Festival attendees were buzzing around town from sunup to well past sundown on Saturday, March 14, 2015. More than 109 bands took to 16 different stages housed by 13 different venues in beautiful downtown Denton – all in one day! Almost half of our entire lineup played on Saturday. And how was it, you ask? Let us tell you about it..
Staff writer Morgan Gentry was on top of her festival game during the weekend. She started her Saturday afternoon off with Moth Face at J&J’s Pizza. Sandra Davalos’s haunting voice and hypnotic drum sounds greeted Gentry upon entry (see what I did there?). Her echo-enhanced melancholy sound and heavy synthesizers sounded like Crystal Castles and PJ Harvey got together for an album. It was clear she isn’t much of an extroverted performer; her music didn’t call for that kind of fuss anyway.
The basement wasn’t packed but the crowd was definitely intrigued. She mentioned her fun fact: Davalos plays all the instruments that are being used on every track. She records each instrument then samples them into the catchy beats we all rocked to. “I Would Wait For You” and “La Luz” are a few tracks we dig. Be sure to check out the rest of her music on her soundcloud.
After that it was straight over to Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios for a string of great bands. First up, Rat Fist. The gnarly, rambunctious band brought Rubber Gloves to a peak. Punk kids jumping around, heads on the verge of spiraling off and enough noise rock to leave your ears ringing – all that was missing was beer being thrown around. Recently formed by No Age’s Randy Randall and Pissed Jeans’ Sean McGuinness, this band was definitely on our list to check out. It was worth every loud moment. Check out “Disrupt Yr DNA” and get familiar.
After Rat Fist demolished the stage, it was time for Denton’s sweethearts of Layer Cake to perform. The beloved all-girl, dreamy, power-pop band drew in a full crowd and didn’t disappoint. They brought their charm and harmonized melodies that Denton missed oh so much. With a few new tracks sprinkled in and cat ears in place, the girls put on a good show.
Ethereal and the Queer Show took the stage after Layer Cake. This local new age duo made felt like you were sailing on a fifth dimensional cloud. Their sound is so airy and poppy that festival attendees couldn’t help but dance along with singer/wicked dancer, Juliana Dieterich. “I can’t put their music into words, I think it’s better experienced than written about,” Gentry shares. So, check out their tunes here.
Meanwhile at Dan’s Silverleaf, Ded Kra-Z & Princess Eud played their first of two shows during the festival weekend. The Haitian band breathed energy into the crowd with their unique and relaxed vibes. Their music had the crowd moving together, entranced by the performance at hand.
After Ded Kra-Z & Princess Eud were off the main stage at Dan’s, the patio quickly filled for Paige Bryan’s set. The R&B-pop singer has an amazing vocal range, catchy lyrics, and an amazing overall vibe. Her songs had us happily swaying back and forth to the beat. Her back up dancers were a nice addition to the laid-back patio vibe. Bryan is a natural born performer, and boy did we enjoy her show! Oh, by the way did y’all know her dad is Sinbad?
As if it wasn’t cool enough that we had already packed out day full of amazing music, the freaking ZOMBIES headlined the Main Stage. I think it’s safe to say this show was fantastic. You wouldn’t know these guys were older based on sound alone. Colin Blunstone’s voice still flawlessly soared along with each note. We really enjoyed their warm stories leading to their timeless tunes and the entire bands energy levels. This was definitely a once in a lifetime experience and we are glad to have to have marked it off our lists.
Hailing from Lost Angeles, Kim & The Created tore down Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios with their surf-punk, gothic-garage melting pot of a sound. As if her onstage performance wasn’t enough, during “Sea Creature Crawl” Kim crawled through the crowd. They’re worth checking out live and online. Just make sure you give both a shot and thank us later.
The Detroit dudes of electro-pop, aka Jamaican Queens, took to the stage at Denton’s newest outdoor venue, Harvest House. Easily one of our favorites sets of the weekend; these guys had Harvest House at capacity! Standing still wasn’t optional during their set. They had all of the right dance, hip hop, and pop elements to get anyone to rock to the beats and funky lyrics. Word on the street is that Harvest House sold out of their well whiskey that night. (We <3 Harvest House!)
Staff writer Danielle Longueville started her evening at Hailey’s for Felt & Fur’s set. Denton’s very own never cease to amaze us with how intriguingly beautiful the bond of music and technology can be. The reverberating, almost maniacal sound of Aliszha Pennington’s vocals blankets the post 90’s grunge core-esque instrumentation cranking out of their colossal amplifiers sends listeners back to what feels like the Matrix, but we took both pills. Their underground following remains forever faithful as Hailey’s was as packed as ever for 35 Denton this year, complete with enchanted dancers and a gaggle of hipsters who almost started to seem as if they were enjoying themselves.
After Felt & Fur, Longueville hopped over to Dan’s to catch Warren Jackson Hearne & Le Leek Electrique. To hear a simple, familiar note can rouse waves of emotions and memories from that one night, with those friends at that one bar, with that one band with a tune that strikes the very core. That note holds the power to bring it all on home, even thousands of miles away. Warren Jackson Hearne & Le Leek Electrique are in clear possession of such a talent. The words, the passion and intensity of WJH seem to pervade the souls of his congregation. This storyteller of a man knows how to capture attention not just with his vocal integrity, but the virtue in his words as well. WJH’s lyrical genius conveys love, life, and passion in the most intricate ways. Partner-in-crime and drummer Tex Bosley remains a man of true composure throughout his playing. His energy is high and tight, though his composure remains serene. He and WJH share the same comfort and ease in their playing and with themselves both on and off stage; a sign of true confidence stemmed from years of hard work and profound work ethic. I will always recommend a show by these fellows.
The return of Space State to the streets of Denton could not have been more successful, nor more beautiful. Lead vocalist Lauren Ramirez revived her ethereal, almost celestial aura as frontwoman at Banter Bistro for a night of new songs and new sounds for new fans. It was a refreshingly pleasant experience to simply sit and observe the genial creativity harvested by this quartet of true psychedelic rockers. The effective use of reverb, the perfect placement of the wah’s and wham’s within the guitar licks, all tastefully executed to force one to sit back and think, “damn, these guys are the real deal.” Space State means business, absolutely no question about that. We are on the edge of our seats until the announcement of upcoming tour dates and shows for this epic, epic band.
Overall, we would say that it was a pretty dang successful day. Our ears are ringing with the best tunes, our feet are tired, and dammit – we had a good time. The best part is we’ve heard a lot of really great feedback from not only the bands but our festival attendees as well. You guys rock, and we wouldn’t want to do all of this without you! Stay tuned for Sunday’s recap and more photos and events from 35 Denton 2015. Be sure to mark your calendars for March 13-15, 2016 for the return of 35 Denton Music Festival! You won’t want to miss it!
Words by: Sara Button, Danielle Longueville, & Morgan Gentry.
Images by: Shaina Sheaff, Jordan Fraker, Thorpe Griner, Hillary Head, Patrick Kratz, & Jonathan Silverberg.