Saturday, March 10, 2012
Friday at 35 Denton: Baptist Generals, Whiskey Folk Ramblers, Burning Hotels, Hood Internet, and more (March 9)
The Hood Internet and Burning Hotels stole the evening.
Just as shows at 35 Denton Friday night kicked off, word whirled through the crowds that Sunday night headliner The Jesus and Mary Chain canceled their show and had to reschedule for Wednesday at the North Texas State Fairgrounds. But that didn't seem to dampen the atmosphere on Friday, which featured lots of well-known local bands and long lines for their shows. It's clear that this is 35 Denton's busiest festival yet.
The two main outdoor stages were uncovered Friday night on the downtown Denton square. Complete with a row of food trucks, vendors, and one stunning jumbo screen, the main stage really felt as much a testament to the progress of 35 Denton as did the concerts scheduled.
Austin's Cowboy and Indian were a fitting group to get things kicked off on the main stages. They started their thumping, Americana rock set in front of a small crowd of early arrivers that quickly swelled to a few hundred by the time the band had finished. And the crowd didn't stop growing.
By the time Whiskey Folk Ramblers took the stage, the sun was setting and the party was kicking into full swing at 35 Denton. Whiskey Folk Ramblers seem incapable of disappointing their audience, and Friday's set was no different. A team of people passed out Whiskey Folk bumper stickers to audience members, and by the end of their set, the band had created its own pep rally.
Denton super group Baptist Generals brought out the big local names. The band has included Paul Slavens, Jeff Ryan (Sarah Jaffe, Crushed Stars, Pleasant Grove), Peter Salisbury (History at our Disposal, Mind Spiders), Ryan Williams (Boxcar Bandits), Jason Reimer (History at our Disposal), Chris Flemmons, David Pierce, and Charles Brunswick. This collaborative effort has a folksy tone, resembling a combination of Centro-Matic and the Flaming Lips without the psychedelic spin. The show at 35 Denton was Baptist Generals' only one before their upcoming album release. Fans have waited since 2003 for a new album.
The guys played a comfortable set early on in the evening, rarely talking between songs. Surprisingly, there were few jam sessions or sporadic solos from the experienced rockers. They instead played a downhome set of soft guitar strums mixed with Flemmons' shaky chords.
Veteran indie rockers the Mountain Goats closed the outdoor stages on Friday, giving the substantial crowd a well-rounded set. Front man John Darnielle not only cracked jokes every chance he had, he also told the stories behind their unconventional lyrics and songwriting background. The California trio has been around since 1991, so it came as no surprise that they decided to forgo a set list and play whatever they or the crowd desired. No matter how low the temperatures continued to drop (and they did), the crowds stayed in place for the quirky band.
Jessie Frye has never been more confident than she is right now. Not one to shy away from the spotlight, Frye has now learned to command it. She displayed that command in full force during her opening set at Banter on Friday. "Tonight," she said in a hushed voice, "is all about sexual tension." Then she burst into songs from her debut album, Fireworks Child. We're seeing the formation of a must-see artist in Frye.
The craziness of 35 Denton came to a head at the Burning Hotels show at Hailey’s, which was over capacity before the Fort Worth duo even started. For the lucky few that got in, the show was just as exhilarating and dance-worthy as ever. New and old fans have enjoyed their newest '80s inspired self-titled album because it just makes you want to move. Denton’s own Frye hopped onstage for a short run during “Always,” singing alongside Chance Morgan.
We'd say The Hood Internet put on the set of the evening Friday at Hailey's -- or at least, the most interactive. It didn't take long after the Chicago duo started their set for 60 people to swarm them on stage. Their mashup-heavy dance tunes brought out some moves that just couldn't be contained on the dance floor. It was an all-out party that was impossible not to enjoy.
Julianna Barwick closed the night fittingly in the quiet yet open coffee shop Banter. The Brooklyn-based singer brought a style all her own to the rock-based festival. Her ambient tone stems from samples of her own angelic vocals that are looped together with a piano or percussion segment as a base. The eclectic crowd paid close attention to her method and gave her the hushed attention her music requires to experience the full effect. Barwick came off as quite the hometown girl, with long and flowing brown hair, a big voice, and a big smile.
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