Let’s talk about millennial nostalgia. It seems that everything 1990’s has been making its way back into popular culture again – from the Friends reunion to nearly every other show from that period popping up on a streaming service. That feeling is even extending beyond to a new generation of people feeling fondness for a time they didn’t experience first hand.
Over the past year, the DFW area has seen a renaissance of local 90’s music becoming available again, due in part to NTX Records and their “DFW Legacy Series.” They have released out-of-print recordings from the likes of SouthFM, Dollybraid, Edgewater, and The Nixons, among several others. This past Friday night, they held a celebration of the series one year anniversary with a show headlined by The Nixons and a several bands that have not played live together in many years. For anyone who spent their formative years wandering around Deep Ellum, listening to the sounds emitting from every open door, this was a can’t miss evening.
Before the show, I was able to catch up with some people that had traveled to DFW especially for this event. While The Nixons were able to garner nationwide acclaim for their music, it was an eye opener to hear people traveled from places as far away as Maine, North Carolina, and Florida to revel in an evening of music that originated, or grew to acclaim, in the venues of North Texas.
The evening began with an all-star group of musicians playing through Forty Percent’s Portland album. The group included several members of the original band and members of another local band, Edgewater. This was the perfect opening to the evening as many fans in attendance sung along to the words of each song in unison with the artists on stage. Second up was a band that I had heard a little about from a friend who was part of the Deep Ellum rock scene in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. SouthFM took the stage with the addition of their original guitarist, G.I. Sanders, and the energy flowed as they blew through a setlist of songs that got everyone moving closer to the stage and rocking a little harder.
So far, the evening was progressing nicely. Two highly focused and energetic bands brought people back to a time when things were simple and music was grungy. But up next was a surprise that no one expected. The host for the evening was Jaret Reddick from another band originating from DFW, Bowling For Soup. He brought Zac Maloy, the vocalist for The Nixons, to the stage and they performed a short set of acoustic songs that were as hilarious as they were well-written. The first of which was “A Song About Texas,” dedicated to the fact that Pat Green already has a song named “Songs About Texas.” Either Jaret Reddick is a first class comedian, or I was more tired than I thought, because everything in the set was on point from lyrics to presentation to performance.
The mood changed again when Dollybraid, out of Denton, took the stage. If you closed your eyes and thought about that time between the late 90’s and mid-2000’s, this is what you would imagine. It checked off every box on the list and took me back to my college days when I was listening to music because I loved music and not just to have the ambient sound in the background while I multi-tasked around the house.
Finally, it was time for who most of the crowd came to see, The Nixons. I have seen them on several occasions and its always a great time (from the songs I remember listening to on the radio to the new songs form their 2020 album). It never ceases to amaze me that these guys are writing such lyrically and musically talented songs. Obviously, the band played their mainstays of “FOMA,” “Baton Rouge,” and “Sister,” with recent additions (“Crutch” and “Ghost of an Angel”) from their most recent release. If you have never seen a live Nixons show then you would surprised with the amount of enthusiasm and energy that vocalist Zac Maloy brings song after song – from jumping and spinning around stage to heartfelt crooning with his mic cord wrapped his arm. Bassist Ricky Brooks is a quiet, humble person when you meet him off stage, but onstage he is a force of nature hammering down the bottom end. Guitarist Jesse Davis is a steady hand on guitar, but will blast out a stunning solo that will leave your mouth agape. For this show, Jaxon Humphrey was on drums, filling in for this father who is currently on tour with Seether. To say that the apple doesn’t fall from the tree would be an understatement. He is fully qualified to take the throne and you wouldn’t know it wasn’t his father if no one mentioned it.
I know this sounds a lot like a fluff piece, but I cannot express enough how much I enjoyed taking a trip back in time to my late teens and early twenties. Though The Nixons were the only band that I was really familiar with going into the evening, I was surprised – and honestly a tad envious – that I did not get the chance to see all of these bands in Deep Ellum years ago.
– Robb Miller