Breaking Down The Hardest Calls You'll Face At This Weekend's Third Annual Index Fest.
This weekend, the Spune- and Trees-presented Index Festival will return for its bigger-than-ever third incarnation. For three days 90, performers will take over virtually every Deep Ellum venue, as well as a few temporary outdoor stages setup just for the fest.
The biggest names, you're no doubt familiar with. Those would be acts like The Local Natives, Future Islands, Foxygen, Dilated Peoples, Dawes and Mutemath — just to name a few.
As for the other 80 acts (give or take), well, that's a lot to go through. And while the fest's organizers have tried to help out by providing an online tool to help you schedule out the acts you'd like to catch during this year's fest, that only opens up another can of worms.
The issue isn't even just overlapping sets, either. There are, in fact, several points throughout the course of the weekend when multiple bands will perform sets that start at exactly the same time. What are you supposed to do then?
Below, we've laid out some of these head-to-head situations — along with a bit of info to help you sort out your most difficult decision. Because, yes, as ever, we've got your back.
• Oil Boom or Catamaran at 4:30 p.m. on Friday afternoon?
If you haven't caught Oil Boom in awhile, you might be in for a bit of a surprise during its Friday afternoon set. Of late, the band has ditched its old Black Keys vibe in favor of a poppier, straight-ahead rock sound. Then again, Catamaran's infectious “All Around” single doesn't seem to get old no matter how many times we hear it — and, yeah, we've heard it a ton.
• Apache Relay or Patriot at 6 p.m. on Friday night?
With its most recent album, Apache Relay has transformed itself from the folk-heavy outfit that spent a lot of time on the road with Mumford & Sons into a fully imagined, wall-of-sound-channeling, '60s-inspired pop rock outfit. Fort Worth's Patriot, meanwhile, lays somewhere between these two incarnations, filtering its own brand of Americana through a dreamy, lo-fi rock filter.
• Daniel Markham or Moonbather at 2 p.m. on Saturday afternoon?
This matchup is especially tough. Here, you have two Denton bands, the latter of which is responsible for one of the area's best releases of the year so far, and the former of which has not only built a solid reputation for himself in recent years, but is about to release a fuzzy, grunge-meets-alt-country sophomore LP at the end of next month. It's what we call a win-win.
• Mother Falcon or Greg Vanderpool at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon?
With payouts for musicians what they are these days, you probably see too many more young, many-member bands like Austin's Mother Falcon popping up. That's because what began as an after-school jam session among a bunch of high school marching bandmates has since evolved into the 18-piece symphonic rock outfit. On the other end of the spectrum, Vanderpool is a veteran of that same Austin scene. You may remember him from such outfits as Milton Mapes and Monahans, among others.
• Lord Huron or Dub Thompson at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening?
Lord Huron only released its proper debut back in 2012, but there's something about the Los Angeles transplants' tunes that make it sound familiar even if it'll be your first time hearing them. Sure, the band's brand of well-worn indie-folk doesn't necessarily break any new ground, but it has helped the outfit become one of the genre's biggest names going, for whatever that's worth. Even more fresh-faced is fellow L.A.-based dream-pop duo Dub Thompson, which only released its debut record earlier this summer.
• Gold Beach, Grey Matter or Latasha Lee & The Black Ties at 10 p.m. on Saturday night?
Here's your first matchup in which the bands performing have very little in common with one another. To wit: Austin indie rockers Gold Beach are tailor-made for fans of Grizzly Bear and/or the Arcade Fire; New Jersey's Grey Matter dabbles in prog, jazz and just about everything in between; and Austin's Latasha Lee falls decidedly into the throwback retro-soul camp. So maybe this call won't be that tough after all, based on your personal tastes.
• Blue, the Misfit or Wild Party at 10:50 p.m. on Saturday night?
As much as we love Blue, the Misfit — and, believe us, we love Blue, the Misfit, who is currently one of the brightest shining stars in a burgeoning local hip-hop scene increasingly full of nationally talked about performers — you shouldn't totally write off San Antonio pop rock outfit Wild Party. The band's “Killers-by-way-of-Strokes” sound was actually honed when its members still lived in Dallas.
• Second Lovers or The Hunts at 9:45 p.m. on Saturday night?
Second Lovers may or may not be Houston's best folk-rock revival acts going. Still, the seven brothers and sisters from the southlands of Chesapeake, Virginia, known as The Hunts' own contributions in the genre are perhaps a bit more authentic.
• The Limousines or David Ramirez at 12 a.m. on Saturday night?
