Wow. The Flaming Lips put on quite the performance. There's no way to even start recapping day three of the North by 35 Music Conferette without mentioning the biggest rock spectacular Denton's ever hosted.
To call the show memorable would be the understatement of the decade. The show was eventful enough, what with thousands of folks arriving to the North Texas State Fairgrounds early enough for Stardeath and White Dwarfs smoke-tacular set. Which was followed by an unforgettable sunset performance by Denton's own Midlake.
But that was before The Flaming Lips' powered up a giant video screen, thereby bringing to life an immense dancing rainbow-colored goddess who literally birthed the band on stage.
Of course yesterday's The Flaming Lips show will also be remembered for the less than electric and colorful points--like when the power to the stage went down twice at key moments of the band's set. But, the electricity was quickly restored both times, and the band kept right on playing through its set no worse for the wear.
And, thanks to the gracious nature of The Lip's grey-suited frontman Wayne Coyne, the crowd didn't seem to mind the outages either.
Well, the rag-tag band of NX35 volunteers pulled it off, huh?
The move to the fairgrounds, in my opinion, was a godsend. From parking, to finding a good vantage point for the stage to getting herded out after the show, the only thing that presented much of a hassle was the drawn out process required to get a beer--one had to wait in line to get ID'd, then wristbanded, before waiting in line to buy a ticket before they could then wait in line to get a beer. Totally worth it, though, for a ice-cold one in a plastic bottle.
Now, I'm not normally one to start bandying about the whole "best concert I've ever seen" line, like, well, a lot of people after the free show. Just read those Twitter feeds from last night or ask around Denton today, because last night in the bars and venues following the show, the response was overwhelmingly positive. And, after racking my brain, I think it's safe to say that last night's concert definitely cracked the top five. If you weren't there, you missed out.
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And, honestly, writing about it at this point feels a little weird, like it hasn't had enough time to sink in.
But, that spectacular show at the fairgrounds only accounted for three of the 40-plus other acts playing sanctioned NX35 stages last night about a mile and a half away. And, though every participating venue near Denton's Courthouse on the Square wasn't chock-a-block with people throughout the evening (although Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios was packed for Telegraph Canyon's pitch-perfect set, and at least Hailey's and Dan's were, too, for the Black Angles and Slobberbone, respectively) there were good-sized crowds at every turn--whether it was for Dan Montgomery at Sweetwater or for Denton/Portland-based Sarah Reddington's notable reunion show at Andy's or Austin's Minorcan impressing the folks upstairs at The Hydrant. The Asthmatic Kitty sponsored stage at Texas 8 Ball too drew a nice turnout for both Shiny Around the Edges and I Heart Lung's sets.
Sarah Reddington's doozie of a set would have been a memorable one, even without Tex Winter's rabble-rousing dedication of a song to some rather dour-looking cops near the back of the room. (He'd just been making some 420 references.) And, in the clubs and all over downtown, the fire marshal, Denton County Sheriff's Department and Denton PD had very visible presence around the Square--from sidewalk-parked squad cars to pairs of officers on foot, bicycles and motorcycles.
But, from what I saw, the increased presence of officers wasn't needed. People were in markedly high spirits, especially all the black-shirted NX35 volunteers and organizers. Seemed like everyone was still riding the Wayne Coyne contact high. But, who knows?