Festival season is back, and Texas Music Revolution has proven it

Strolling through downtown McKinney Square on Friday night, I felt like life had returned to normal for thousands of live music fans in North Texas. With surprisingly rainless skies and, as you might expect, a maskless crowd, KHYI 95.3’s 25th Texas Music Revolution Festival was in full swing with dozens of country and roots-rock bands spread across multiple stages across the streets. of the place. and shops.

Was the decidedly 2019 sentiment a sign of the return of the old normal after the new normal ceased to be so new? Who knows more? What’s not up for debate is that a lot of people are ready to go out and hear tunes mixed with tight hugs and hugs. Thousands did so over the weekend.

For those who were a little worried, the open space of downtown McKinney made it possible to steer clear of others. In addition to four large outdoor stages, a number of shops, bars and restaurants around the McKinney Performing Arts Center have hosted performances. For those who had a holiday weekend at South by Southwest, or attended the late 35 Denton fest, the indoor-outdoor arrangement was familiar.

Before Friday’s happy hour ended, the outdoor stages hosted fully hip group performances with very different vibes. San Antonio’s rockabilly road warriors Two Tons of Steel bounced the main stage while Dallas country artist group Nate Kipp transformed the Alley Stage into a suburban version of Deep Ellum’s Saloon Adair. .

On the State Fair Records Stage, located next to the Guava Tree Cuban Cafe just off the southeast edge of the square, young American talent Jackson Scribner and his band gave a few dozen people some dreamy folk-rock seeking shelter from an unexpected late afternoon explosion. of sunlight. After scribbling on the same stage, Taylor Young of The O’s skillfully performed material from his excellent indie-rock flavored eponymous band project, supported by a new group of players.

The sprawling setup made for some unique gig settings. In perhaps the most unusual case, songwriter Nick Verzosa and Matt Hillyer, lead singer of Dallas’ honky-tonk band Eleven Hundred Springs, played an acoustic song swap for a crowded baby shop – wait for it – rockin ‘AB.

We walked through shelves of children’s clothing and baby trinkets to an area at the back of the store where about 20 chairs were filled with another dozen attendees standing around the seats. I looked through a shelf filled with an assortment of baby shoes. It was perfectly private and only added to the privacy of things.

Retro-inspired store The Groovy Coop also lent its own in-store performance brand. Rather dryly, Denton singer-songwriter Daniel Markham said he was only going to play “my slow and sad songs.” With Beatles-branded toys and astrology-related gifts at their fingertips, Markham’s mellow, acoustic solo ensemble was pretty groovy.

As the weather deteriorated into the night and the streets forming the square became more and more crowded, the power of the stars of the festival also increased. Mike and the Austin Moonpies, one of the best cold country bands active in Texas and beyond, commanded the main stage as if the band hadn’t just started performing again after a pandemic hiatus. One of Texas’ all-time greats, Randy Rogers, wrapped up the Friday night festivities. Flanked by guitarist Geoffrey Hill and violin maestro Brady Black, Rogers offered acoustic takes on radio staples including “Buy Myself a Chance”, “Drinking Money” and “Fuzzy”.

The storm-free conditions did not last long. Saturday night’s headlining performances by outlaw legend Ray Wylie Hubbard and one of the hottest names in country music today, Charley Crockett, had to be moved to McKinney Performing Arts Center. Bad weather spoiling things for festival planners and fans is a tradition as reliable as it is in the local music landscape.

Regardless, we are in 2021, and for the first time in a very long time, it is indeed festival season in North Texas.


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