For three days, 35 Denton is taking over downtown L’il d to bring all kinds of fun and awesomeness to town. We’ve got a roving team of intrepid writers who are hitting the shows and sharing their highlights throughout the fest.

Words by Alise Gray

Hella Zealous – Dan’s Silverleaf at 5:15 p.m.

The savoring sounds of synth carried through the beloved venue as the crowd eagerly enjoyed the dancey-rhythmic melodies of Hella Zealous. Donning black suits and untied bowties, this handsome duo delivered a I-don’t-want-to-stop-dancing persona to the Dan’s stage. This attitude quickly engaged the crowd who wantingly began to tap their feet and bob their heads before some fans went into full-fledge dance mode. Members Lee May and Jon Briggs teamed up over a year ago to create this energetic, laser-loving electronic force. If we had one complaint, it was that it wasn’t dark enough yet to properly enjoy the laser lights.

Dome Dwellers – Dan’s Silverleaf at 6 p.m.

The crowd quickly shifted and headed to the newly remodeled Dan’s patio to join Dome Dwellers for an intimate (or more like jam-packed) set where this high-energy group showcased their intricate and harmonious vocals and complex guitar riffs. Leaving the audience moved and mesmerized, Dome Dwellers has a distinct way of sucking you in and refusing to let you out sonically unscathed.

Class Actress – Main Stage 1 at 6:30 p.m.

D Magazine deemed Class Actress as modern-day disco and named them one of their 10 Must-See Bands at 35 (not from Denton). Following their advice, I challenged my electronic music naïvety and scouted out Elizabeth Vanessa Harper at Main Stage 1, who was projecting a high-energy vibe to the crowd — especially to the guy sporting a ’90s windbreaker, short shorts and combat boots. This Brooklyn-based synth-pop trio offered our small Texas town in what I hope was an unapologetically accurate depiction of the New York electronic scene — minus the intimate (and quite dark) setting of an underground club.

Ronnie Heart – PAAC at 7:30 p.m.

Texas-born singer/songwriter/dancer and former Neon Indian guitarist delivered a charismatic set to the PAAC stage Saturday. This nu-disco artist enthralled the crowd with his electro-funk performance —engaging and enticing the audience with his vibrant stage presence. Ronnie’s face-melting solos and heartbreaking harmonies left the room awestruck and grooving to his unique brand of soul, funk, pop and disco.

Stay tuned over the next couple of days for more of what we saw during 35 Denton 2016 and don’t forget to follow along on Instagram for more images of the fest!

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