Kidd don't play! 30 bands?!!? 

For those that know me, I did my fair share of booking back in the day, so believe me when I say that coordinating an event of this magnitude is quite the undertaking. Big-time kudos to Kidd and co. for pulling it off.

 Pick up your 3-day pass when doors open Friday night at Lola's - Photo via Brainhole Fest FB Event Page

Pick up your 3-day pass when doors open Friday night at Lola's - Photo via Brainhole Fest FB Event Page

Brainhole Fest is an extension of Brainhole Tapes, a new record label recently started by Kidd. If you scope out their page you'll find this excerpt from their bio:

"Brainhole Tapes was founded by Sammy Kidd to establish a way for DFW artists to get their music heard."

At FWN we can completely relate to Kidd's intentions for the new label. We started this website to create another outlet for Fort Worth bands to be heard... period.

We are not paid for this, we do not write advertorials. Not familiar with advertorials you say?  

Now that you know the definition, maybe you will even be able to spot them out in the wild! 

Anywho, getting back on track here; we wanted to honor Kidd's cause at Brainhole Tapes by embedding a song from every single Brainhole Fest artist. This was the most direct approach we could think up to further Kidd's efforts + get you hype for the weekend's festivities.

Before we get to that, we'd like to give one final shout out to Kidd and everyone that's helped make this event happen.  

Enough of the chit-chattin' ... 

FWN Proudly Presents: The Brainhole Fest lineup in audio format !!!

Day 1 - Friday, May 5th

Jeremiah Jackson - 5pm

Signals and Alibis - 6pm

Better Now - 7pm

Hen and the Cocks - 8pm

Kyoto Lo-Fi -9pm

Bellringer - 10pm

The Sex RYNOS - 11pm

The Phantom Sensation - Midnight

Day 2 - Saturday, May 6th

Chillamundo (newly formed band, tunes coming out soon) - 2pm

Caliche Burnout - 3pm

The Confounded - 4pm

House Fire Syndrome - 5pm

The Infamists - 6pm

Dead Words - 7pm

Blands - 8pm

Telemegasounds - 9pm

Dead Mockingbirds - 10pm

I Happy Am - 11pm

Henry the Archer - Midnight

Day 3 - Sunday, May 7th

The Prof. Fuzz 63 - 2pm

Satellite Dream - 3pm

The Fibs - 4pm

Teenage Sexx - 5pm

VVOES - 6pm 

Dome Dwellers - 7pm

Picnic Lightning - 8pm

Loafers - 9pm

Sealion - 10pm

War Party - 11pm

Mean Motor Scooter - Midnight

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about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”

Holding Down The Fort(ress Festival) by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

 Fortress Festival-goers on The Modern lawn  - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Fortress Festival-goers on The Modern lawn  - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

The inaugural Fortress Festival has come to an end but on Saturday afternoon our "battle" had only just begun.

Here's a look back at FWN's Fortress Festival experience. 

Day 1

The Nissan kicked over (barely) and as I left the house my 4yr old fixed his death stare on me until I turned the corner.

He had good reason to be pissed.

I had been out of town for work the week prior and now that I had returned home here I was the next day leaving again, this time for a weekend stay-cation in the Fort Worth Cultural District.  

I picked up my colleague Daniel Daniel and we made our way towards the unknown (which is exactly what an inaugural music festival is btw.. the unknown). 

First stop? The Modern, to claim our media wristbands. We had arrived rather early and at the time, zero was the amount of minutes that line gave (did I do that right?? idk, just read it back again, still confused af).

However ... by 4pm ... that changed ...

 Wristband pick up at The Modern - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Wristband pick up at The Modern - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Despite the line, the few festival-goers I spoke with said it moved quickly. Additionally, wristbands had been made available for pickup since April 25th. 

So far, so good. 

From there we went to park and found a Farrington Field lot to be ideal. $10 to park and worth every penny. I've parked much much further away at other festivals for much much more money.  

Back at The Modern, Daniel Daniel and I took in the museum as we waited for the doors to open (free admission for festival attendees). DD got locked in on this super rad Katherine Bernhardt painting.   

 Daniel Daniel at The Modern - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Daniel Daniel at The Modern - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

The festival opened with Sam Lao on The Modern floating stage. Despite just opening the doors, a decent crowd filled the lawn, head bobbing to Lao's beats. 

 Sam Lao on The Modern floating stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Sam Lao on The Modern floating stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

From there we thought we'd give "the walk" a try. "The walk" being the walk between The Modern stage and the Will Rogers stage. 

At first it took a bit of doing to navigate the walk. The fine folks at Fortress Festival provided maps and on-site signage but many of us on that first walk between stages had a hard time determining the critical path.  

After completing it once however, everyone we had spoken with seemed to have it dialed in.

And look, it wasn't all that far either. I heard some complaints, but in my view you're either grasping for something to complain about or you simply haven't attended that many music festivals.

Like, have y'all ever attended a fest at Zilker in ATX? Or any of the major fests in California? That's a lot of walking. 

Plus, I mean, you kind of cruised along this scenic path that weaved behind the Kimbell Art Museum.

I know they had plans to make the stages closer together, but I still considered this a win, especially for a first time fest. 

 The path between the two stages - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

The path between the two stages - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

See! We caught Lao AND still made it in time for Blue, The Misfit.

Throughout the weekend it worked out this way for other instances of artist overlap between the two stages. We did not see every band at Fortress Festival but we could have made it happen if we were so inclined.   

 Blue, The Misfit. doin' Blue, The Misfit. things on the Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Blue, The Misfit. doin' Blue, The Misfit. things on the Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Next up we decided to stroll down vendor lane and scope the festival's wares. 

Pan Ector Industries carried a couple different limited Fortress Festival t-shirt designs. Choose the design, the t-shirt style and your favorite color, and voila!  

