Review, Photos, and video by Mark Ambrose
What’s better than spending time with family, friends, and loved ones over the holidays and drinking eggnog next to a warm fire? Rockin’ out the eve of Christmas Eve at a great music venue in Dallas, that’s what! Production company, Escaping The Ordinary, led by Ty Griffin, brought Fair To Midland and Dead Letter Circus to Granada Theater fans this weekend and I have to say it was quite a good turn out, considering it was a holiday weekend when most people would be out of town or with family. With a total of five bands on the bill, including the aforementioned, the show started a little early for a Friday night with doors at seven and the first band at eight.
We arrived a little after Australian natives, Dead Letter Circus, started their set and I was intrigued to hear more of before rushing off to wait in line for a cold brewski. I had got into the auditorium and up by the front of the stage just in time to hear their first ever released single, “The Space On The Wall”. I was impressed mostly by their stage presence and progressive/hard metal sound; they have been compared to bands like The Mars Volta and given the chance, I would definitely check these guys out again as they bring a lot of energy to their shows and their fans really seem to be into it. By the way, this was their very first show in Texas ever.
Prior to the show, I had a chance to chat with a good friend of the band and was told that Andrew was not feeling well that evening but would perform anyway. From the looks of his jumping around on stage and climbing/hanging from the lighting scaffolding, he appeared in better health than as it was described. What a trooper! Their was a Christmas surprise for two lucky FTM fans before the set; with help from the band, one fan proposed to his girlfriend on stage in front of the entire venue. I’m happy to report that she said “Yes” and her boyfriend/fiancé even shouted it into the microphone for all to hear. How awesome is that?!
The entire show was filled with intense energy, and chanting from the crowd almost through the entire show, with the occasional “FTM” chant heard at most of their concerts. The band played some songs from their new album, Arrows & Anchors, along with songs from their earlier EPs and single releases. Andrew was also doing quite a bit of crowd surfing while still hanging onto his mic and trying to continuing singing during the songs while lead guitarist, Cliff, continued to rock out shirtless the entire set. Towards the end of the show, the lead singer of DLC came out to sing a song with the band to return the favor from earlier in the night; Andrew and the rest of the band were on-stage during one of DLC’s songs playing the drums. There was even a point when Kim was on top of Andrew’s shoulders during the set.
At the end of the show, Sudderth, came back on stage to propose to his long-time girlfriend and lead singer of the band IWABO, Krysta Cameron. What some fans may or may not know, is that the couple had already been engaged almost a year prior, so that leaves you thinking: Why did Andrew steal the limelight and glory from one of his fans by “one upping” him and closing out the show with a fake and duplicate proposal to his fiancé? To that, we may never know.
Fair to Midland was formed in 1998 by friends Andrew Darroh Sudderth (vocals) and Cliff Campbell (lead guitar) in Sulphur Springs, Texas; located about 60 miles north east of Dallas near Greenville. It wasn’t until after releasing their second album, inter.funda.stifle, in 2004 before the band was signed to a major label after being independent for almost a decade.
That new album brought along with it massive attention that eventually led to a label deal with Serj Tankian’s (System of a Down) label, Serjical Strike, in 2006. The band were winners of the Dallas Observer Music Awards multiple years in a row for best metal category and even decided to kick off their most recent album release this past July at Deep Ellum’s own Curtain Club. In recent band news, long time drummer and band member, Brett Stowers, announced his resignation from the group in early November, almost a year after helping complete their newest album; replacing him and currently touring is new drummer, Logan Kennedy, who seems to be filling into Brett’s shoes quite nicely.