As everyone knows, paying $35 or more for weaksauce tickets to see your favorite band in an impersonal gig like Nokia isn?t exactly the definition of a great deal. However, if you happen to dig around a little in the local happenings there is to be found a wealth of excellent music in an intimate environment for tickets generally less than 15 or 20 bucks. Here are some bands coming through the area that you should take the time to support and some reasons why. All tickets are purchasable at the door, from Front Gate Tickets at www.frontgatetickets.com or at affiliated local record stores listed on the website.
September 22nd - The Decemberists (Ridglea Theater, Ft. Worth; $15) www.decemberists.com
Colin Meloy and his band of Portland, Oregon compatriots churn out literate, intelligent pop music about everything from gut-shot crooked French Canadians to the glories of his girlfriend?s freckled right ankle. With this year?s Picaresque, the band opened up to include new-wave keyboards and a jauntier, looser feel that gave songs like ?Sixteen Military Wives? a shuffle and bounce occasionally missing from their past catalogue. They put on a wonderful live show; spending what you?d usually pay for dinner at Chili?s to see one of the best bands going right now seems like a fairly simple decision.
September 24th - Doves (Gypsy Tea Room, Dallas; $22.50) www.doves.net
So you?ll pay a little bit more to see this Manchester threesome perform. The second they whoosh into one of their ready-made anthems like ?The Cedar Room? or ?Snowden? (which is taken from this year?s excellent Some Cities) you?ll not mind paying a few dollars extra. While the band?s ambitions occasionally swallow some of their songs in overproduction on record, the stripped-down manner of their live show ? not to mention the rawer, sharper textures of their newer work ? brings the rock without the excess. Give them a shot if you?d like to see what U2 should still be writing.
October 12th - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (Gypsy Tea Room, Dallas; $12) www.clapyourhandssayyeah.com
Yes, they do have a ?cool name?, but these guys from New York actually have the tunes to back it up. Lead singer Alec Ounsworth may yelp like a demented version of Talking Heads vocalist David Byrne (word to the uninitiated: his voice takes a while to warm to), but once it clicks, their nervy and energetic rock will wind into your mind. Be prepared to hum ?The Skin Of My Yellow Country Teeth? until you can?t stand it anymore. Their CD is next to impossible to find, so you?ll have to resort to downloading to hear them. Shed your file-sharing guilt by buying a ticket. And maybe a t-shirt.
October 27th - LCD Soundsystem (Gypsy Tea Room, Dallas; price TBA) www.lcdsoundsystem.com
James Murphy?s influences range all over the place, from drugged-out late era Beatles to the punk rush of bands like The Fall, not to mention a healthy dose of Prince. All of them appear in LCD Soundsystem, his solo project that released its first full-length album this year to critical acclaim and awkward ass-shaking by music geeks across the nation. Be prepared to see a lot of white men twitch their bodies in vague attempts at dancing at this concert. Join in and add your gyrations to the crowd. If you are a woman that can dance, also be prepared to have 50 guys ask for your musical tastes and then your number.
October 29th - Iron & Wine/Calexico (Ridglea Theater, Ft. Worth; $20) www.ironandwine.com, www.cascadecalexico.com
Iron & Wine finally cracked into the semi-mainstream with his cover of ?Such Great Heights? on the Garden State soundtrack seemingly owned by everyone. Before that ever happened he?d already released two full-length albums and one EP of stunning folk-influenced music that sounded like some long-lost record from the ?60s. He?s touring with Calexico, whose Southern heat-warped version of rock and country provides counterpart to Beam?s gentle melodies. Both will perform solo sets and then a set with each other as a glimpse to their collaborative EP to be released this year.