Erykah Badu Opens President Obama To Criticism, JMBYA 2021 Quietly Cancels, KAABOO Texas Gets Sued, The Old 97’s Get Namedropped By Stephen King & More.

Perhaps you heard: President Barack Obama turned 60 years old last Wednesday, and celebrated the affair by throwing a bit of a soiree at his family’s Martha’s Vineyard mansion — yes, even despite looming coronavirus concerns, as conservatives were quick to point out.

Initially, the invite list included 475 guests, only to then be scaled back significantly. In a statement, Obama family spokesperson Hannah Hankins addressed the change: “This outdoor event was planned months ago in accordance with all public health guidelines and with COVID safeguards in place. Due to the new spread of the delta variant over the past week, the President and Mrs. Obama have decided to significantly scale back the event to include only family and close friends… President Obama is appreciative of others sending their birthday wishes from afar and looks forward to seeing people soon.”

Screenshot of Erykah Bady’s IG Stories.

Among those close friends on the list? Dallas’ own Queen of Neo-Soul, Erykah Badu — who may have actually inadvertently fueled that conservative fire by posting a since deleted video of a mask-less Obama dancing on stage.


Of course, we all know the Obamas are proponents for widespread vaccinations. As such, party-goers were also required to follow CDC health protocols, and all attendees were tested for COVID-19, according to USA Today.

And we all can expect more and more events to require such protocols once more, actually. The world’s leading concert promoter, Live Nation, is rolling out a vaccination push all their own. As larger and larger venues get set to open, the company will begin requiring proof of vaccination for all of the company’s 44,000 employees. But that’s not all: The company will also give artists the choice to require that concert attendees provide a negative COVID test result or proof of vaccination to get into their shows. With an estimated 44 percent of eligible Texans currently vaccinated, that could mean shorter bathroom lines between band’s sets for the rest of us — depending on who it is you’re looking to see live.

Just don’t expect to see Grammy-winning Dallas rapper Bobby Sessions on tour anytime soon though. While doing his best to manifest the good health of his followers, the self-proclaimed Dallas legend just postponed his Texas tour due to COVID spike concerns. He’s not the only one pulling the plug, either: After announcing its 2021 return back in June, the JMBLYA festival quietly pulled all ticket links and promo for its offerings this year from its website and socials in recent weeks.

On the other hand, some new events are still popping up. For instance, you can catch Red Oak native and Dallas indie pop darling Sarah Jaffe kicking off a new, free music series Concerts In The Globe at the AT&T Discovery District right in the heart of Downtown Dallas at 5 p.m. on Saturday, August 14. That performance will them be followed by a Sunday afternoon performance from country musician Mason Lively, with monthly performances set to follow.

Meanwhile, another offering in town is also perhaps on the verge of becoming a recurring affair. On July 11, you may recall, some big names in Dallas music and beyond joined forces for an event called Jeff Fest at the Double Wide, and in the process raised a total of $83,315.46 for the Jeff Saenz Recovery Project, which is aimed to help raise funds for Dallas musician and producer Jeff Saenz in the wake of suffering burns all over his body and losing both of his hands in the wake of a freak electrocution incident. With even more money still being of use in the noble cause, Jeff Fest 2 is now slated to take place on Wednesday, September 1, at the Granada Theater. Along with performances from Shakey Graves, The Texas Gentlemen, Charlie Sexton, The Reverend Horton Heat‘s Jim Heath, Medicine Man Revival, Quaker City Night HawksSam Anderson, About You and The Retrophonics, there will also be a silent auction as well as items up for raffle. Tickets to the event will run $30 to $50, and you can get yours in advance right here.

While some events are welcome to see, there are also the events that maybe shouldn’t have ever happened. Yes, of course we’re talking about KAABOO Texas, the 2019 festival that was perhaps most notably for how highly it thought of itself in spite of low attendance and meh reviews. Now, after the festival auctioned its assets off last year, a lawsuit has been filed by real estate developer and festival investor Bill Hutchinson against the festival’s organizers — y’know, as if he wasn’t already slated to see enough courthouses in the future following sexual assault charges involving multiple teenage girls being recently filed against him. In the civil suit, Hutchinson’s Dunhill Festival Fund claims that KAABOO Texas founders Bryan Gordon and Seth Wolkov swindled the company out of a cool $3 million. The suit further alleges that KAABOO “was a colossal failure and was completely mismanaged from an operational standpoint, but also from a financial perspective.” It also says the bill was “an awkward gathering of touring acts, with most past their prime, resulting in an incredibly low turnout.”