 Pan Ector Industries printin' it up - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Pan Ector Industries printin' it up - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Next up was Mama P's Wholesome Grinding Co. There we met "Papa Grind" Marc Wein and crew.

Marc knew more about pipes than Mario Bros. ya dig? Seriously, this guy was a savant.

If you are ever in the market, be sure to check them out on location at their Spicewood Smoke Shoppe or peruse their vast online store

 "Papa Grind" Marc Wein droppin' knowledge bombs - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson 

"Papa Grind" Marc Wein droppin' knowledge bombs - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson 

The guys from Windfall Clothing had a tv with Super Smash Bros. cued up (needless to say the Smash Bros. piqued our interest). Their designs were better than the Smash Bros., and coming from me, that says A LOT about their craftsmenship.

 Windfall reeled us in with Super Smash Bros. - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Windfall reeled us in with Super Smash Bros. - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Last but not least on vendor row we just HAD to take a FWN family portrait on-board the Folsom Photo Bus.

The guys that operated the photo bus set it up proper and left us with perhaps our favorite memento from this past weekend's festivities.

Highly recommend checking Folsom out on Facebook or IG

After all that walking and talking we decided we better cool down with a Juiceland treat. 

I like juice and smoothies as much as the next guy but it's not something I'm passionate about or anything.

But if you don't mind, allow me a moment to clearly express my feelings regarding these tasty juice-a-licious concoctions: 

YUMMMYYY! YUMMMYYY! YUMMMYYY! 

[one more time for posterity]

YUMMMYYY!

These tasted so good I asked a friend of ours to give them the pro treatment!

Look, I'm somewhat decent with a camera, but these juicy delights deserved better than "somewhat decent." They deserved a professional.

Feast your eyes Fort Worthians!

 Juiceland yum-yums - Photo Credit: Annie Nelson 

Juiceland yum-yums - Photo Credit: Annie Nelson 

The rest of the day we stuck to the Will Rogers stage where we took in Houndmouth, Flying Lotus and Run The Jewels back-to-back-to-back. 

 Houndmouth under the neon on Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Houndmouth under the neon on Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Flying Lotus followed by Run The Jewels made for what in my estimation was the best three consecutive hours of the weekend.

Flylo's beats and synced up visual showcase hypnotized everyone around me in the swelling main stage crowd. 

RTJ dominated the Will Rogers crowd right after, performing all their hits with an infectious stage presence that's helped made them so popular. 

Here's a peek but be sure to peep our full RTJ photo gallery here

 RTJ slayin' the Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

RTJ slayin' the Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Did some work on the desktop when I arrived home then finally dozed off around 2AM when I came to this realization: "Holy cows and calves, there's a Day 2!!"

Day 2

Day 2 carried with it a different objective entirely for me. The sun was out and my camera was out; today's focus was on the bands and taking photos of their performances. 

We parked in the same lot, paid the same $10 and didn't look back.

Between the two of us we've seen Topic like a hundred times so given the imbalance of our time split between the two stages on Day 1 we decided to camp out at The Modern stage for Sudie, followed by Golden Dawn Arkestra.

 Sudie doin' work - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Sudie doin' work - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

 Golden Dawn Arkestra danced under the sun at The Modern - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Golden Dawn Arkestra danced under the sun at The Modern - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

After soaking up some rays, we made our way back to Will Rogers in time to catch local good ol' boys Quaker City Night Hawks.

The guys looked good on the big stage; of course it's nothing new for them but after only catching them live at a local venues, this made for my first time seeing them at a major festival on a stage this big.

They crushed it.   

 QCNH shook the Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

QCNH shook the Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats followed up Quaker City Night Hawks on the Will Rogers stage and lemme tell ya, the ironic juxtaposition of these two bands on the schedule was not lost on me...

Night Hawks or Night Sweats?? Why not both?! A night hawk with night sweats if you will. Sold!   

Dad jokes aside, NRATNS grooved up that stage like somebody's business!

For more NRATNS photos, check the link I mentioned earlier.

We acquired more tasty treats from Juiceland then quickly cut back to The Modern to snap a few pics of Alvvays before hustling back to the ol' Willy Rogers stage as to ensure our attendance for Slowdive. 

 Alvvays treading water on the Modern stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Alvvays treading water on the Modern stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

En route to Will Rogers we bumped into Robby and Jen Rux from Dreamy Life; they had come to catch Slowdive's set. We decided to join forces and together we took in one of the best performances of the weekend.

What was it like you ask? I can't describe it.

Okay, okay. I'll try (kind of)...

Slowdive played Slowdive songs, and the band Slowdive writes really really good songs. The insane stage visuals enhanced what was already destined to be an awesome performance.

Complete Slowdive photo gallery over at the before-mentioned and ever-lingering photo jump.

 Slowdive nearly shoe-gazed us to death from the Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Slowdive nearly shoe-gazed us to death from the Will Rogers stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

In making my way back in time for Peter Hook & The Light at The Modern, I once again demonstrated that talk of "the walk" had been overblown. 

ICYMI: FWN'er, Flashbulb'er and all-around badass good dude Lyle Brooks interviewed Peter Hook for Fort Worth Noise back in early April. At one point in the interview Hook relayed to Brooks that they'd be playing Joy Division and New Order songs as part of their Fortress Festival performance.  

I was thinking back to the interview when on cue Hook announced their next song as "Ceremony," a Joy Division fave. The audience let out a collective audible sigh of "HOLY SHIT! DID HE JUST SAY 'CEREMONY??'"

I think this was my favorite moment of Hook's set, that moment the fans realized they'd be getting some Joy Division and New Order action tonight.

Full Peter Hook gallery over at this relentless stalker-esque link!

Purity Ring is amazing and all but tbh I enjoyed the entirety of Peter Hook's set then parked myself in The Modern lobby until Daniel Daniel met up with me again.

I was weeding out photos from my digi camera viewer when I looked up to see DD with a Fortress Festival-sized smile on his face. It was time to call it a weekend.