Are you the type that rolls your eyes at the mere mention of the term “indietronica”? Then you should probably check out Austin's David Ramirez on Saturday night. Have you seen enough acoustic singer-songwriter types to last two lifetimes? Then you might as well check out San Francisco duo The Limousines.
• Clear Plastic Masks or Lee Fields & The Expressions at 12:15 a.m. on Saturday night?
Clear Plastic Masks are a somewhat new outfit that makes '70s-inspired bar-rock for Kings of Leon's Serpents and Snakes record label. Fields, on the other hand, was actually releasing his biggest singles in the '70s. Now enjoying a fresh round of popularity, the throwback soulman whose nickname is “Little James Brown” isn't just mining the past; the dude straight lived it.
• Zorch or Bummer Vacation at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon?
Here's another pair of bands that pair well together. Hell, they even shared a bill in Fort Worth a few months back! Austin's Zorch make a rather enjoyable cacophony of electro-noise that's matched only by its charisma and assortment of stage lights. And while we'd normally argue in these situations that it makes more sense to catch the touring band — because, let's face it, you'll probably have another opportunity to catch the local act sooner than later — that's not necessarily the case with Fort Worth New Wave/post-punk supergroup Bummer Vacation. Given the fact that its members split time playing in doo-wop punk outfit War Party and slinging merch for touring acts like Reverend Horton Heat on the road, this band doesn't necessarily play in town as often as most other local bands. And Zorch kinda does play Dallas that often.
• Joyce Manor or The Exquisites at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon?
Were this any other city on these pop-punk bands' schedules, you wouldn't have to choose which you'd rather see. The Asian Man Records labelmates have been touring together all summer. Technically, we guess, Joyce Manor is headlining all those shows, if that makes a difference to you.
• Russian Circles or Valise at 4:20 p.m. on Sunday afternoon?
Do you like it harder or softer? Given the way you typically spend 4:20 on any given afternoon, your option to hit up discordant Chicago trio Russian Circles or the loads-mellower, local ambient indie outfit Valise is probably pretty clear. The same can probably be said of your eyes.
• To The Wind, Water Liars or Zammuto at 9 p.m. on Sunday night?
Here's another one that's probably pretty cut and dry. To The Wind is a Seattle hardcore outfit that played Warped Tour this year, Water Liars is a hard-working band of moody Mississippi-based rockers that mixes in country undertones and ever-so-subtle alt-country tendencies to its brand of cathartic and at times heart-wrenching indie-rock, and Zammuto is a sample-rich indie outfit headed up by one half of The Books. Let's face it: You already know how you feel about each of these things.
• Joe Pug or Sam Lao at 10:50 p.m. on Sunday night?
Joe Pug's an enigmatic acoustic performer that counts folk-rock powerhouses like Steve Earle and M. Ward among his throngs of fans. Around these parts, though, there's nary a more charming and charismatic festival performer than local rapper Sam Lao. And she sure has performed at a lot of these things this past year.
• Knuckle Puck, Home by Hovercraft or How to Dress Well at 11:05 p.m. on Sunday night?
Do you prefer also looking at stuff while listening to albums? Well, the varying excitement of these three acts' onstage visuals will probably play heavily into your decision. At one end of the spectrum is cathartic solo performer How to Dress Well. Then there's the wild-ass pop-punks in Chicago's Knuckle Puck and local theatrical rock outfit Home by Hovercraft, the latter of which not only employees a tap-dancing percussionist, but is so visually-minded that it previously staged a fully realized time-traveling musical.
• The Longshots or A.Dd+ at 12 a.m. on Sunday night?
The 817 punks in The Longshots boast a catalog full of proud Fort Worth-adoring anthems like “Too High for West 7th.” Likewise, rap duo A.Dd+ represents the 214 with songs like “NAWF.” Would you rather stick with what you know or see how the other half lives? The choice is yours.
No Bragging Rights, Nite or Wrestlers at 12:15 p.m. on Sunday night?
It all comes down to this: Houston electro producers Wrestlers (formerly Bagheera) have been staples on the festival circuit this year, performing at Lollapalooza, Mad Decent Block Party, Fun Fun Fun Fest and Hangout. Meanwhile, Cali melodic hardcore act No Bragging Rights released its fifth LP earlier this week and the fresh-faced Denton dream-pop duo Nite makes for a pretty solid third option in this fest-closing slot. Where would you rather wind down your Index fest? In a dance off, in a mosh pit or while mellowing out with a set of twins?