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The summer doldrums have been especially unkind to Denton this year. With no legitimate house-show scene to speak of, the impact of the slow season has been intensified all the more. As such, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios' Free Week could not have come at a better time.
The event, which started in 2005, has become a yearly tradition for both the venue and the city. The shows, which are free save for the $5 cover for underage folks, are typically as packed as Rubber Gloves will get during any point in a given year. Perhaps most important about Free Week, though (other than the financial boon it has always proved to be for Rubber Gloves), is that it is an opportunity for new students in this two-university town to get a taste of the city's musical culture.
"Free Week has been a staple institution in Denton for years," says Shane English, who participated in Monday's "House of the RG DJs" event as a representative of the DISCIPLINE weekly. "It's a great place for new acts to get exposed to all the thousands of new people that get in town when school starts."
The city, which approximately doubles in size during the school year, revolves around the school year, and the music scene behaves accordingly.
"It's a really great idea doing it at the beginning of the year, because things here are so dependent on the school calendar that it always sets a precedent for what's going to happen for the rest of the year," says Marcus Webb, whose Monarchy Co. put together the Wednesday night Free Week show. According to Webb, Free Week is just as important in terms of the interaction between promoters as it is for the venue itself.
"Making it free is good so that a bunch of promoters can get, like, a social network-type of thing going," he says.
Featuring his own band, Sextape, the show Webb put together is the week's only all-electronic event, and, along with the rest of the Free Week lineup, it serves an example of the type of experimentation that Rubber Gloves has come to be known for in Denton.
"Free Week is about celebrating Rubber Gloves as a great venue and trying to show the new people who come into town that it's a great venue," says Michael Briggs, whose Gutterth Productions put together a quite diverse and very anticipated sixth and final Free Week show on Saturday.
"It's a pretty diverse show," Briggs says. "RTB2 followed by Pinkish Black is a really weird combination."
Although strange, it is typical of the kind of vibe that Rubber Gloves exudes — always a bit adventurous and not afraid to be grimy and dark.
Or, as Webb puts it, it's "the more punk-rooted, DIY and electronic venue in town."