Fewer stages, weaker lineup, bad weather and now headliners JAMC pushed to Wednesday. Starting to sound more like the moment after the Rosebud moment for this festival.
By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
The Jesus & Mary Chain
Main Stage 1, 8 p.m.
This grab was no doubt 35 Denton's "Rosebud" moment, and a smart one indeed, given the demographic of the fest. The brothers Reid haven't performed live since 2007, and don't have any new material to tour behind, but do longtime JAMC fans really want new stuff? Their five-album run, starting with 1985's Psychocandy and ending with 1994's Stoned and Dethroned (sorry, Munki, I wanted to like you) remains the blueprint for many contemporary bands doing the reverb-on-the-vocals/fuzz-pedal dog and pony show.
Andy's, 10:30 p.m., Saturday
Andy's, 9:30 p.m., Sunday
In a recent post on 35 Denton's blog, Creative Director Kyle La Valley wrote: "Daniel Fried of Bad Sports is the frontman of Denton's finest punk rock outfit, Video. I do declare he's the best frontman in Denton." And when Fried and Austin's equally talented Orville Neeley (OBN IIIs) share vocal duties as Bad Sports, well, it's a one-two punch of unforgettable, larger-than-life punk rock. Both bands released killer full-length albums in 2011: Video's Leather Leather on Denton's Play Pinball! Records and Bad Sports' Kings of the Weekend on Portland's Dirtnap Records.
Gardens & Villa
The Labb, 12:30 a.m.
This California act knows how to make groovy psychedelics feel more urgent than lackadaisical. The Secretly Canadian quintet is using 35 Denton as a send-off before a whirl of festival stages and opening slots leads them into summer, the perfect season for their music. Last year's self-titled debut, produced by Richard Swift, explores pop, New Wave, psych and the great beyond.
Hailey's, 12:30 a.m.
Brooklyn's Bruno Coviello and Shannon Funchess capture the androgyny of the '80s through shadowy synth, expressive vocals and a stage presence that channels both Grace Jones and Peter Murphy. Light Asylum is a relatively young band, but Funchess is no music scene rookie: She's been featured on tracks by TV On the Radio, Telepathe, TK Webb and !!!. Look for a follow-up LP to last year's Tension EP on Mexican Summer in May.
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, 12:30 a.m.
Moving their home base from the Bay area to Wisconsin, duo Peaking Lights (Aaron Coynes and Indra Dunis) created one of the more critically acclaimed releases of 2011 with their full-length, 936. A spacious, dub-inspired vibe serves as the backbone to their hypnotic sound, punctuated by looped synth, tapes and Dunis' spectral vocals. Peaking Lights bring a unique pop sound to the table, one dripping with mystery yet wearing a familiar scent.
Never fear, hip-hop heads: The 35 Denton lineup has more than enough to whet your whistle. Those who lean more toward the hard-hitting, smoke-filled aura of Southern rap can partake in Houston legend Bun B (8 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage 1) or Huntsville, Alabama, duo G-Side (12:30 a.m. Thursday, Andy's), themselves disciples of UGK. More into the underground sound? Hit up the airy jams of the young Oakland duo Main Attrakionz (11:30 p.m. Saturday, Hailey's). Detroit emcee Danny Brown (12:30 a.m. Saturday, Hailey's) took the rap world by storm last year with his buzzsaw lyrics and trademark frankness, continuing his city's vibrant history of producing seminal hip-hop artists. And some of your favorite locals will also be on stage, including red-hot up-and-comer -topic (9:30 p.m. Saturday, Hailey's). Fresh off the release of their debut EP with a full-band lineup, Sore Losers (4:15 p.m. Saturday, Main Stage 1) will show off the live show that's wowed not only Trees, but also The Sundance Film Festival, which they attended in January. Also, be on the lookout for a rare show from Damaged Good$ (10:30 p.m. Saturday, Hailey's), who've kept things a bit low-key lately. Expect something new from the 2009 DOMA hip-hop winners.
This year's 35 Denton features arguably the best national lineup to date, but there's a formidable contingent of local talent as well. Check out some of these must-see Denton acts or regret it for at least a few days after:
Dim Locator: Will Kapinos will slide-guitar your ass into oblivion. (11:30 p.m. Thursday, Sweetwater)
Boxcar Bandits: Some of the best virtuosic bluegrass this side of the Pecos. (12:30 a.m. Thursday, Sweetwater)
Dust Congress: Sophisticated and intelligent banjo rock. (11:30 p.m. Sunday, Dan's Silverleaf)
RTB2: Think the bastard children of The White Stripes and The Black Keys, but there's nothing gray about them. (11:30 p.m. Saturday, Dan's Silverleaf)
Shiny Around the Edges: Many parallels to the band Low. Hypno-rock, perhaps. (10:30 p.m. Friday, Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios)
The Angelus: They now belong to Dallas, but still one of the best slowcore acts to come out of Denton. (10:30 p.m. Sunday, Dan's Silverleaf)
Old Warhorse: Gruff outlaw country-rock at its finest. (11:30 p.m. Saturday, Sweetwater)
Warren Jackson Hearne and Le Leek Electrique: Fantastic singer-songwriter now armed with a big band. (10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sweetwater)
Cartright: Fist-pumping acoustic guitar that rocks harder than most electric acts. (9:30 p.m. Friday, J&J's)