It was just a year and a half ago that Pete Freedman, fresh from Colorado Springs, showed up at Club Dada without the puffy vest we were sure he'd be wearing. The new Dallas Observer music editor was succeeding two consecutively ousted leaders with controversy shrouding their exits. If the desk chair Freedman was inheriting seemed wobbly, the catty music scene he'd face outside the office was ready to blow him over.
In that February of 2008, Freedman couldn't legally rent a car. The Syracuse alum -- and, somewhat amusingly, Theta Chi brother -- turned out to be the salve our music press needed, a curious outsider more concerned with DFWd artists than petty scene politics, solving problems instead of stoking them.
In answer to the ongoing challenge of covering Denton's vast music scene consistently in the absence of an alt weekly dedicated to the town that has famously stumped DO editors and writers alike, Freedman founded the North of the Dial column under the premise that Denton's mystique might never be explained, but the music sure deserved weekly notes. And Freedman, who turned 25 last month, churns out more solid copy online and in print than any local writer-in-charge we know of, penning cover stories like this mall punk expose while heading a full-on revival of the DC9 At Night blog, puzzlingly stagnant before Freedman's arrival. (He reported in a year-in-review column that the blog's readership had increased to five times its size.)
But possibly the most valuable contribution Freedman makes to our city stems from his awareness of what keeps the music scene more disjointed than those of cities who've earned the same critical acclaim: key Dallas neighborhood associations' fear of and distaste for the crowds at live music events that would enrich their communities. Read Freedman's recent report on the subject and the guy strikes you as city councilman material, unscathed by the years of fiery columns failed mayoral candidate and former Dallas Observer music editor Zac Crain penned.
Freedman already does his thing to mend that neighborhood disconnect with a smaller-scale event celebrating local music, a secret show series called called DC9 in SPACE taped weekly at Hal Samples' SPACE Studio. His readers don't know who'll play when they show up on Wednesdays, but they come to watch it all unfold, kind of like Freedman did when he came to Dallas just in time.