On Saturday night, a sense of rapturous elation could be felt in the air in Denton. Why? Because the fall semester breathed its last lurid breaths, thereby freeing all those held captive by its ghastly talons.
Even if you were one of the few who didn't know that both of the city's universities held their Fall 2008 commencement ceremonies earlier in the day, it didn't take long to figure out that something was up: The bars, clubs and sidewalks were all packed with revelers, and buzzed graduates could be seen walking up to complete strangers ecstatically slurring, "I graduated today!"
And there was a great lineup of shows in Denton this night too—almost too many. Between the major venues and the DIYs, it took some serious strategery to try to make it to all the excellent sets booked on Saturday.
No complaints though, right?
"Having too many good shows can be a problem," jokes Bryan Denny of Denton-based D.H.S. Entertainment. "But it's not exactly a bad problem to have."
Unless you hate everything from indie hip-hop and punk to neo-frat and folk-tinged country rock, Saturday proved to be one of the best nights for shows in Denton in a long time.
The evening's shows started a little after the sun went down, as Spune Productions' annual Christmas concert kicked off at Hailey's. For those on a limited budget, Hailey's was the place to be: After paying $5 for admission, attendees were treated to free tacos and wassail and excellent performances by The Drams, Telegraph Canyon, Doug Burr, Dove Hunter and a handful of other local acts.
And even though John Congleton's recurring laryngitis forced The Paper Chase to cancel its appearance at Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, the venue still had Sarah Jaffe and The Boom Boom Box on its bill—and RGRS managed to get Astronautalis on board to round out the vacant slot on the bill. Celebrating his birthday by taking shots between songs, Astronautalis was visibly feeling no pain by the end of his set. Honestly, all over town, there was a noticeable spike in the number of drunken weekend revelers.
At 2 a.m., while the guys from The Drams were wrapping up their set at Hailey's to a thinning crowd, Milwaukee-based punk act Holy Shit! was tearing it up for an extremely packed house on Panhandle Street (not to be confused with Denton's "boutique" recording studio The Panhandle House).
There were dozens of other bands and venues busy on this night as well.
It was impossible to catch all of the first-rate bands, but while hopping from venue to venue, it was nice seeing many of the same faces throughout the night trying to catch it all.