9 Ways to Make Denton Music Great Again

The kids are alright: Putting Denton in their hands is a safe bet for the music scene
The kids are alright: Putting Denton in their hands is a safe bet for the music scene
Ed Steele

Okay now, hear us out on this one. Last Friday, we ran a piece arguing for the benefits of Denton bringing in a larger, mid-sized music venue to help make the scene a little more robust. Not everybody liked that idea, which is fine; the point of healthy conversation is to get people from different sides talking. And we do it because we care: Seeing a strong, vital Denton is crucial to music all across North Texas.

So let's go one step further with this, shall we? Why stop with just the one proposition? We've put together a nine-point plan of what we think will help make Denton the best it can be. Hate us for it you will, but think about what's best for the scene we all love.

See also: Denton Needs a Bigger Venue to Keep From Flatlining The 7 Types of Bands You'll Find in Denton

Chill With the House Venues

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Denton has long cherished its house show scene, and while that's not a bad thing (in fact, it's a very good thing) you could argue that the house venue scene is holding the town back. With bands and promoters concentrating solely on house shows, you get a stagnation in the venue scene, as bands who are used to playing for free, and having their friends come for free, never see the point of going into a venue, thus never building a relationship with the venues' bookers. Get out of the houses and into the venues. Doing so will strengthen the venues, the bands, cause growth and bring better acts into town to play. It's not rocket science. Jaime-Paul Falcon

Have Your Own Damn Music Blogs

At one point there was a ton of press in Denton: We Denton Do It (which died, and is now back from the grave), The Dentoneer, We Shot JR and The Denton Record Chronicle (the latter once had an alt-weekly style thing). However, music press in the city is dry at best these days. Whether you believe it or not, music press is part of any good music scene's ecosystem. H. Drew Blackburn

Expand the Rail Hours

Listen, Denton, you have a light rail system that drops off less than a football field away from one of your best venues, but no one uses it because you fucking stop service at 11 p.m. on weekdays, and around midnight on Saturday with zero Sunday service. How the hell are people supposed to take advantage of the service when the times are so limited? Denton shows are notorious for getting a late start, and I-35 is utterly and completely fucked, so going up north for a show is a beating. Expand your hours, start service on Sundays, and more people will make the trip. Jaime-Paul Falcon

Take Hip-Hop More Seriously

Let's face it: Denton has a diversity problem. Every event is painted one of two popular Pantone hues: "Cast of Friends" or "Etsy Shopper." If you aren't an ardent fan of punk rock or delicate rock that gets described as "indie" but is pretty much middle class music, you aren't swimming in a sea of live music options. That said, if you're into anything guitar-based, you'll live. Rap, however, is a frightfully scarce commodity in Denton. There are local artists (AV the Great, S. Good) and plenty of Dallas-based MCs that could use some shine, a Violitionist Session or a set at a Rubber Gloves. Rap is appreciated by people in most places, but Denton sweats the technique. H. Drew Blackburn

 

No, Richard Haskins isn't one of the creepy old dudes, but he'll be flattered if you think he is
No, Richard Haskins isn't one of the creepy old dudes, but he'll be flattered if you think he is
Ed Steele

Start a Promoter Mafia

In Dallas there's a group of promoters who jointly abide by a code of honor. They smoke cigars and occasionally fight over who will book Toro Y Moi on Valentine's Day, because that show would make a fucking killing. Speaking of killing, if you cross these folks, you end up in the Trinity River. None of these things are really true, but the hard working circle of promoters in Dallas keep the scene active and exciting. Imagine if Denton had a few different families with top notch taste bringing in bands. It's an offer that would be hard for any band to refuse. H. Drew Blackburn

Be More Open to Jazz Music

The annual Denton Arts and Jazz Festival is okay. It's a great event in theory, but in reality it's basically a family-oriented fair with jazz music thrown in. It will always be baffling that Denton is home to what is debatably the most prestigious jazz college in the entire world, yet venues book jazz bands even less frequently than they do rappers. And when they do, it's typically a musician who's one billion years old performing at 4 p.m. on a Saturday. It would behoove everyone to open the scene up to the jazz students. Then they might start coming around and buying alcohol, which will make money. Diversity is a moral goal, but it's also a good business decision. H. Drew Blackburn

Stop With the Old Guys Making Women Uncomfortable

You know that expression permanent residents of college towns use? "I keep getting older, but they stay the same age." With two universities within two miles of each other, some Denton dudes take this mindset to extreme levels of gross. Coming from someone who tended bar on Fry Street, trust me when I say some of the older patrons' thirst is all too real. Any gal who is introduced to a male regular (or owner) of a given establishment has a high chance of eventually being subjected to unwelcome advances. Depending on how tanked the manchild is, she may end up caught in a hug and a kiss situation. And then he'll probably forget he ever met her. That's not friendly. That's creepy. Stop it, guys. Anita Riot

Bring Back the Fry Street Fair

Call us crazy, but a festival that's right off campus and surrounded by a bunch of businesses seems like a really good idea. Maybe that's just us, but the Fry Street Fair ran for literally ever, and people seemed to enjoy it. Kids, stoners, college folks, parents and music fans filled Denton's streets and partied hard while listening to music. No need for marketing, either. People are bound to show up because it's like, right there. It would basically sell itself. Jaime-Paul Falcon

Let the Young Take Over

Despite the fact that every worthwhile band to come from Denton is under the age of 30, what do people talk about when it comes to Denton? Don Henley. Roy Orbison. Meat Loaf. Fucking Meat Loaf. What else ... Norah Jones? In the ears of the nation, Denton sounds like a badly DJ-ed Starbucks. People like Andrew Savage should be on the forefront of everyone's minds. Despite the fact that he split for Brooklyn, he's killing it in Parquet Courts. Let's talk about how he made his bones in Denton. Music scenes thrive because of the kids who grind it out and hold it down. Denton has those kids in spades. James Khubiar

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