Wall of Sound Festival

Once upon a time, Denton made a name for itself with festivals like this. Unbelievably, it's now been nearly a decade since the first Melodica festival created the phrase "Denton space rock," but the spirit lives on, and so does the sound of swirling, cascading guitars and slow-churning, subversive melodies. Its new incarnation is the Wall of Sound Festival, established by Spune Productions' ambitious and organized Lance Yocum, and populated by Melodica stepchildren, old-guard holdovers and a smattering of eclectic regional favorites. The most startling thing about the fest was the stop-on-a-dime 30-minute sets. No sooner did Fort Worth's Snowdonnas lay down the final notes of a confident set of harmonious Ride-style shoegaze on the stage facing Mulberry Street than Denton's spastic Silver Arrows threw down some hectic cracked and crazy sugar-spazz shenanigans and polka-dot rhythms from the stage across the way. Pilotdrift was another highlight, fusing an archaic golden-age cinema feel into 21st-century laptop electronics. That is, until the second half of their set fell into a sub-Radiohead sameness that was the scourge of a fest that mostly lacked the anything-goes edge of the Melodicas. Austin's Experimental Aircraft dropped a juiced-up set of guy-girl tradeoffs and pedal magic, giving way to the day's highlight, the recently re-formed dream-pop icons Comet. The brothers Jim and Neil Stone churned out heart-tugging gossamer threads and syrupy laser-beam solos like it was 1996 all over again, topped off with a surprising cover of the Cure's "A Forest" and an even more wondrous rendition of their own "Formula One Driver Blues." After that, Radiant* and the awfully named, awfully generic Super Love Attack began to lose the crowd until Record Hop won them back with the sheer will to rock. After that, the Angelus tried as hard as they could to be Lift to Experience unplugged, but thankfully Midlake sealed the deal proper, their sparkling anglophiliac art-pop hitting a new plateau of brilliance. A promising beginning to what we hope will become an annual event.
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Michael Chamy