Volume: 35 Denton – Denton, TX, 3/8-11/2012
The Jesus and Mary Chain took the stage just after 8:30 Wednesday as the final act of 2012’s 35 Denton festival. Delayed from their original Sunday night festival closing slot, the Reid brothers and company performed their first show in America since their 2007 Coachella appearance.
And thus this year’s installment of 35 Denton was coming to a close.
I cannot tell a lie, I wasn’t overly bowled over by the lineup this year for 35 Denton. And then scheduling conflicts made things even more difficult. Much like ACL’s 2011 lineup, I recognize that it was a better offering than last year, just not a lot I was interested in seeing this time. For me the main things to see were Scotland’s The Jesus and Mary Chain and San Francisco’s OM.
Last year there was enough room to bounce to and from venues with relative ease, unless you wanted to see a show at Rubber Gloves. It seemed this year the festival had grown enough that several performances were at the “one-in-one-out” capacity early in the night, leaving festival goers to homestead in the clubs where their biggest priority was on from an early point of the night, not daring to venture out into the night for the fear of no entry at another spot. Thursday night was a homesteading night for me from the get-go, staying at Rubber Gloves all night through Denton’s incredible Vaults of Zin to True Widow and fest priority OM. I split from OM a little early in an attempt to catch a little of Mikal Cronin’s set at The Labb, but alas it was not in the cards.
I was unable to make it on Friday due to a little 5 year anniversary for Leah and me. I can tell you with certain accuracy Doug Burr and The Burning Hotels were incredible. Bringing us to the misery that was Saturday. I would like to ask 35 Denton not to order cold rain for next year’s festival. Please. But through the rain I persevered as much as I could, catching some Atlas Sound, Best Coast and walking up to Bun B just as they broke into “Big Pimpin’”. The Do For It Records showcase at Abbey Underground was the only thing on my mind for the remainder of the evening. Only The House Harkonnen was going to fully salvage the day. And after a blistering set by Fort Worth’s The Phuss, it was going to take a bit of work. The Phuss were absolutely great and I implore you to get out and see them. Now. This was followed by a respectable set from The Spectacle (yep, I did that), the only thing in my way was Shaolin Death Squad. Who took forever. And ever. To an almost unfair level. I had talked 6 or so people into seeing The House Harkonnen, who ended up going on 42 minutes late, to no fault of their own. Due to the delay, all of those people left without seeing HK. The 30-ish minutes they got to play were well worth the wait, as they pummeled ears and scorched the earth with their ridiculous brand of metal/punk.
With the announcement of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s postponement, I had a decision to make. I wanted to see a couple of bands on Sunday, but that was in conjunction with the closing set from JAMC. I wish I was able to tell you right now how great The Oh-Sees, The Raincoats, and The Angelus were on Sunday, but with rising gas prices and another trip to Denton looming on Wednesday, I decided to forego Denton Sunday in order to make it out to the Denton Fairgrounds on Wednesday.
Added to Wednesday’s bill was psychedelic garage rocker Ty Segall in what was an instance of inspired booking. This somewhat made up a little for missing Mikal Cronin on Thursday, as Segall’s band tore through 30 minutes of a set I had no idea I’d get to see. A rather large crowd had gathered for this free show, and it was the right move on 35 Denton’s part for sure. Almost 20 years since I saw them last, The Jesus and Mary Chain emerged, taking the stage. Hitting career high points with “Blues From a Gun”, “Head On”, “Sidewalking”, “Some Candy Talk” and “Just Like Honey”, I was transported back to that Deep Ellum Live show in December of ’92, remembering… there’s just not that much to see. Absent were the ungodly fog machines shrouding the band in backlit wonder, leaving the Scottish post-punk legends naked and without a net. I love this band, and as I told a friend later, it was “brilliance though boredom”. It was one of those types of show where had I missed it I wouldn’t believe people telling me they left out of boredom. The strains of “Reverence” were ringing through the air as we made it to the car, officially ending my 35 Denton 2012 weekend.
This festival is doing many things right each year, and getting better each year. A couple of thoughts though. 1) 2:00 am for 4 straight nights is tough on those commuting each day. 2) I apologize if this is petty and sound like an ingrate, but if you send someone an e-mail, telling them what press credentials they have been allowed, make sure they get that level. I was informed I was to have full Level 2 access via e-mail, only to get Level 1 when I showed up. What reason was I given by the head of press? A very flippant “That was a typo”. No apology, nothing. Last year I was afforded 2 full press passes and busted my hump with 5 articles about the festival, believing that would be some good faith towards this year and years to come, but I guess not. Do not get me wrong. I fully appreciate the chance to attend and review the weekend. Maybe next year.
But I digress. I am looking forward to what 35 Denton pulls out of its hat for 2013. Can’t wait to see you all there!