2023 Photos of the Year: Milestone Moments

Join us as we take a look back at some of the best photos of 2023 taken by KXT music journalist Jessica Waffles in the category of: Milestone Moments.

A man holding up a jersey that says "SO-SO" with the number "08"

The moment just before the artist now known as Tommy Raps hung up his “So-So” Topic rap jersey, ending a 12 year run under the moniker. Photo: Jessica Waffles

1. Tommy Raps is birthed at Three Links

The artist formerly known as So-So Topic made his official stage debut as Tommy Raps at Three Links in Deep Ellum. The change came after a 12 year run under the former name.

A full band on stage

Chet Stevens performed at the new location of Magnolia Motor Lounge last Thursday night. Photo: Jessica Waffles

2. Chet Stevens at the new Magnolia Motor Lounge location

There have been many changes in the landscape of Fort Worth music venues this past year, and one of those changes included Magnolia Motor Lounge moving to a new location near the Benbrook Traffic Circle.

Three shadow boxes with music history artifacts

The Longhorn Ballroom now doubles as a music history museum. Photo: Jessica Waffles

3. The historic Longhorn Ballroom’s grand re-opening in Dallas

The historic Longhorn Ballroom‘s grand re-opening in March showcased the music of Asleep at the Wheel featuring Brennen Leigh and Joshua Hedley. The room featuring shadow boxes full of Texas music artifacts from legends with ties to the Longhorn Ballroom, such as Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Stevie Ray, the infamous Jack Ruby (who once owned the Longhorn Ballroom) and more.

A man wearing a jacket that says "'eye' refuse to kill another human being in the name of a government"

Cure For Paranoia’s Tomahawk Jonez sporting a one-of-a-kind design by local artist Jerod “DTOX” Davies at Kessler Studio. Photo: Jessica Waffles

4. Spring Music Safari in East Kessler Park

The Spring Music Safari featured 14 musical acts at 10 houses, most of which were the homes of the musicians. Each destination was marked with an animal – such as flamingos, giraffes, dragons and unicorns.

ATwo men on stage singing and playing accordion, guitar

Telephone House’s Edifice EP release at Club Dada was a blow-out of Dallas talent at Club Dada. Photo: Jessica Waffles

5. Telephone House’s Edifice EP release at Club Dada

Telephone House celebrated their new EP Edifice with a blow-out of Dallas talent at Club Dada in Deep Ellum. The lineup featured Mimo Morreale opening the show, followed by Dev Wulf & the Midnight Howl, with the band of the hour Telephone House closing out the night.

A singer on stage with a cape

Dezi 5 gave a stellar performance at Deep Ellum Community Arts Fair over Memorial Day weekend. Photo: Jessica Waffles

6. Dezi 5 at inaugural Deep Ellum Community Arts Fair

Deep Ellum has a new annual event in town called the Deep Ellum Community Arts Fair, showcasing music and arts from the DFW metroplex. The event replaced the Deep Ellum Arts Festival, a somewhat controversial event that ran for 28 years in the city – run by Stephen Millard that brought out-of-town artists into Deep Ellum to sell their wares. Now the event is for the city by the city.

A man singing with a guitar in a seated crowd

Abraham Alexander creates an intimate moment of tenderness in his performance of “Amen” at The Kessler Theater. Photo: Jessica Waffles

7. Abraham Alexander album release show at Kessler Theater – night 1

Fort Worth artist Abraham Alexander celebrated his debut album SEA/SONS in June – and KXT got photos from the first show of three hosted at Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff.

A fan holding up a drink and smiling at the front of the crowd

People of all ages came out to see the band that made waves with number-one hits like “In My Bed,” “Never Make a Promise,” and “How Deep Is Your Love.” Photo: Jessica Waffles

8. Deep Ellum’s inaugural Juneteenth on Main Block Party

Two years after Juneteenth became an official federal holiday, Deep Ellum celebrated its inaugural Juneteenth on Main Block Party on the 150th anniversary of the neighborhood. Performers included  Dru Hill, Jada Arnell, Jayson Lyric, Dezi 5, Cure For Paranoia and more.

