It's hard to believe that there are still two more days and nights of solid programming for this year's North by 35 Music Conferette. Because, with yesterday's very well-received daytime programming events and last night's solid back-to-back lineups at nearly every turn, this year's NX35 has already obliterated the bar set with last year's inaugural conferette. And, The Flaming Lips have yet to take the stage and blanket the fairgrounds with confetti.
Last night, with noticeably more foot traffic around the Courthouse-on-the-Square and the area venues, finding parking within a close proximity of downtown was becoming more of a crapshoot.
So, sidenote: If you see a spot, take it. There's probably not a "better one" somewhere else. And, that goes for today's free Flaming Lips, Midlake and Stardeath and White Dwarfs show as well. I'd advise arriving plenty early and plan on having to walk, as the parking at the fairgrounds is limited.
On the complaint front, after two evenings full of frighteningly good bills at most of the venues, the only real, re-occurring complaint has to do with the pocket-friendly NX35 Program Guide and it's lack of show times. But, look, it's a music festival in Denton, so even if there were big-bold show times printed in the guide, we all know they'd be off kilter by 10 p.m. anyway.
So, if you don't want to walk in and hear "thanks for watching our set, we're so-and-so" over the final notes of a favorite band, get to your venues early. (That's how music festivals work, folks.)
But, just because you get there early doesn't mean you'll get to skip the line; venues don't seem to be giving "preference" to the black wristbands. I mean, you still have to wait in line and have your ID swiped before you can enter. Though, once you're "in" at a particular venue and they've stamped or Sharpied your hand or added another wristband on your arm, then re-entry is a piece of cake.
So, I'd advise going to your planned headlining venue early for your ID swipe in.
Because, come sundown, last night's North by 35 Music Conferette was all about the lines. By 8 p.m. the Eight Track Museum's opening featuring Brave Combo was one-in one-out and by 9:00 p.m. Dan's Silverleaf was at capacity for ODYSSEY (formerly This Old House). And, for the rest of the night, seemingly every turn yielded another line or another at-capacity venue.
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The Boiler Room had a line all night. (Seriously--even after HEALTH had wrapped up its there was still a line to get in, though no more bands were on the bill.) But, that was OK, because waiting in line for 20 minutes was worth it to catch the last few minutes of PVC Street Gang's fevered set and all of Record Hop's rousing set while waiting to catch HEALTH. The Boiler Room was packed with people--not like the last time the Los Angeles-based band play for a meager Dallas croud in Deep Ellum.
But, as the night wore on and the venue neared capacity, there was a general feeling of being trapped at Boiler Room for fear that if you popped over to Hailey's for even a second (to check out what I hear were great sets by Fergus & Geronimo and Woven Bones) you may return to find the place one-in-one-out.
HEALTH played a fantastic, spastic set, to a packed house, and though the only other act I was able to catch was Indian Jewelry, a quick #NX35 Twitter feed search reveals that all of the headlining acts seemed to impress.
Like I said, this NX35 really has risen the bar. Can't wait for Day Three.