Looking Ahead

Fortress Festival ruled y'all, it's that simple.

And while I may have added the qualifier earlier that this indeed was the inaugural year of the fest, it didn't feel that way at all.

From the magnitude of the acts booked to the fun and friendly vendors, to the visual aesthetics and overall aptitude of the festival's organizers, Fortress Festival felt like a surly veteran of the festival game.  

Certainly lessons can always be learned and any good fest organizer must always be looking for ways to improve year-over-year; that said, Fortress Festival proved to be a fort worth fighting for.

Until next year Fort Worthians, 

Xoxo,

FWN

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about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”

Five Fortress Festival Photo Galleries by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

 RTJ bringing down the house - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

RTJ bringing down the house - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Fortress Festival Brings "Wow" Factor to Fort Worth

The inaugural Fortress Festival turned out to be as visually-pleasing as it was musically-pleasing.

Between the psychedelic visuals of the Will Rogers stage and The Modern stage's unique floating platform, our collective eyeballs experienced one heck of a weekend!  

Speaking of, we hope you enjoyed (er, survived) our live social media updates throughout the weekend!

FWN had two orangutans embedded at Fortress Festival to keep you posted on all the action in real-time (geez, you're welcome! orangutans are very expensive to feed ya know).

We'll have a wrap up feature posted soon as well.. there are lots of stories to tell :) 

In the meantime, kickback, relax and soak it up Fort Worth; you deserve it!  

All photos by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Run The Jewels 

 Run The Jewels dominated the inaugural Fortress Festival - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Run The Jewels dominated the inaugural Fortress Festival - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Peter Hook & The Light 

 Peter Hook & The Light lit up The Modern stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Peter Hook & The Light lit up The Modern stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Slowdive 

 Slowdive shoe-gazed Fort Worth w/ a breathtaking performance - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Slowdive shoe-gazed Fort Worth w/ a breathtaking performance - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Golden Dawn Arkestra 

 GDA danced under the Sun on The Modern stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

GDA danced under the Sun on The Modern stage - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats 

 NRATNS grooved up Fort Worth - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

NRATNS grooved up Fort Worth - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

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about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”

Fortress Festival Survival Guide: Come With Us If You Want To Live by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

 Image courtesy of Fortress Festival

Image courtesy of Fortress Festival

HAPPY FORTRESS FESTIVAL WEEK!

Pardon our celebratory ALL CAPS intro but we are super-hyped about Fortress Festival this weekend!

And while being super-hyped is all well and good, super-hyped does not equate to being super-prepared.

But don't worry y'all, we got you.

Hellbent on producing the most epic music festival survival guide ever, the crew and I locked ourselves away in the FWN lab* for over two weeks!

Unfortunately for you, this is not the most epic music festival guide ever; this is just a tribute. Hat tip to Tenacious D for the zinger!

DISCLAIMER: So it didn't take two weeks and this "lab" looks more like my Mom's basement. However.. we had nothing to live on save for warm champagne and canned ham; sacrifices people, sacrifices. Like seriously, two of our interns died making the following guide, so we really really really hope you enjoy it! Truly! 

Wait. What's that? You still don't have tickets? No prob, limited tix still available right here!

Enough of all that, let's get to the guide!

LINEUP/SET TIMES

 Image courtesy Fortress Festival -  Hey you. Yes, you! This is your cue to save this image to your smart phone

Image courtesy Fortress Festival - Hey you. Yes, you! This is your cue to save this image to your smart phone

This lineup is crazy good. I mean...

Run The Jewels in the 817? Are you kidding me???

Peter freakin' Hook, he of Joy Division & New Order???

Slowdive touring in support of a new record due out May 5th?

Purity RingStranger Things composers S U R V I V E?

Add in all the stellar local talent set to perform this weekend in the Ft. Worth Cultural District and holy Toledo Batman, we got ourselves a music festival!

ICYMI Episode IV: We recently featured a music video from every single Fortress Festival performer.

Here's a opportunity to familiarize yourself with the lineup in music video format:

Music Videos for Every Fortress Festival Performer Pt. I 

Music Videos for Every Fortress Festival Performer Pt. II

ICYMI Episode V: Check out our Fortress Festival artist interviews !!

1. Peter Hook

2. Sudie

3. Ronnie Heart

SUPER BONUS: Gee, idk, Fortress Festival curated this killer Spotify playlist!

TRANSPORTATION 

 Image via Fortress Festival Facebook page -  Catch a ride to Fortress Festival on bus.com

Image via Fortress Festival Facebook page - Catch a ride to Fortress Festival on bus.com

There are several paths that lead to Fortress Festival and while you must forge your own, here are a few suggestions:

1. Hitchhike - Ok, so we don't really recommend this because I'm 99.999% sure doing so exposes us to some sort of liability; but ya know, it's technically an option.  

2. A bike - Seriously, tons of great biking trails link up with the festival's grounds. Peep the Trinity Trails website here. Or check out Funky Town Pedicab if you'd rather pay someone else to do the pedaling.

MEGA BONUS ALERT: You don't even need to own a bike when you got the City of Fort Worth's B Cycle ride share program

3. A bus - Fortress Festival and Bus.com teamed up to provide festival goers with very reasonably priced options starting at $12. Why drive and play the parking game? 

4. A car - Pretty self-explanatory. A friend's, your own, your dad's, steal one (Wait, don't do that! See above-referenced mention of liability!!!), there's a Lyft station on-site, or perhaps save on gas via an irl Fred Flintstone car.    

5. Teleport - For superheroes only or idk, maybe that Sir Capt. Hot Topic Criss Angel dude.

FESTIVAL MAP

 Image courtesy of Fortress Festival  - Cue #2: Save this image to your smart phone!

Image courtesy of Fortress Festival - Cue #2: Save this image to your smart phone!

OMGee! This is the best looking map since The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past on SNES!

The beer mug icon immediately caught my attention. Hmm, not sure why???

