The Gypsy Tea Room opted out of Friday night's New Music Festival, choosing instead to feature three non-Dallas acts, and the gamble mostly paid off. Then again, a lineup this good isn't exactly a "gamble." North Carolina's Rosebuds opened with an unexpected indie-rock recipe: three parts Britt Daniel and two parts Mates of State stirred into a heaping scoop of mod rock. Even if the result was shamelessly derivative, Ivan Howard's Daniel impersonation carried the catchy set very well, particularly when "Boys Love Girls" got the crowd to finally start dancing.
When Denton's Baptist Generals followed, I noticed something amiss onstage, and I'm not talking about the weird-looking guitarrón that Jeff Helland plays, or Scott Danbom's superb guest appearance on violin and keyboards. Jeff Ryan, who recently parted ways with Pleasant Grove, debuted as the Generals' new drummer. Rumors had been that Ryan left PG because of musical burnout and a desire to be with his family, so it was puzzling to see him onstage with a frequently touring band. The bigger surprise, though, was the increase in volume the Generals unveiled in new songs. They maintained the drunkard's charm that made No Silver, No Gold so captivating, but I'm curious how the Generals' acoustic tendencies will handle the louder drums and guitars on their next album.
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Headliners Starlight Mints know a thing or two about crashing local music festivals, as the Oklahomans stole the Dallas Music Festival last December. This year, however, technical difficulties and a busted kick drum took a bit of the punch out of a show that already relied heavily on pre-recorded backing tracks. Luckily, new songs like "Flips" took the band into even quirkier territory, but the band's boredom during fan favorites like "Black Cat" was painful to watch. Dump the pre-recorded tracks and have some fun next time, guys.