Until 7 p.m. last night, the Square seemed pretty much business as usual for a cold, wet afternoon in Denton. Well, except for all the people in black NX35 t-shirts hurriedly scuttling around from door to door like manic crabs.
Armed with clipboards, walkie-talkies and purposed demeanors, the busy "blackshirts" buzzing around the sidewalks were the first sign that something was, well, out of the ordinary. And, as the grey sky skies dimmed, it was increasingly obvious that this wasn't just an average Thursday night in Denton.
Say what you want about the bands that were playing at the eight venues around the Square being the same bands that play in town every other weekend. But, take it from someone who is up here every weekend: Last night, the vibe, and the energy, was also palpably different.
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The main criticism lobbed Chris Flemmons' way leading up to this event has been that NX35 is relying too heavily on local acts, making it little more than an average night in Denton. But even though last night, the first night of the conferette, was predominantly a showcase of local talent, there were a handful of performances by non-area natives, too. (Some from as close as Lubbock and Austin and others from as far away as Athens, Miami and Seattle.) And every venue that I made it to had a minimum of about 50 folks mingling, drinking and watching the shows--which, yes, speaks to the amount of people who did turn out for the event's first night. And nearly every show I caught started on time, too. Very unusual for Denton.
Keep this in mind,. though: Those of you wanting to take in some of the shows without having to buy the $50 or $65 wristbands will be pleased to know that the venues were charging the wristband-less $7 to get in the door. But, that price is per venue, per night--and, apparently, it will vary depending on the acts.
So, if you are thinking about club-hopping more than once a night, just do the math to see if springing for the $50 bands might save you some cash. Because, honestly? Other than getting in to see the speakers, the only other benefit to having a banded wrist is that walk-ups will be last on the admission totem pole when it comes to the more popular performances.
And, if you're heading to NX35 tonight, grab your umbrella and your beer money. I'll see you there...