Anywho, I'm personally going to hit up the merch booth and that Indigo Yoga space on the lawn near the Modern pond.

Food. Food. So much..............food! Yummyyyyy foooood!!! Don't worry, we get to the food vendors a little further down.

The positioning of the stages closed it down for me. Look at that Modern stage placement! Look at that Will Rogers open space!

Get stoked y'all!

Get STOKEDQQKCDDECDQEDQED!!!

 SNES Zelda Map -  Me: You think they hold music festivals in Hyrule? You: I wish

SNES Zelda Map - Me: You think they hold music festivals in Hyrule? You: I wish

VENDORS

 Image courtesy of Fortress Festival 

Image courtesy of Fortress Festival 

ATTN All Foodies - You'll be glad to hear that in addition to curating this amazing lineup of artists, the Fort Fest folks did some mighty impressive work with their food roster too.

Salsa Limón is a Fort Worth institution. Period. Nothing else to say here. 

Get your Medi food on with Shawarma Point or if you're like me, you'll be eyeballing dumplings from Cannon Chinese Kitchen

Immediately upon devouring said dumplings, you'll find me making a bee line to cool down with a couple Alchemy Pops.

*Cold Brew Coffee & Cream pop over here please!*   

But hold on a sec, check out the non-food vendors scheduled to be on-site.

The Daniel Daniel and I will be covering the event so I'm thinking we'll finally get our FWN family portrait taken in the Folsom Photo Bus.

Probably pick up some prints from Garageland or make some of our own at Pan Ector!  

While we're at it, gonna stop by Mama P's to pick up a new "tobacco pipe" for my uncle Jay .. snoogens.

 Show Poster courtesy of Fortress Festival

Show Poster courtesy of Fortress Festival

LAST BUT NOT LEAST: HAVE FUN!

To be honest, you don't need this guide. You'll have fun no matter how you slice it.

But if our guide did indeed prove useful to you, it's comforting to know our interns did not die in vain:)

Stay hydrated y'all, look out for each other, and most importantly, have fun Fort Worthians!

Regretfully yours,

Xoxo,

FWN

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about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”

Gentle Reminder Letter: Record Store Day In The Fort by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

 Image via RecordStoreDay.com's Press Release

Image via RecordStoreDay.com's Press Release

Dearest Fort Worthians,

We are writing you today as to remind all thee great citizens of our mighty metropolis(?) that there will be much party to be had this Saturday, April 22nd.

Mucho mucho party.  

Ya see, this Saturday is Record Store Day. According to the official Record Store Day website, 2017 marks the 10yr anniversary of Record Store Day.

In fact, RSD has grown so much since its inception, there are now stores from every continent participating (except Antarctica, 'cause penguins).

Enough with the history lesson, let's move on to the party(ies).

All of Saturday's events are free to attend and all feature insanely stacked lineups. 

Besides that, all these events take place during the day which means they provide one and all with a legitimate excuse to day drink!

Last but not least, it is imperative we citizens support our local record stores. They are the lifeblood of our scene. If anything, this Saturday represents a great opportunity to celebrate our record stores and their contribution to our community.

Now that we've performed our civic duty, time to let these parties speak for themselves. For more details, click the images below to link up with each event's Facebook page.

Regretfully yours, 

XoXo,

FWN

Doc's Records feat. Movie The Band, Steve Gnash, High Art, Heater, Beach Priest, Starbass 

 Image via Doc's Records Facebook Page

Image via Doc's Records Facebook Page

Dreamy Life Records feat. Acid Carousel, Sealion, Son of Stan, Sub Sahara, War Party, Teenage Sexx, Loafers

 Image via Dreamy Life Records Facebook Page

Image via Dreamy Life Records Facebook Page

Chief Records feat. Audry Oliver, Jason Eady, Tommy Hooker, Joe Savage, Holland K. Smith, Jackie Darlene, Michael Lee

 Image via Chief Records Facebook Page

Image via Chief Records Facebook Page

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about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), Prairie Schooner (University of Nebraska Press) and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”

Fortress Festival Interview - Peter Hook by Lyle Brooks

Today we are extremely honored to have Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order, Peter Hook & The Light) talk to us about his experience playing synths, his favorite places to visit on tour, and BONUS ALERT: we got the scoop on what to expect from his upcoming Fortress Festival performance!

We'd also like to welcome Lyle Brooks, who sometimes exists as The Flashbulb (IG:@flashbulbtx) to the FWN family. Tho his vision comes and goes, we are pleased to report his ears are in working order

For tix and more info on Fortress Festival, click here.

UPDATE (05/01/2017): FWN captured live performance photos of Peter Hook & The Light's mystifying Fortress Festival performance! Scroll to the end of the interview to view the gallery. Enjoy! 

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 Image via Peter Hook & The Light Facebook Page - Courtesy James Masters

Image via Peter Hook & The Light Facebook Page - Courtesy James Masters

1. Speaking from personal experience, your bass work was a major influence on many adolescents who obtained bass guitars. Repeating tracks, I'd hope to glean an invisible force beneath the bass lines. What were the sounds you sought when you set out playing? 

Well at first I didn't really have a plan & did not really set out to do anything - I didn't even know what a bass guitar was! But we worked very hard to master our instruments and I eventually began to develop a way of playing that I felt was a bit more interesting than what I'd heard from other bass players. I really liked to play high up the neck which was quite novel & Ian Curtis in particular encouraged me to keep doing that. It became my calling card so to speak - I found certain guitars and certain pedals that allowed me to further develop that sound and I have stuck with them ever since.

2. What were your first experiences with synths? How would you say the instrument most impacted music making for you? 

It took a while to get to grips with them to be honest - especially when compared to Bernard and Steve who were a lot more technologically minded than I was - I was the guy who just wanted to rock out on the guitars all the time! But eventually I got my head around it all and was able to contribute plenty of ideas on synths and sequencers as well as on the bass. It all had a big impact on our music as you can tell when you listen to early New Order tracks when compared to tracks from 10 or 15 years later.

