Rubber Gloves' Farewell Shows
With Lift to Experience, Record Hop, Slobberbone and more
Rubber Gloves, Denton
Friday to Sunday, June 3 to 5, 2016
Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios closed their doors for good this morning, but not before giving three days packed with 37 bands — all but one of which that hailed from Denton, and several of whom were playing their first show together again in years.
Ever since the news broke on May 4 it was clear that owner Josh Baish and talent buyer Garrett Gravley were going all-out to end Gloves' 19-year run with a bang. The entire weekend was a Denton music nerd’s dream come true. On what one stage can you see Corn Mo, Record Hop, the Baptist Generals, Fishboy, Terminator 2 and Mandarin all on the same weekend? Only at Rubber Gloves, of course.
The energy all weekend was raw, rough and powerful. Hell, people even tailgated outside on Saturday and Sunday. It was a marathon, too: Friday and Saturday programming ran for 13 hours straight, starting a 12:30 p.m. each day. But above all, this was the best weekend of programming Denton has seen in years. The local music festivals aren’t programming local music this well anymore. The only lineups that really rivaled this one were the legendary early days of the Fry Street Fair — which was both a special thing to consider, and also disappointing.
Highlights of Friday included seeing John Clardy on a solo drum set, roughly 20 people on stage for Problem Dogg and having the ability to hear again after being in the throes of Terminator 2. If you wanted to get into Rubber Gloves for free on Friday, all you’d have had to do was pick up an instrument and say you were in Problem Dogg. No less than seven guitarists, three bassists, three drummers and approximately infinity synthesizers started playing music randomly but together. (Though not exactly together, of course.)
Brent Best did the classic Denton double, singing front and center for Slobberbone one minute and slinging cold beers behind the bar the next. He was kept plenty busy, too, given that the bar had sold out of beer and whiskey by 10 p.m. on Sunday. By the time Lift to Experience went on, there were only about six bottles of liquor left on the bar.
Another 15 bands lined the schedule for Saturday, including the reunion of possibly the most anticipated band of the weekend, Record Hop. This was their first time playing on stage together in about four years, and the band announced that they’d be sticking with it for a while during their set. Fret not, Record Hop fans: You ought to be able to see them play live again real soon.
The doors opened at 3 p.m. on Sunday, which made for a (thankfully) shorter day after all the emotion that had overtaken to two-grind that proceeded it. That final day brought seven different, acts including Corn Mo, The Angelus, Dove Hunter and the last band of them all, Lift to Experience.
Sunday night had its ups and its downs. Dove Hunter, a four-piece Denton-Dallas band that includes original Rubber Gloves founder Jayson Wortham, announced publicly that they’d be breaking up during their set Sunday evening. Although this was a predetermined decision made weeks prior to the band taking the stage at Rubber Gloves, guitarist Will Kapinos confirmed that the change is effective immediately following the show last night.
Lift to Experience went on stage about an hour later than scheduled (a trend that happened all weekend), but did not disappoint. The symmetry couldn't have been better here: Kris Youmans was responsible for booking the Lift to Experience show before the club announced they were closing, and he was also responsible for booking some of the first shows in Rubber Gloves history. The band's front man, Josh T. Pearson, even helped build the outdoor stage back in the late '90s.
Having Rubber Gloves close is arguably one the greatest travesties to happen in Denton music, certainly in recent history. Then again, if a self-proclaimed "non-businessman" like Baish make the most DIY music venue in town last for nearly two decades, all hope is not lost. This weekend proved that Denton has the spirit to make it happen. The question is, can it do it regularly, when it's not already too late to make a difference?