By Jim Schutze
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By Anna Merlan
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When it comes to dance floor-filled DJ nights in Denton, Hailey's Club has handily kept the market cornered for the last couple of years—especially after DJ Nature left his weekly at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, taking The Party further south down Interstate 35 to Dallas.
But in the last month, some bars and clubs around Denton have started adding weekly DJ nights (and not just Top 40 DJs nights like the Fry Street bars have). Mable Peabody's Beauty Parlor and Chainsaw Repair just launched Dance Fierce with the DJitis Collective on Wednesdays and Rubber Gloves has added Sun Club on Thursday nights.
Until the DJ collective known as Sun Club started its weekly, Rubber Gloves owner Josh Baish says maybe 20 to 30 people would show up to the venue on a typical Thursday when a band wasn't playing. The trio of Bryce Isbell (aka Fur), Dylan McGraw (aka Sid Spinoza) and Gray Gideon (aka Teamwork!) spins everything from house and rave from the '90s to underground disco tracks from the '70s. The cuts are deep enough that fellow Denton-based DJ Joey Liechty (aka Yeah Def) says, "Sun Club digs deeper than an undertaker trying to bury Big Tex." And since the trio kicked off its first set just three weeks ago, the average attendance on Thursdays has already tripled—a pretty remarkable feat considering that, on Thursdays, only a few blocks away, Hailey's hosts its ever-popular and heavily attended '80s Night With DJ G.
So, the obvious question: Why create a David vs. Goliath type dance-off?
"It is kinda a conflict," Sun Club's Isbell admits. "And we're all actually friends with DJ G, so I feel kinda bad. But it's just something for those people who may be tired of '80s night."
And that's exactly what Baish and Rubber Gloves had been thinking before Isbell approached them about starting up a weekly DJ night: "We'd wanted to do something like this for a while," Baish says. "As an alternative to '80s Night, I mean. It's been a Denton staple for so long that we thought people may be looking for something new." In addition to Sun Club on Thursdays, next month, DJ G will also be performing at Rubber Gloves on Wednesdays for a set called Left of the Dial (no relation).
"Live music will still be our focus, first and foremost," Baish says. "But I think that having DJ nights a couple nights a week is a good thing."
Still, Rubber Gloves and Mable's aren't the only ones thinking along these lines. Last week, on Fat Tuesday, a new dance club held its grand opening with DJ Krave and reached its 525-person capacity by 11:30 p.m. The club's name: Lucid. Yeah, that pretty much says it all. —Daniel Rodrigue