3. So great to hear these songs again with fresh life behind them, was there much fuss from the die-hard loyalists about The Light's versions?

It was weird because a lot of the criticism which we received was before we even started playing - people were saying that I shouldn't be doing it & that it wasn't right without the others. But then when we started playing and people could see that we did a good job and showed the songs the care and respect that they deserved, it all got a lot easier. And now after 7 years of touring with The Light I would like to think that everyone knows how good a job we do and we have been very successful all around the world.

4. How has the experience been like working with the Classical Hacienda project? 

It's been a very difficult thing to put together just because it's very hard to achieve that perfect marriage between dance music and classical music. It's also very hard from an organisational standpoint simply because there are so many people involved - 70 in the orchestra and what feels like 70 more on the crew. But it has been a great experience to see how all those people work, the musicians are amazing, and it's been a very rewarding one because all of the shows so far have been great.

5. Any new cities you've discovered on this tour? Favorite spots to return? 

I'm always excited to still be visiting new places - it's amazing to go somewhere new after 40 years of touring as a musician. A couple of years ago we made it to Mongolia to play at a festival which was amazing, a great experience. And it was with the Light that I also made it to other places for the first time too - Israel, Russia, Chile, China... It has been great to take the music all around the world again. I am always keen to return everywhere!

6. Can fans expect performances from any particular records or will you survey both New Order and Joy Division? Does a version of "Tokyo Joe" ever make its way into a set list? 

Well at the moment at headline shows on this tour we are playing both Substance albums by Joy Division & New Order in full, it's almost a 3 hour show! But at the festival in Fort Worth we have just been asked to play a bit of everything, from both bands, which to be honest is probably better to do at a festival. We'll be playing all the hits! As for Tokyo Joe no we have never played that one but who knows! It's a killer bassline...

7. Five years on, how has the Music Industry Management & Promotion Programme at Central Lancashire fared? Brilliant Idea, I'm curious if other you've seen other institutions developing similar concentrations? 

I'm very proud of the programme and was delighted to be asked to become involved. The staff at the University and Tony Rigg in particular have done a fantastic job. The students enjoy the course and it gives them hands on experience in the music industry which is great. The numbers of people enrolling in the course keeps increasing every year which is a great credit.

 Fortress Festival is right around the corner!!

Fortress Festival is right around the corner!!

UPDATE (5/1/2017): Fort Worth Noise's Prewitt Scott-Jackson snapped some photos of Peter Hook & The Light's Fortress Festival performance! (click thumbnail to enlarge)

 Peter Hook & The Light perform at Fortress Festival - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Peter Hook & The Light perform at Fortress Festival - Photo Credit: Prewitt Scott-Jackson

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about the word writer person:

Lyle Brooks sometimes exists as The Flashbulb (IG:@flashbulbtx). Among a plethora of other cool things & happenings, Lyle has fetched water for John Cale, made copies for Morton Subotnick and once lit Jim Jarmusch's cigarette out in front of a Merzbow show. He has eaten Mexican food with Fungi Girls and Italian food with Yells at Eels and documented them both. Tho his vision comes and goes, we are pleased to report his ears are in working order

 

The Most Kick Ass Rock ‘n’ Roll Band In All The Realms by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

...In the middle-Oughts, local Fort Worth band Fucked Up Birthmark took the world by storm, seemingly overnight. And while their ascent is often overly-romanticized by local music media types, the true story of Fucked Up Birthmark is much less romantic.

Right out of a college I was freelance writing for anyone that would have me. One day I responded to a Craigslist ad in which an obscure local band ultimately hired me as their personal biographer. Not sure why. They were good, don't get me wrong, it's just, why a local band needed a biographer was beyond me.

Anyhow, today.. today I will tell you the true story of Fucked Up Birthmark. I know the real story. I know it, because I was there.

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 "Tartini's Dream," by Louis-Leopold Boilly 

"Tartini's Dream," by Louis-Leopold Boilly 

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Lead Singer pouts, “We’re stuck, we’re headin’ nowhere except Nowhere Town. Damn, guess that makes me the Mayor of Nowhere Town?! And you fucks? Well, you’re like the City Council members or something.”

Lead Guitarist argues with Lead Singer; personality-wise, he’s Lead Singer-lite: “Then do something about it! And hey, don’t disrespect the office; I’m the Comptroller of Nowhere Town.”

Bassist does not care, he stares at his shoes.

Drummer quietly chimes in, “I have an idea.”

 

[Nobody listens to the drummer]

[Arguing]

[#AllTheArguing]

 

Drummer finally screams out above the noise:

“WE STAGE A SATANIC RITUAL IN THE WOODS NEAR THE PARK IN WHICH WE SELL OUR SOULS TO SATAN FOR ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.

WE HAVE ANONYMOUS CALLER DIAL THE POLICE AND REPORT A DISTURBANCE SO THAT WE ARE ARRESTED.

THAT SAME ANONYMOUS CALLER PLACES CALLS TO LOCAL MEDIA OUTLETS SHORTLY THEREAFTER.

SAID LOCAL OUTLET PUBLISHES ARTICLE THAT GOES VIRAL WITH HEADLINE THAT READS: LOCAL BAND LITERALLY SOLD THEIR SOULS TO SATAN FOR ROCK ‘N’ ROLL.

WE BECOME THE MOST BADASS BAND ON THE PLANET RECEIVING INSTA-FAME AND MILLIONS OF SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS.”

 

[Silence]

[Extended silence]

[Awkwardly long hella extended silence]

 

Lead Singer becomes the first lead singer in music history to endorse somebody else’s idea, “DUDE! That is the best fucking idea I have ever heard of!”

Preparations are made. Drummer (of course) performs all the research necessary to make the ritual viable, to preserve the alibi. They choose a place just outside the park’s boundaries and decide that midnight reasons to be the most optimal time. 

