The 10 Must-See Bands at 35 Denton

Savage and the Big Beat, 11:30 p.m. Thursday at Sweetwater: A piano-driven operatic rock tour de force, Savage and the Big Beat, out of Denton, are tons of fun. Their newest EP, Love and Hunting, plays like a pop musical, like something Queen or the later Beatles or even later, more flamboyant Elliott Smith might have written.

Brutal Juice, 6 p.m. Friday on Main Stage One: Back in the early days of Brutal Juice, lead singer Craig Welch would stub cigarettes out on his tongue and forehead, and perform yoga-like head stands while screaming into the microphone. Their savage metal onslaught will no doubt be a pit-inducing affair.

Roky Erickson, 7 p.m. Friday on Main Stage One: Almost five decades ago, Erickson and his band, The 13th Floor Elevators, were pioneers of psychedelic rock. After a three-year period in several different mental hospitals, suffering from schizophrenia, Erickson began a prolific solo recording career in the '80s and his songs have since been covered by artists such as R.E.M., ZZ Top and The Jesus and Mary Chain. It is highly recommended that those not familiar with the depth of Erickson's influence on countless musicians look into it, as his life is a rich story of artistic brilliance and mental illness, of tragic downfall and ultimate triumph. His is a life far too fascinating to be properly encapsulated in a tiny blurb by an alt-weekly paper.

Sleep, 8 p.m. Friday on Main Stage One: Sleep started turning heads in the early '90s with their Black Sabbath-style doom metal recorded with '70s equipment. They fizzled out at the end of the decade, but have reformed and been playing their unique brand of stoner rock since 2009.

War Party, 9 p.m. Friday at J&J's Pizza: This Fort Worth band brings the retro with a tight '60s psychedelic feel, mixed in with a little punk and garage rock for good measure.

Def Rain, 10:30 p.m. Friday at The Hive: Ashley Cromeens, the uber-talented former frontwoman of Record Hop, heads up this dreamy, ambling dance-pop duo with backing beats and synth by Grant Ring. The ultra-reverberated vocals and overall daydream-inducing soundscape of Def Rain make them a perfect set for anyone wanting to take a break from some intensity.

Solange, 8 p.m. Saturday on Main Stage One: Though sometimes compared to her older sister, Beyoncé Knowles, Solange is similar only in that the two write music in roughly the same genre, R&B. But Solange's hits have a more retro '80s presentation to them, like Madonna's Lucky Star days. Solange is also the closest that 35 Denton comes this year to hosting a straight-up movie star, as she co-starred in Bring it On: All Or Nothing, and made an appearance in Johnson Family Vacation.

Mary Walker, 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Banter: Singer/songwriter Mary Walker is relatively new to the music scene in Denton, but she has already released a full-length album, Heavy Hearts, late in 2012. A multi-instrumentalist, Walker studied piano under Julie Bonk, who also taught Norah Jones.

Chelsea Light Moving, 8 p.m. Sunday on Main Stage One: All you need to know is that this is Sonic Youth founder Thurston Moore's newest band.

The Coathangers, 11:30 p.m. Sunday at Dan's Silverleaf: Whether there's a more punk-rock band name than The Coathangers, given the back-alley reference to DIY abortions, is debatable. The all-female quartet out of Atlanta started as a joke in 2006, and have since released several 7-inches and a couple of albums, their latest being 2011's Larceny and Old Lace. Look for a raucous good time with song titles like "Shut the Fuck Up" and "Nestle In My Boobies."

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Brian Rash
Contact: Brian Rash

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