Concert Reviews

Scenes From a Surprisingly Sunny Weekend at 35 Denton

35 Denton
With Charles Bradley, Biz Markie, Eliot Sumner and more
Downtown Denton
Friday to Sunday, March 11 to 13, 2016

A 35 Denton without rain? You've got to be kidding. Aside from a little drizzle early on Friday night, the weather cooperated all weekend up in Denton — a big ask for North Texas in March. And the festivities went off mostly without a hitch — even if someone did get arrested along the way. Over the course of three days, more than 100 bands converged on music venues, both indoor and outdoor, in and around the square. Headliners Charles Bradley and Biz Markie were the big draws, but there was a lot more to take in. Ed Steele was there to capture it all and share some of the highlights.
Richard Haskins was arrested before his set with the Wee Beasties Friday night. Wild Bill took the mic and performed to the packed crowd in J&J’s basement as a substitute. Afterwards Wild Bill took time to pose for a photo outside of J&J’s on the sidewalk.

Eliot Sumner performed on the Main Stage at 6:30 p.m. Sunday night to a large crowd. Sumner is the daughter of musician Sting and shares the same smoky voice and kinetic energy as her father. Many agreed Sumner was one of the major highlights of the festival. "I never stop moving. I live with my suitcase that’s about this big that’s got everything I need in it," Sumner said in an interview before the show. "The idea of settling gives me anxiety."
American funk, soul and R&B singer Charles Bradley performed on the Main Stage Saturday night at 8:30 p.m. Bradley became homeless at age 14, nearly died from a penicillin allergy, and watched his mother get murdered during a robbery. His music reflects the inner light in his soul and his belief that music can change the world.
Shaolin Death Squad helped bring a healthy dose of the masked and weird to 35 Denton. The band consists of Androo O'Hearn, Kenny Lovern, Gary Thorne, Matt Thompson, David O'Hearn and Kelsey Sharp. 
In 2015 Mark Moncrief was in an accident resulting in a six month coma and amputation of his left leg. Sunday night, Moncrief was brought on stage for the first time since his accident by his childhood friend Chris AV Avant (AV the Great) to perform.
Biz Markie played a mixture of '80s and '90s hip-hop favorites that had the crowd dancing and singing along. Toward the end of the set, Denton band Slobberbone came on stage to perform a cover of "Space Cowboy" and confetti canons fired streamers into the audience.
White Reaper brought a kinetic punk energy to the main stage at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Early in the set, the guitarist and bassist's cables became tangled, causing heavy bass reverb. Despite this snafu the band played with high energy, often climbing the speakers at the front of the stage.
The Single Issues performed at the Patterson Appleton Arts Center, also known as the Greater Denton Arts Council. Artwork from local artists that was selected as part of the “Arts Open Call” event was displayed behind the band on all of the walls in the PAAC.  Fifty percent of the sales of artwork benefitted the exhibition’s artists while remaining funds supported the education programs of the Greater Denton Arts Council. Sam Lao performed the Pokemon theme with Keytari on Sunday night at Harvest House. Keytari was originally formed via Rock Lottery, an annual event where musicians are randomly grouped and have 12 hours to create a band name and three to five songs, performing the same day for a live audience. 
Even putting aside the chaos of Haskins' arrest, J&Js' basement was a flurry of activity all weekend. Among the many acts showcased in the subterranean music haven was an especially loud and energetic duo from Fort Lauderdale called Killmama.
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