LOL. Can’t say we didn’t warn everyone.

Speaking of no warnings, here’s a cool thing that happens to the Old 97’s this week that not even they expected: They got name-dropped in the new Stephen King book, Billy Summers.

Wow, indeed.

Leon Bridges, of course, has already had a summer filled with wow moments. But now his new album Gold-Diggers Sound has debuted at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week of August 6, while also topping the R&B and Hip-Hop album charts. Bridges has previously had one No. 1 album with his 2015 debut Coming Home, which reached its peak position on the charts two and half weeks after the original release date. And we’re actually coming up on two-and-a-half weeks since Gold Diggers Sound dropped shortly, now that we mention it…

Speaking of hot-topic albums, the release date for Kanye West’s new album Donda has been pushed back again, now to August 15. It’ll be hard-telling if that date holds true, though; if memory serves, our last estimation for that release was August 6. That album, as we already noted, is set to feature a guest appearance from West’s cousin, the Dallas local The World Famous Tony Williams. But, while Donda may still be a ways off, West and Williams still had a role in an album that was released on August 6. The late-’90s/early-’00s Chicago rap duo Abstract Mindstate dropped their first new album since disbanding back in 2005 on that date, and their West-produced new album Dreams Still Inspire sees Williams singing on the album’s sixth track, “Move Yo Body.”

While we’re on production credits, the TDE-signed, University of North Texas-sprung DJ and producer Kal Banx is reaping the credit for his latest creative efforts. Banx had a big part to play on Isaiah Rashad’s new acclaimed album The House Is Burning, which debuted at number 7 on the Billboard 200 chart. For his part on that release, Banx pulled credits as an engineer, featured artist, keyboard player, pianist, producer, programmer and vocalist.

And since we’re discussing chart-topping artists, well, you’ve probably by now heard all about Charlotte rapper DaBaby and how he has been getting a taste of the consequences for homophobic stupidity lately. Since an incredibly inappropriate July 25 rant about gays and HIV at a Rolling Loud performance in Miami, the rapper has seen blowback from his peers, the media, and even been dropped from seven festivals and the fashion label Boohoo as well. Despite all the bad press, though, DaBaby’s new single “Ball If I Want To” peaked at No. 36 on the Billboard charts, and Dallas-based “Buss It” rapper Erika Banks is taking full advantage of that attention, dropping a remix to the hot single on her YouTube channel. Banks’ version, we must say, is a pretty undeniable upgrade.

Continuing the Dallas rap train of thought, Trapboy Freddy just dropped his new album Distractions on 300 Entertainment. It features a couple of now-cold takes on fellow Dallasite Mo3’s death, along with some killer new street anthems that will definitely rattle your trunk on your nine to five commute. Included among them is a remake of the classic  “Oak Cliff,” featuring the song’s originators Young Nino and Hot Boy Star, plus Yella Beezy and Smurf Franklin. Elsewhere, Young Thug and Lakeyah also make guest appearances on the album.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lucci just released his own Mo3 tribute video called “Wings” that’s flavored a little differently than any of Trapboy Freddy’s mentions of the late performer.

Sticking with the hip-hop vibes, Dallas-based Spanish speaking “emo-latino” rapper RAFA just dropped a new video for his song “Una Peli” that was produced by AZ and Gomey.

Then, out Fort Worth way, 88 Killa reminds us that he’s the truth in the booth on his video drop “Mink Coat Melody”.

Back here in Dallas, meanwhile, Flower Child wants to do what bunnies do on her music video for “Water” that features Cure For Paranoia‘s Cameron McCloud.

Moving away from the rap game, let’s take a look at some new clips from some heroes in Dallas’ country scene.

First up, Charley Crockett dropped the video for the second single off his September 17-due Music City USA release, which will stand as his second album released on the year, as we’ve previously noted. Check out “Round This World” below.