 

Midnight arrives.

The band dons traditional Satanist robes that Drummer procured from Etsy user SatanicClothing.

Black candles are lit. Silver chalice filled with wine.

Drummer begins by invoking the Four Crowned Princes of Hell. Next he recites the following invocation to Satan himself:

“In the name of Satan, Almighty and Impenetrable, Ruler of the Earth, I invite the Forces of Darkness to bestow their scorching power upon us and transform us into the most kick ass rock ‘n’ roll band in all the realms. Open the Gates of Hell, come forth and greet us as your brothers.”

 

Meanwhile, the band’s merch dude had placed anonymous calls to both the police and the media.

The bandmates each take a drink from the hoary chalice. In unison, they chant, “HAIL SATAN!”

 

Numerous flashlight beams pierce through the trees. The leaves crackle beneath black combat boots as the police cite the entire band for trespassing.

A single iPhone flashlight soon follows. The leaves crackle beneath a pair of worn out Tevas as a college newspaper reporter interviews the entire band.

 

The next day the article hits and as predicted, it goes viral. I’m talking like Zika and Ebola fajita meat wrapped up in a The Plague tortilla kind of viral.

At band practice later that evening Lead Singer celebrates, “Can you believe it fellas? We did it! Mostly I did it, but we fucking did it guys! We’re famous!”

Lead Guitarist only slightly disagrees with Lead Singer, “Well actually, the drummer did it, but yes, we are famous as fuck!”

Bassist still does not care; he stares at the Pabst Blue Ribbon-stained rug.

Drummer however, he looks concerned … tremendously concerned.

 

Lead Singer is put upon at the sight of this particular #drummerface, “What’s up with you bro? You did it! We are the number one trending topic on Twitter. We sold over 300,000 records in one day! What gives?”

“We’re going to Hell.”

“What? We’re Nones, you don’t seriously believe that shit?”

“It worked.”

“Yea, I know it worked. That’s what we’re saying!”

“No, YOU listen to what I’M saying. My research, it was TOO good. The ritual, it really worked.”

“What? I don’t understand.”

“Earlier today I jammed on my electro kit, ya know, just messin’ with the usual warm up stuff for practice. Then, like a flash, I started pulling off all kinds of gnar gnar hand-foot combos and blast beats … WITH dynamics!”

“Say that again but this time in English not dork-a-tron drummer-speak.”

“Fuck it, just listen. Hey Bassist, play that crazy bridge section from track 3.”

Bassist not only crushes that crazy bridge section from track 3, he marches straight passed it moving seamlessly into a 5-minute long bass solo surpassing JPJ-level bass playing brilliance.

 

[Silence]

[Extended silence]

[Awkwardly long hella extended silence]

 

Lead singer gravely concedes, “We’re going to Hell dudes. We’re going to Hell."

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about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), Prairie Schooner (University of Nebraska Press) and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”

A Walk in The Wastes with Vault Dweller by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

“Jesus Christ Parker!”

Shannon Paine-Jesam, drummer for Dallas’ experimental grindcore band Vault Dweller, broke away from his slice of pizza just in time.

His warning proved enough as Vault Dweller’s guitarist Parker Turney laid waste to the ambushing pack of zombie-like ghouls with a few well-placed assault rifle bursts.

No worries y’all, this ain’t the apocalypse (yet).

This is Fort Worth Noise playing Fallout 4 with every member of Vault Dweller.

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 Members of Vault Dweller Playing Fallout 4 (Pictured from left to right, Emma Lylte, Todd Thompson, Shannon Paine-Jesam, and Parker Turney)  - Photo by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

Members of Vault Dweller Playing Fallout 4 (Pictured from left to right, Emma Lylte, Todd Thompson, Shannon Paine-Jesam, and Parker Turney)  - Photo by Prewitt Scott-Jackson

The Lead-Up

For those unfamiliar, Fallout deals in dystopia. It's set in a desolate post-apocalyptic environment. And while we don't currently find ourselves living thru the apocalypse, these are rather dystopic times.

This Saturday, March 4th, Vault Dweller fights back the baddies by performing at Three Links for a 1919 Hemphill benefit concert.

iill, Obstruction, and TBA round out the bill (btw, TBA is an actual band in this instance, a rad one from Fort Worth at that). Please click here for full event details. 

1919 Hemphill is a sacred temple of a DIY safe space that has found itself recently under attack by neo-Nazi fuck sticks on 4Chan. 

In short, after the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire, Nazi trolls on 4Chan produced a list of DIY safe spaces across the country propagating a directive for their Nazi brethren to call upon authorities to inspect said safe spaces in their local area.

Fort Worth authorities shortly thereafter received several complaints from this army of pathetic Pepe memes, forcing their hand to move on 1919 for code violations.

What these low life shits didn't count on was the strong support of the Fort Worth and greater D/FW music and arts communities coming out in full force against them, swiftly raising over $10k to help 1919 get the property on Hemphill up to code. 

However, there's more work that needs done and thusly more money that needs to be raised. Saturday's event at Three Links furthers this fundraising effort.

 Gig Poster for Saturday Night's Benefit Concert - Image via 1919 Hemphill Facebook

Gig Poster for Saturday Night's Benefit Concert - Image via 1919 Hemphill Facebook

Besides diving into Vault Dweller's involvement with 1919 fundraising efforts, I semi-mapped out Fallout/music parallels that required exploration.

Generally-speaking, RPGs - not just Fallout - pair well with musicians. It’s just a fact. 

The non-linear nature of an RPG like Fallout provides creative space for gamers to play in. Like a practice space for bands, anything can happen in a sandbox game. It’s your world to forge, not the other way around.

Now then, time for the real reason this all came together: I am a Fallout nerd-supreme. This fact was beyond confirmed by the end of the gaming session. 

