Doosu, Son of Stan, & Duell at Valhalla Fest 06.30.19

Photos and Words by Dustin Schneider

There are very few evenings that are as special as what happened at Lola’s on Saturday night. Not only was there an absolutely killer lineup, including the first time that the former members of Doosu have reunited in almost 20 years, but it was also a benefit for the surviving family members of Jayson Wortham. In typical Fort Worth fashion, everyone turned out in droves for this unforgettable evening, including a few that had traveled in from Oklahoma, Louisiana, and New York City.

Jayson Wortham played in Denton bands Mandarin and Dove Hunter as well as founded Rubber Gloves Recording Studio.

In March of 2018 Jayson was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly after being diagnosed he told his close friend Chad DeAtley, bassist of Doosu/Dove Hunter, and Chad vowed to Jayson that he would organize a benefit for Jayson’s wife and three kids. Chad started getting together with Brian Forella, owner of Lola’s, to bang around ideas for a festival of some sort. It was Brian that suggested a Doosu reunion. Chad’s vow to Jayson became a deathbed promise as Jayson lost his battle with lymphoma on March 31, 2019 at the age of 47.

Now a quick confession; I wasn’t there when the festival began. I had prior obligations with a couple of clients in Dallas at Curtain Clubs final Saturday night so when I finally arrived at Lola’s, the Royal Sons were wrapping up there set as Blake Parish crooned the last lines of “Orale Culeros” from the Trailer Park stage. Inside the venue, Son of Stan was kicking things off, and before they finished their set, a bunch of faces I had seen just an hour or so earlier in Dallas had made their way into Lola’s. Not even the closing of one of Dallas landmark clubs could keep people away from this benefit. In fact, before the evening was done the crowd became a “who’s who” in the North Texas Music scene.

It comes to the time of the evening where Doosu is set to take the stage. There isn’t a square inch inside Lola’s to stand. The doors are wide open, people are climbing on the rails, on the bar, it’s absolute chaos. From a photographers perspective, it kinda sucked because you couldn’t move around to shoot, but for once I was more interested in what I was about to witness instead of capturing it!

And what I witnessed was probably the best 45 minutes of music I have seen locally in years. The energy, the passion, and the reason for this reunion were almost too much to handle. A few ladies standing around me couldn’t handle it as tears streamed down their face mid-set. Frontman Casey Hess was just as electric as he was 20 years ago, singing and screaming through walls of overdriven delayed guitar, nailing riff after riff after riff. Chad was a mad man thundering through his basslines never missing a beat. Filling in on drums was Taz Bentley, a rhythm god in his own right from Reverend Horton Heat and Burden Brothers, and over on guitar was Jeff Gruber who played with Casey in Descender. 

It was magical. There really is no other way to explain it.

Over the 6 years I’ve been doing the Jerry Jonestown Massacre podcast, when the topic turns to reunion shows and the bands we would want to see one more time, Doosu is always at the top of the list. Saturday night a lot of people’s hopes and desires came true, and it was for a wonderful cause.

Doosu

Duell

Son of Stan

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