A DJ spinning vinyl

Co-owner Kate Siamro on the vinyl decks at new hot spot Ladylove Lounge & Sound. Photo: Jessica Waffles

9. Ladylove Lounge & Sound opens in Bishop Arts

Opening its doors with a bang, Ladylove Lounge & Sound has quickly become a hot spot in Dallas’ Bishop Arts district. Co-owned by Kate Siamro and David Grover, who also owns Spinster Records, Ladylove Lounge & Sound stands out as a unique establishment that combines music, empowering vibes, and a touch of vintage charm.

A colorful vinyl record

Deep Ellum 100 celebrated its release of the Sounds of Deep Ellum vinyl record on Saturday night. which comes in a variety of colored wax. Photo: Jessica Waffles

10. Deep Ellum 100 released the Sounds of Deep Ellum vinyl record

Dallas non-profit Deep Ellum 100 commemorated the release of their live-recorded Sounds of Deep Ellum vinyl, bringing local artists featured on the album to the stage at the House of Blues Cambridge Room.

A man smiling holding a trumpet

Jay Indigo is a multi-instrumental music aficionado of the Dallas music scene, seen here at Social Thursdaze in September. Photo: Jessica Waffles

11. Dope Ellum opens in Deep Ellum

Deep Ellum has a new creative hotspot you may have heard about – an intimate space on Commerce Street called Dope Ellum, featuring the Night Rider Coffee lounge and stage. Dope Ellum seeks to be a catalyst for artists in Dallas, giving a space for people to gather and create.

A full crowd in front of a stage

Hometown fans clamor to sing along with Kyle Morris of The Unlikely Candidates. Photo: Jessica Waffles

12. The Unlikely Candidates end the tour in hometown at Lola’s Fort Worth

Hometown heroes The Unlikely Candidates brought their nationwide tour to a triumphant close with a high-octane performance at Lola’s Fort Worth. After over a month on the road – spanning across California, Colorado, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, and more – the band returned to their roots for an unforgettable homecoming show on October 1 with northlake and Morning Buzz.

A musician on stage with a bass guitar, and her hand in the air

Tia Culbreth of Abelia brings high energy to the stage with her bandmates for a special reunion set at Plus Fest 3. Photo: Jessica Waffles

13. Plus Fest returns to Denton

The return of Denton music festival Plus Fest 3 celebrated the exuberant sounds of math rock, mathcore, midwest emo, indie and more – giving stages to fringe sounds that paint the outer edges of the music scene tapestry.

A baseball player in uniform signing hats

Texas Rangers pitcher Andrew Heaney stayed after the ceremony to autograph fans’ Rangers memorabilia. Photo: Jessica Waffles

14. World Series champs Texas Rangers get the key to the city of Fort Worth

Texas Rangers fans gathered for a historic moment at Billy Bob’s Texas on Thursday, as Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker prepared to present the key to the city of Fort Worth to the World Series Champions. Local band Squeezebox Bandits provided music for the free event.

A performer on stage

Doug E. Fresh danced his way through the set, while playing hit songs like “La Di Da Di.” Photo: Jessica Waffles

15. The inaugural Deep Ellum Music Festival

Deep Ellum celebrated 150 years of the historic neighborhood as well as 50 years of hip hop on Saturday, ringing in the inaugural Deep Ellum Music Festival with local and global acts, including DJ Edgar Blue, Cayuga All Stars, The 40 Acre Mule and Cure For Paranoia with The Grays. As the night went on, Bowling For Soup, Doug E. Fresh, Rev. Run (of legendary group Run DMC) and RC Williams

Jessica Waffles is a freelance photographer/videographer and regular contributor to KXT. 

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