As a teenager, besides playing music, video games provided me an escape. I always held a preference for RPGs but in 1997 an IT guy working on my step-dad's computer asked if I had played Fallout yet.

That guy, some random IT guy from Bedford, TX, changed my life. I have played and enjoyed every game in the series since. Nowadays it's the only game I play (besides a few sports games while drinking with friends). Other games are just that, they are meaningless to me.  

Given all of the above, I finally worked up a message to the band to see if they'd be down to walk the wastes with me. Emma Lytle, the band's vocalist and foremost Fallout gamer, worked out the logistics and we aimed to meet up Monday, Feb. 6th.

This gaming sesh was on!

---

 Vault Dweller Live at Spinster Records - Image via Vault Dweller's Facebook Page

Vault Dweller Live at Spinster Records - Image via Vault Dweller's Facebook Page

I drove out to the 214 and pulled up to the address given to me but somehow I managed to knock on the back door instead of the front. I’m a lot like Dogmeat in the sense that I am somewhat of a lost puppy. 

I waited.

Then I waited some more.

5 minutes later, standing on the doorstep with my PS4 in hand, I started to get the sense a pack of feral ghouls could be ambushing my ass soon.

Instead, Emma rescued me from the porch and led me to Fallout playing, music writing bliss.

Once inside I struggled with powering up the PS4. My baby doesn’t travel often, took a little while to get its sea legs I suppose.

In the meantime I acquainted myself with the band.

Bassist Todd Thompson joined the other three band members on the couch along with Emma’s boyfriend Eddie and their two cats, Charlie and Zoey.

Charlie was active and friendly; he immediately swooped in for a petting, giving me a shot of confidence that I’d get the Playstation working soon.

That “confidence” was short lived however as Zoey, resting high above in her sleepy perch, shot me a disinterested cat look that said, “Meh. Who the hell is this loser??”   

The PS4 finally fired up after a lot of finagling with the wires and the controller. 

In my best Dirk voice I thought to myself, "Take that with you Zoey!" 

With the PS4 humming along, it was time to get down to business.

As is the case on any Fallout campaign, in spite of my cursive-walking thru life, I did have a few objectives that clearly needed to be met.

For this story, those objectives went something like this:

1.      Interview the band, particularly about the 1919 benefit show.  

2.      Have each band member create their own vault dweller using Fallout 4’s character generator.

3.      Play lots of Fallout!

---

Interview

I handed the controller to Parker and pressed record on my iPhone voice memos utility.

I asked how long they had been together. 

Everyone paused until Shannon said, “It’s been since January of last year.”

They all seemed a little shocked it had been a year already. 

Emma playfully chimed in, “Happy Anniversary guys!” 

This interaction encapsulates the vibe of the band. Contrary to the grave tones found in their music, everyone in the band is super laid back. I'd pay good money to watch the comedic banter Shannon and Parker displayed throughout the night.

I asked Shannon, "How do you play drums that fast?"

He replied, "The boring answer is time and practice."

To which Parker challenged, "What's the dank answer???"

After some shared laughter among the group, Shannon conceded and gave us the dank answer: "Being so furious at your instrument ... just destroying the circles around you."

His answer segued nicely into my next question...

"Like a tasty sesh of Fallout, do you find playing music provides an escape from the insanity? And also, at the same time, perhaps it doubles as your way of fighting back?"

Parker humored me, "I can see the parallel. It being a release, like blowing up enemies or making a lot of loud noise (with music)." 

Shannon seconded, "I did break my snare head at our first show."

"In general, I find musicians prefer RPG games due to the inherent freedom/space for creativity found in them. Do you see those parallels in a non-linear game like Fallout?" 

"There's a certain aspect to the freedom that I like. Personally," Emma motioned to herself, "Fallout for me kind of opened up my mind to what the world is coming to. The humanity of it. The aspects of propaganda and how societies function before and after."

"I see it," Parker added. "Exploring a expansive world, like with music, you can write anything."

"So I wanted to talk about the 1919 benefit. Have you played 1919 before?"

"Oh yeah," Parker confirmed.  

"I think it's great you're playing this benefit show. I went thru that whole 4chan thread, that shit was crazy."

"I just can’t believe people waste their time," Emma demurred. "If I hated something that much I wouldn’t waste my time and go there, and scope it out to call the fire department. 1919 is about the music. Anyone is welcome there even if you are a shithead. As long as you’re respectful. There's other DIY spaces this is happening to and they're not making enough money to cover expenses. It's really sad." 

"I read all the lyrics for your songs on Bandcamp. The Vault Dweller from the game essentially serves as a vessel of justice that sticks it to the man, whether that's the Brotherhood (i.e. Neo-Nazis), The Enclave, etc. Basically, the Vault Dweller is a truth seeker. So Emma, with that said, is that what the lyrics for 'Vault Dweller' and 'War of the Words' address?"

Emma: "For pretty much everything I write lyrically I don’t ever want to be super specific about one thing, especially with Fallout. I just like the general concepts. Even if they enjoyed living in the vault, the general concept was they were lied to, they were forced there, they were coerced there, and ya know, that’s fucked up!"

What about track 3? "Forced Evolutionary Virus." Is this song about Fallout? If so, is it about Super Mutants or Deathclaws?

"Totally about Fallout," Emma confirmed, "this is about Super Mutants."

How about the album title, Fucked Up Lizard People, which doubles as the title of track 6. Is this a reference to David Icke and his conspiracy theories?

Everyone laughed about this because, as it would turn out, I wasn't the first to ask.

Emma: "It seems like every time we play (shows) someone always goes on and on about this conspiracy. I know we have a whole song about fucked up lizard people, but it's not about that. Someone mentioned it was about Hilary Clinton around the time of the election and we were like, 'It's not about Hilary Clinton!' If you haven't noticed, we're all pretty goofy. I think I decided to write about it because one day at practice Shannon kept calling us fucked up lizard people."

