Monday, March 11, 2013
Sunday at 35 Denton: Jam sessions gave way to quiet solo set to finish the fest
35D did it again.
Friday at 35 Denton: From folk to rap, audiophiles soaked up new tunes
Saturday at 35 Denton: The rain couldn't stop the funk
DENTON The closing day of 35 Denton offered up some tough love: The main stages were up and running after the torrential downpours from the day before, offering a slew of entertaining acts from across the country. But the bone-chilling wind was there at every turn, making us wonder if the rain was better.
Although attendance seemed lower all around this year, happy hipsters and other dedicated music fans made the best of the Sunday lineup in their winter wear, not willing to give up without a fight. Speaking of fights, we caught the best WWE-style wrestling ring smack in the middle of the 35 Denton yard. It was too funny to walk away.
Onto the music:
Chelsea Light Moving on Main Stage 2
Thurston Moore’s newest endeavor exposes another layer of the intricate guitarist/lead singer with an emphasis on temper-tantrum electric solos and monotone vocals. The Sonic Youth front man snagged #99 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists” list in 2011, and it’s easy to see why. Frenetic fingers and bristly pedals paved the way for unruly solos — white noise that pulled us in without warning. The amount of guitar work shifted the novel group away from his Sonic Youth roots, shedding more light on the raw talent than the rumbling vocals.
Although Moore’s stage banter added much-needed personality to the set, he was awkward and spacey the majority of the time. Jokes and stories chugged along at a pace that made us forget the point, drawing out subtle chuckles designed as filler more than sincere responses. The roller-coaster tempos perked up the freezing crowds, blasting the slowed songs with amped-up shocks of circling electric solos from the '90s. Moore went off on “Empires of Time,” a single from their debut record out this month, with an unwavering rant of stretched strings and static pedals that faded in and out at a turbulent octave.
Somebody’s Darling at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern
The small restaurant/bar was filled to the brim for Somebody’s Darling — one of the last sets of the festival. Their from-the-gut style is helmed by front woman Amber Farris’ scratchy, soulful bellow and the band's twangy guitar solos. The Dallas rockers came out, guns blazing, with their current single “Cold Hands,” a swinging, bluesy number. Lead guitarist David Ponder’s confident strums are like a sun-kissed glass of tea – sweet, refreshing, and leaving us wanting more.
A fitting cover of Faces' “Stay With Me” continued the roaring set, showcasing keyboardist Michael Talley’s swift fingers. There’s a chemistry here that can’t be faked — the effortless way they dive in and fade out within tracks shows their history. Most of the band has been together for five years, toiling away and trying to get their name out there. With a quick scan of the small patio, it looks like the debut of their sophomore release, Jank City Shankdown, has kick-started the process.
Doug Burr at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern
It is always pleasantly surprising the way that Denton musician Doug Burr can quiet a room with his beautiful indie folk melodies. Burr’s performance at Sweetwater Grill & Tavern during 35 Denton proves that there can be more said in the hushed stillness of just an acoustic guitar, piano, and the slide of an electric guitar than all the bells and whistles that goes along with a full backing band.
During Burr’s intimate show, he rarely looked up, choosing to remain focused on his charming storytelling so delicate in its resplendent simplicity. Burr has a rare gift of being able to keep his audience captivated, especially after a raucous performance by Somebody’s Darling in the same venue. Burr was able to charm and enchant festivalgoers for a nice sendoff on the last night of 35 Denton.
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