Consider 2010 a Gestation Period for Denton Music
2010 started off strong in Denton. In March, the North by 35 Music Conferette (recently re-branded for 2011 as the 35 Conferette) brought a flurry of activity in the city's music community, both within the festival and in its satellite shows. For a few days, bands and solo artists from Denton and abroad convened in an orgy of shows and high-spirited revelry, culminating with a Flaming Lips performance in the North Texas State Fairgrounds.
But as post-festival glee began to taper off, Denton started slipping into a musical malaise—one characterized by a lack of excitement among both creators and listeners alike.
Perhaps due to the economy, expatriation or the lack of youngbloods taking initiative, the artistic downturn has been a major topic of discussion in Denton for the better part of 2010. It could simply be that people's creativity has turned inward, though.
"It seems like this has been a year when people are sitting down and recording," Daniel Zeigler of Teenage Cool Kids says.
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His point is not without merit—a host of local bands have albums slated for early 2011 release, including Vulgar Fashion, Old Snack, Wiccans and The Hope Trust, just to name a few.
As for the house show scene, the lack of DIY spaces—which became all-too-apparent with the closure of the Majestic Dwelling of Doom, The Schoolhouse and others—diminished people's opportunities to see bands in a live setting, with one notable exception. The Barn, a fairly new and successful DIY space, opened in the summer, but cannot host shows with enough frequency to make up for the hole left by its predecessors.
Among for-profit venues, the epidemic of the sub-$1 well drink has unfairly demolished any concept of cultivating a DJ-inspired music culture in the city for now, with Hailey's Club's five-year-running '80s Night resident DJG looking like a possible victim—along with Hailey's itself.
It wasn't all negative: 2010 saw a handful of Denton artists getting signed and releasing albums, including Corporate Park, Florene, Sarah Jaffe, Sundress and White Drugs.
And, on the immediate 2011 horizon, more positivity looms: The A-train scheduled to connect Denton to Dallas in June will probably be a boon for intercity travel, which will naturally stir up the music pot for the better.
2010 could possibly be explained as a gestation period for Denton music, with more recording and rearranging going on than performance. And, certainly, the work done in 2010 will likely spawn a healthy and vibrant 2011.
And, in the same old cyclical way, it must be said: The 35 Conferette is right around the corner.
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