Shannon provided further background on the name, "I actually got that name from Eddie (Emma's boyfriend). We were making up D&D characters and Eddie said, 'you could be a Fucked Up Lizard Person.' So that's where we got it from!" 

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Character Creation

Perhaps some of the best times that night came from each of the band members creating their own likeness using Fallout 4's character generator.  

I had this idea where the band would design their own characters that I'd later arrange in Photoshop, making it into a photo strip or something. Essentially, the end goal was to create an art project with the band; a metamodernist collaboration between the two parties if you will. 

Each band member took their time carefully crafting their character. Many laughs were shared as they tested out the seemingly endless amount of options made available by Fallout 4's character generator.

After each member finished their character, I took a photo of it with my phone. Emma later emailed me a file of the band's logo.

Next I downloaded a font that Emma suggested; the Fallout-inspired Overseer font.

Lastly, I uploaded everything into my archaic desktop and ...

... voilà!   

 Image created by Vault Dweller + Prewitt Scott-Jackson 

Image created by Vault Dweller + Prewitt Scott-Jackson 

If you look below at this photo of the band you can see they all portrayed themselves rather accurately.

 Image via Vault Dweller's Facebook Page - Pictured from left to right, Emma, Parker, Shannon, and Todd

Image via Vault Dweller's Facebook Page - Pictured from left to right, Emma, Parker, Shannon, and Todd

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Play Lots of Fallout!

I mentioned I'm a Fallout nerd-supreme, right? Then please know for a good portion of the night we simply played lots of Fallout!

Parker went first. They said he was the least experienced Fallout player so we started there. 

I liked watching Parker play because he played with a level of reckless abandon that more than deserved our admiration. He shot anything that moved. Anything. That included all my in-game allies who were none too happy about it.

Shannon was up next. There was a little more method to Shannon's mayhem as he savagely slaughtered his way around the wasteland.

Shannon also proved to be a jumper. You know how there's always someone that keeps walking their character right off a building, offing themselves? In our sesh, that person was Shannon. His jumps were pretty epic really, mucho style points.

Todd, who had been quiet throughout the interview, took control next and let his Fallout-ing do the talking. Todd methodically worked a gang of raiders, delivering skilled headshots to most of them in a wonderful tactical display.

Emma got her hands on the controller next and proved to reign supreme. She conscientiously cruised around Far Harbor, an area she'd yet to explore in her own Fallout campaign. Like any hardcore Fallout gamer, she looked over every detail of this world that was new to her; she savored every pixel as it came across her screen.

I connected to her style of play instantly. It was less about the shooting and more about exploring the world in which she found herself. 

Prewitt! What? You thought after a night's worth of Fallout talk I was going to keep myself from that controller? You must be joking!

At the top of the night Emma noted my player's level ranking which is pretty outrageous and somewhat embarrassing (I play A LOT of Fallout, like A LOT A LOT). The exceptionally detailed nature of my settlement building also impressed Emma and once again I felt somewhat embarrassed because I apparently out-nerded everyone in the room.  

Not wanting to disappoint, I started by returning to one of my many stash houses to dig up this wicked customized harpoon gun I had come across earlier in the game. From there I entertained the band with many a tasty slaying.

These warm-up shootings gave me a bit of false confidence. The band had decided it would be best if I took out Fallout 4's religious nuts, The Church of the Children of Atom. 

It started off well enough as I made quick work of the cult leader, High Confessor Tektus. Soon after however, as I stepped out of his quarters, his legion of followers zapped me into a pile of radiated goo with a crushing vengeance.

And with that, after 4+ hours of good hangs, our night had concluded. 

I thanked the band for their generous hospitality - even Zoey, the grumpster cat - and made my way back to the 817.  

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 The Vault Dweller and Dogmeat - Image from  Fallout 4

The Vault Dweller and Dogmeat - Image from Fallout 4

"War. War never changes." 

In the cinematic introduction of every Fallout game a narrator recites the line "War. War never changes." And while on the surface this quote seems to suggest that war is always fucked up, that war is always cold and hard and sad, I believe the quote is more nuanced than that.

I believe it also implies that in spite of war, there is always a light, a beacon of hope. A hero ultimately unveils that the good bits of humanity yet exist under the darkest clouds of war. For the Fallout series, this hero has always been the Vault Dweller.   

The dualistic dynamic nature of the Vault Dweller is what makes the character messianic. The Vault Dweller is magnanimous in a cruel world and yet, can prove ultra-violent when violence is necessary. I mean, it's going to require something more than charisma to stop the oppressive likes of the Brotherhood and other Fallout Nazi-esque factions.

Given this context, the band Vault Dweller more than lived up to their namesake.

Vault Dweller's music is louder and faster than yours with lyrics and vocals that rival the voracity of a hungry pack of deathclaws. As evidenced by the 1919 Hemphill benefit, they are more than prepared to get their hands dirty and take these alt-right shitheads straight on. 

At the same time, you will be hard pressed to find a band more generous with their time. A band that enjoys life as much as they do.  

I am honored to walk today's IRL wasteland with the likes of Emma, Todd, Shannon, and Parker. If they are the Vault Dweller, you can call me Dogmeat.  

I hope to see you all at Three Links this Saturday, first Nuka-Cola's on me :) 

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SUPER DOUBLE BONUS UPDATE: Fort Worth Noise attended the 1919 Benefit Show at Three Links and took the following photos and video of Vault Dweller's performance. Safe travels Wastelanders!

Vault Dweller Video

Vault Dweller at Three Links Photo Gallery (click thumbnail to enlarge)

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about the word writer person:

Prewitt Scott-Jackson writes Dad poetry & short fiction when he's not hyping and typing for Fort Worth Noise. His writing can be found in Ghost City Press (New York), Five 2 One Magazine (Los Angeles), Prairie Schooner (University of Nebraska Press) and Sick Lit Magazine (Texas), among others. He prefers short walks on the beach because – and I quote – “It’s really hard to walk on sand.”