The Dose: 35 Denton plays hand in city’s rejuvenation

The Dose: 35 Denton plays hand in city’s rejuvenation

The Dose: 35 Denton plays hand in city’s rejuvenation
March 16
20:24 2015

Byron Thompson / Senior Staff Photographer

Rock from every age and walk rolls through the revamped Hickory Street Corridor. Bright eyes follow open ears around the Square hoping to leave no stone unturned. After a year in the ground, 35 Denton is getting us “Back to the Music.”

After seamlessly picking up a bracelet from the Greater Denton Arts Council, festival goers noticed something wonderfully new. After months of construction, Hickory Street, a street that connects more than a dozen restaurants, venues and bars, is attracting business again.

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Blair Alise jingles sleigh bells with the Bombshells. The Detroit garage rock pop band jangled Dan’s Silverleaf’s patio on Friday night.

And Hickory’s newest jewel? Harvest House, a new coffee house, beer garden and venue space,opened the night before the festival. With an outdoor stage larger than any other in Denton, Harvest House drew some of the weekend’s largest crowds.

On Saturday, the main stages in the parking lot at E. Hickory and S. Austin Street attracted crowds with a variety of acts so eclectic your mom may have ended up at the Brutal Juice show, after riding the free Lucky Lou’s bus from Fry Street.

Local favorites Mink Coats and voltREvolt opened the main stages with a familiar Denton flavor.

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Denton musician/writer Chinaski the Fury sings with heart to the handful who made it to Rubber Gloves early Saturday afternoon.

As the festival worked itself up to its Hall-of-Fame headliner, The Zombies, the flavors varied from hard and heavy folk to party-ready electronic, from downright serious to the outright silly.

Typically writing songs on the spot at Dan’s Silverleaf, Paul Slavens took to the main stage with his band Ten Hands. With the Zappa-like jazz-rock that made Ten Hands big in Dallas in the eighties and nineties, Slavens articulates with his whole body. Taking nothing seriously, he asks the audience to do the same.

Sunday held no less excitement as Capsula, the Bowie-inspired psychedelic-rock animals from Argentina, played with unrivaled energy.

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Haley’s showroom turns into a dance floor while Brooklyn band Monogold’s hypnotic psych-pop fills the air Sunday night.

Front man Martin Guevara was bursting with adrenaline and dying to share it.

“This is a rock concert!” He shouted, beckoning forward the hesitant crowd.

Before the set was over, Guevara hung his guitar in front of an amp for a surging feedback loop, and then retrieved it to feed to a now eager audience.

In 2009, 35 Denton began as NX35 Music Conferette to showcase local talent, styled after and scheduled the weekend before the festival it was born from in 2005, SXSW.

Successfully booking national acts like The Flaming Lips, Dr. Dog and Solange alongside local favorites, Denton’s slice of festival pride fell off the radar in 2014.

In its absence, those eager to define Denton’s cultural worth have called Oaktopia or Thin Line the new Lil’ D fest.

When the 2015 lineup was announced, more heads tilted than turned. Critics wondered if headliners were too dated for 35 Denton to regain its footing.

Unless you’ve strung yourself into Denton’s music culture, the nearly 100 local bands on the program might seem overwhelming. Some wondered what makes 35 Denton different from any other weekend in or near the Square.

Similar to the atmosphere of SXSW, looms the feeling that about half the people you’re show-hopping with might be the next act.

Part of the excitement of these festivals is brushing shoulders with musicians, being in the mix of the music. But with locals accounting for half the lineup, this actually isn’t too far off from the norm.

Maybe this festival isn’t very different from any other day in Denton. And maybe that’s something to get excited about.

Featured Image: Capsula frontman Martin Guevara gets the crowd jumping at 35 Denton. The Argentinian band based in Spain is influenced by “psychedelic rock and sonic garage.” Photo by Byron Thompson – Senior Staff Photographer

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