Music to My Ears: The Haute 5 Live Music Venues in Dallas

The American Airlines Center, House of Blues, Center…all the “big” names in live music appear at these super-stadiums, from Lady Gaga and Heart to Pat Green and Jack Johnson. It’s not like I am against such behemoth stages or headliners, but for the sake of this blog, I’d rather highlight some  independent Dallas venues, those that have either survived the sad collapse of Deep Ellum, or risen like a phoenix from the ashes. In it’s heyday downtown Dallas was, after all, quite a hotspot for rising musicians, and it appears as if we might see a renaissance to that effect in the next few years (see

Hear’s hoping.


Trees made a well-anticipated come back after closing its doors five years ago, an effect of rising rental costs coupled with the crime rate that appeared to be climbing in the area. The legendary space is known for the large tree growing in the center, creating an indoor/outdoor ambiance that’s just plain cool (many frequent attendees will admit to never seeing the tree, given the dim lighting and perhaps the strength of the cocktails.) Considering the timely return of this downtown heavyweight, it is rumored that more Deep Ellum faves are on the way to becoming retro (Green Room, anyone?) My vote goes to the return of the Gypsy Tea Room.

Upcoming Shows: Daniel Ash of Bauhaus and Love And Rockets, Fri 8/20

Trees, 2709 Elm Street, 214.741.1122,

Palladium Ballroom/The Loft

Probably the largest on the list with a capacity of 2500, Palladium is easily a live music destination, with its ground floor venue, The Loft second floor space as well as the balcony patio offering a killer view of downtown. The most recent much-adored show: The Toadies on August 7th.

Upcoming shows: Billy Idol, Wed 8/24

The Palladium Ballroom, 1135 South Lamar,

The Kessler Theater

This venue may just have nine lives, having been blasted by a tornado and torched by a fire during its more than 50-year stint as an Oak Cliff entertainment destination. Luckily, The Kessler, an art-deco South Dallas staple, has been selected for revival as well, growing rapidly as a go-to listening room to hear great local acts as well as national artists. The place doubles as an art gallery, comedy house and sexy lounge hangout as well, so there’s something for everyone.

Upcoming shows: Record Hop, Matthew & the Arrogant Sea, Regina Chellew, Pinkish Black, Sat 8/14

The Kessler Theater, 1230 W Davis Street,

The Curtain Club

One of the oldest and truest Deep Ellum haunts, Curtain Club has played host to a whole slew of big names, including The Polyphonic Spree, Pat Green, Train, Nickleback and more. However the club prides itself on showcasing mostly local talent, further fueling and stirring the artistic cauldron of downtown Dallas.

Upcoming shows: CD release show for Silent on Bordeaux benefiting the Epilepsy Foundation. Sat, 8/14

The Curtain Club, 2800 Main Street, 214.742.6207,

The Granada Theater

Greenville Avenue may have some great venues, but none come close to the standards of the Granada.  Having just stopped by for the Flosstradamus show a couple weeks back (i.e.hipsters wearing day-glo onesies, fanny packs, et. al.), I have a fresh appreciation for the space, built like an opera house with high ceilings, mulitple levels of tables and seating, big screens surrounding the stage displaying film clips or animation, and the classic marquis outside dictating the week’s goings-on. An intimate setting, but large enough to gather a really great crowd.

Upcoming Shows: Speak, Radiant and The Crash That Took Me, Fri 8/20

The Granada Theater, 3524 Greenville Ave, 214.824.9933,