TVD Live: Untapped Fest Dallas at Gilley’s, 11/1


PHOTOS: AMANDA DEERING | Here in Texas, few things go better together than beer and music. Well, except beer and more beer. Thankfully, Untapped Fest does all three very, very well.

This past Saturday, Untapped brewed its third installment of the Dallas festival—and without a doubt the biggest one yet. More than 80 breweries showed up at Gilley’s Outdoors to serve up an assortment of 300+ craft brews, quenching many a beer nerds’ thirst. But even more refreshing? The hoppin’ music scene: three stages, seven hours of non-stop jams, and a robust lineup to please any sonic palate.


Though historically known for featuring artists erring on the indie side, the festival made bolder moves this year with its headlining act: CAKE. The move proved to be a smart one, as the festival was completely sold out by night’s end, bringing in a more colorful audience than ever before—not only young D-Town hipsters looking to support their favorite obscure indie acts, but veteran CAKE fans on site to see, well, CAKE. You could say the event welcomed a diverse crowd.


While the headliner’s set kept festival-goers around ’til closing time, far longer than previous Untapped events had, the afternoon’s earlier shows flooded the gates from the start. With 12 acts covering the musical spectrum—folk duos to grunge outfits, hip-hop supergroups to soul singers, symphonic pop bands to indie rockers—no one performance looked even remotely like the other, leaving few Untapped-ers unsatisfied.

Though the festival was overflowing with some pretty stellar talent, a few performances were especially worth cheers-ing to:

Jamestown Revival

One of the day’s best performances was one of the earliest—and the shortest. That says a lot about talented, up-and-coming folk duo Jamestown Revival. Though the pair got off to a rather later start than their slated 4:00 time, and thus was forced to end before finishing their set, the guys no doubt packed some serious gusto into their mini-show.

JTR’s leading lads kicked the day off right with their authentic brand of “back-porch folk-rock”—a style driven by honest songwriting, acoustic instrumentation, and gritty, harmony laced vocals. It’s no wonder these guys were born n’ raised right here in the Lone Star State themselves; Jamestown Revival is a Texas beer festival on a sunny Saturday.



The Polyphonic Spree

If you so happened to catch even a glimpse of The Polyphonic Spree’s set on Saturday, you might have questioned your sanity a bit. The 15-piece, psychedelically-clad, flower-childlike “symphonic pop” group is a lot to handle, after all. That said, experiencing a Polyphonic Spree show should be one for the bucket list.

With a multi-layered sound crafted of many instruments and voices, a squad of long-haired backup singers/dancers, and a flamboyant leader with a an astronomical amount of energy, the band’s Untapped performance felt more like a segment from a quirky, off-broadway musical than a rock concert. But we didn’t hate that. Nor did the large group of festival-goers that flocked to the stage to see one of the day’s most entertaining shows.



Leon Bridges

As the sun set over Dallas and the chill night air set in, Leon Bridges brought the festival to a whole new level of cool. The young, Fort Worth-based artist has recently gained a name for himself across the DFW region, steadily acquiring acclaim for his refreshingly-vintage Southern soul style.

It came as no surprise, then, that Bridges serenaded the Untapped crowd back through time with his effortless croon, timeless charm, and romantic ballads—and high-water pants and cardigan to match. If you were at his set this weekend, you know: Leon Bridges may be young, but this new kid on the block is the next best thing in soul music.



Shovels & Rope

All headliners aside, let’s be honest, one artist truly took the CAKE this year. Leave it to Shovels & Rope to steal the show. As the indie-folk husband-wife pair stood alone center stage progressing through songs both off their debut LP and 2014 album, their performance felt honest and intimate, private almost. And it was beautiful. Between Cary Ann’s twang-tinged powerhouse vocals and Michael’s more subtle rock tones, the couple’s earnest lyrics, and their continual interchange of instruments and playful banter, the duo’s undeniable chemistry—and ridiculous talent—provided for one of the most intriguing performances of the day, much less one of the best shows we’ve seen in a while.

Despite a few glitches, overall Untapped proved once again victorious. Whoever said “third time’s a charm” was right, but at this rate, we can only expect even more greatness to come the fourth time around. So cheers l0okin’ at you, Untapped. See you in 2015.







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