How Much Music Can You See For Free In Denton?

north of the dial

Like many folks in Denton, I just bought my textbooks, which, yes, has left me quite broke. Still, I managed to scrounge up $5.85 between my coin jar and the floorboard of my car last Thursday night, and with that money, I decided to find out: How many shows can I catch in one night for less than 6 bucks? Here's how the night went.

8:37 p.m.: Hosting a bill assembled by Spooky Folk's Kaleo Kaualoku, Art Six Coffee House served as the perfect setting to catch four acoustic performances by area musicians. The cost: Free.

9:07 p.m.: Jesse Perry as Tiger Tooth and Paw sang some stunning, David Lynch-like folk songs, even pausing mid-set to explain to the rapt crowd that one song is about his being reincarnated as a deer and then killing his father. Good stuff. Promise.

9:41 p.m.: Ben Rodriguez of The Manned Missiles deftly hammered out a handful of powerful songs about gypsies, murder and hard drinking. And after spending $2.25 on an espresso, I concluded the obvious: An evening spent sipping coffee is considerably cheaper than one spent drinkin' alcohol.

9:49 p.m.: Kaualoku's turn. I planned to listen to one song and then leave, but his soulful laments about "the modern world " kept me riveted. I did take off before Ryan Thomas Becker's set, but only because I knew The Hydrant Café was hosting Gutterth's dual-CD-release show for Daniel Folmer and Doug Burr. That show, coincidentally, also featured four local artists. And it too was free.

10:18 p.m.: Arriving midway through one of Glen Farris' songs, I found that every seat in the Hydrant's upstairs room was already taken, leaving it squatting- or standing-room only. After Farris' excellent set, I marched across the street to Banter. It was open mic night, so, naturally, free admission.

11:07 p.m.: After enduring an acoustic rendition of Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek," I went back to The Hydrant where Burntsienna Trio was belting out its evil banjo music to a packed room of more than 60 people. Meanwhile, at J&J's Pizza, the R&B band Soul Bÿl played a free show for about two dozen people.

11:57 p.m.: After a few songs by Daniel Folmer, I shot over to The GreenHouse. I'd heard they hosted free jazz shows on Thursday nights, but entering the restaurant and bar I heard no jazz—only the unmistakable, rolling bass riff from Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog." The band was good and all, but after a half-hour with no jazz, I left.

12:39 a.m.: Somehow, sitting on the floor listening to Burr singing Psalms seemed a fitting way to end the night. Well, that, and still having change in my pocket. —Daniel Rodrigue

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Daniel Rodrigue
Contact: Daniel Rodrigue