We’ve also been keeping close tabs on Vincent Neil Emerson‘s rise in the wake of the June release of his Rodney Crowell-produced, self-titled, sophomore LP. Just last week, however, he dropped a new video from that collection, and you can peep “Ripplin’ & Wild” below.

Another acclaimed North Texas performer, Damoyee has had herself a busy month. For starters, she participated in a Black Music Month Celebration piece presented by the Dallas Police Department to highlight the contributions of some of up-and-coming Black musicians from Dallas. The brief video features performances from Damoyee, cellist Brianne Sargent and rapper Bryson Cole, who also share their thoughts on the impact of Black music .

Were that not enough, the multi-hyphenate, State Fair Records-signed musician also dove into the EDM genre this week, singing on a new collab single called “THIEF” by H4RRIS.

Oh, and she also announced she will take over the Bud Light Stage for four shows at the State Fair of Texas this year.

State Fair Records also has a new signee in Billy Law, who is all set to release his debut album Alone Somewhere with a gig on August 20 at the Kessler Theater alongside with Chris J. Norwood, who will also be releasing his album I Am Not Cool on the same night. On his Facebook page, Law describes his music as “Josh Ritter and Kris Kristofferson meet up at a dive bar in Texas to listen to Manchester Orchestra.” If that sounds up your alley, check out the just-released the lead single “Slowly” from his upcoming album below.

Another pop act that begs your attention is Jacob and The Ethnics — a.k.a. JTE. The band has not-so-quietly been brewing up quality tunes in their kitchen for about a year now, and they just released their debut album Heart Tapes along with the music video for their “Life is Short” single.

Yes, life is definitely short, and if anyone knew that more than most, it would have been the late, great Harambe — God bless him. Of course, I’m just monkeying around here. On that note, there’s a relatively new gorilla mask-sporting surf rock group in town called The GO GO Rillas that seems to have a grasp on that fact as well. Watch them go bananas in their debut music video for their “Gone Ape” single below.

If you’re a fan of Pantera, then you probably already know that next year, the legendary Arlington band is celebrating the 30th anniversary of their best-selling album, Vulgar Display of Power. To celebrate, Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo will be performing the album in its entirety with his new backing band The Illegals at Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill on Friday, September 3, on a bill also featuring with Crobot and Within Chaos. It’s an all-ages show, so bring the family if you’re so inclined! Tickets are available here.

Keeping things heavy, tbe prog metal/aliencore rockers Earthgazer just released their debut album Terrorform, and it’s available here. Along with that, they also released a lyric video to the title track, which features some tripped-out apocalyptic space-age graphics rendered in-house by frontman Jonathon Harvey and wife Samantha Harvey through their production company City Lights Photography.

Likewise, politically conscious punk rockers American Shit Storm have a new video for the song “What A Mess” off of their Vol. III: Now Look What You’ve Done album for El Gran E Records. The video was filmed by Metal Dave Media and features some live performance footage from some recognizable Deep Ellum stages like Reno’s Chop Shop, Three Links and Club Dada.

Not to be outdone, the ever-loud grindcore act Imperial Slaughter also premiered their new song “Man is Miserable”.

Plus, a new D-beat band called Vorrukt featuring members of Hoodrat just dropped their grimey debut album, No Loyalty in Chaos.

Moving on, we’d like to offer one final tip of the hat to the Dallas-spawned rock ‘n’ roll legend Dusty Hill, the bassist to the acclaimed Texas band ZZ Top who died in his sleep on July 28 at age 72. In a statement, Hill’s bandmates Billy Gibbons and Frank Beard said, “We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the ’Top.’” Gibbons and Beard performed their first show without Hill in Alabama on the Friday following his death — and with a top hat draped atop Hill’s stage-right mic in tribute.

Of course, where some things go softly into the night, others simply transform into something else — as is the case, yet again, with the Ol’ Dirty Basement at J&J’s Pizza in Denton. Owners Jaime and Jesse Ham will be turning the lights off over their beloved pizza business forever tonight — but not after one last show in their DIY showcase basement venue featuring The Wee-Beasties. Of course, when one door closes another one opens: When the lights turn back on over that old dirty basement, the owners of a new restaurant moving in called MiXfiTs Punk & Pasta Bar say they’ll keep up the property’s tradition of hosting no-frills performances in its basement space.

Long live basement rock and roll!

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