Thursday, March 12, 2009

It List: Thursday

The Baptist Generals/Spooky Folk/Mike Miller (the Hydrant): This show helps kick off the much discussed NX35 festival with festival organizer Chris Flemmons' band The Baptist Generals headlining at, uh, the Hydrant? I don't even know where the hell that is, other than "somewhere in Denton." Anyway, you may have seen a lot of "buzz" and relatively positive coverage of the festival in this week's edition of NX35's media sponsor the Dallas Observer, and there are certainly some positive things one can take from this festival-- for one, it might help raise awareness of Denton to a small degree, and the infrastructure that was put in place to organize the festival could very well serve as a skeletal blueprint to how future, improved NX35s (or something similar) could be run within the city, thus leading to a higher profile and a modest influx of cash flowing in to the city's music scene, and then, who knows? Maybe more. Maybe Denton will one day turn into a "must stop through" for relevant SXSW acts, or maybe become a festival destination of its own. Furthermore, there are a handful of quality local acts being showcased throughout the week's festivities, and that is never a bad thing, even if many of Denton's most interesting groups are not participating for one reason or another.

However, there seem to be some glaring issues concerning the way the festival has come together this year, and two of them are especially problematic-- For one thing, there just isn't a compelling list of outside touring acts participating this year. Other than moderately well known groups such as Monotonix, Riverboat Gamblers and Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (who, along with James McMurtry are easily the biggest non local acts in the entire line up), the festival seems a bit clogged with SXSW also-rans. This isn't to say that none of them are good, of course, nor that a festival needs big commerical names in order to be successful. However, the out of town roster leaves quite a bit to be desired as far as quality, name recognition and diversity of sound (the overwhelming focus is on alt-country and folk), and this leads to the second issue-- the price of the festival badge: $65 for an all access pass and $50 for a night shows badge seems to be more than a little much, especially since many of the highlights of the festival (Baptist Generals, Centro-matic, Dust Congress, Make Believers, Theater Fire, etc) are groups that play in Denton constantly, on almost a weekly basis. Thankfully, Flemmons and company were smart enough to recognize the fact that many who wished to attend would prefer to pay individually for a couple shows rather than paying for the entire badge, which, unfortunately, calls into question exactly what this festival is if such a large percentage of patrons plan to pay at the doors of local venues to see mostly local acts at scattered times throughout the weekend as they mix with a few lesser known touring acts, many of which are regional. In some ways, that sounds like a typical weekend in Denton minus many of the exciting local groups who might not appeal to the festival's target demographic.

Of course, this isn't to say that there is anything wrong with any of this per se, nor that the festival will not be a success in the eyes of the organizers. It also seems as though many involved with NX35 are aware of and open to these issues and the need for improvement in the future, and some of the things they've done this year (such as brining in Harvey Pekar) are quite positive. It's just that I, for one, hope that the organizers learn from what they did right AND what they did wrong, and apply these lessons to putting on another festival that will present both a more exciting touring act roster and a local line up that truly reflects ALL of the exciting and relevant music currently being created in Denton. Best of luck to them.
Top Notch Thursdays with Sober (The Cavern)



Bridges and Blinking Lights/Diamond Center/Madeline (Rubber Gloves)

Billingham's Defense System with Keith P and Ocelot (Fallout Lounge)

The Slow Burners/Daniel Folmer/American Werewolf Academy/Sabra Laval (J&Js Pizza)

Amsterdam Nights with DJs Baby Magic and Van Damme (the Amsterdam Bar)

12 Comments:

Anonymous Rick said...

anybody know where Madeline is playing tonight in Denton? if so, can you email me?
rick(at)1919hemphill.org

5:51 PM  
Anonymous Rick said...

I guess I should have done a better google search. It's at rubber gloves. You can still email me.

5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys see that burzum got released from prison?

5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

nx35 sounds borrrring

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ham 1 is on that bill too. they're good.

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

pretty much

6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merle Haggard is the best thing going on this evening.

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can't just respect a good thing. Unless it's full of people spinning other people's music or shitheads ripping off the 80's because they can't think for themselves.

Get a life

4:24 AM  
Anonymous stonedranger said...

whatevs I heart the 80's!!!!

10:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

xtxtxt

3:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ba da

7:59 PM  
Anonymous plop said...

plop

8:15 PM  

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