Friday's 35 Denton Review: The Return of The Baptist Generals, Peopleodian's Primal Scream
Stephen Masker Chris Flemmons of The Baptist Generals
See also: 35 Denton street style.
After catching Danny Rush & the DDs at Dan's last night, I happened to walk past 35 Denton's headquarters right next door. The scene inside looked a bit tense, as word had come just a few hours earlier that the fest's Sunday night headliner, The Jesus and Mary Chain, had to reschedule their gig to Wednesday, March 14, at North Texas Fairgrounds, due to work visa issues not allowing them into the country until Monday. There was a big, white board and a few furrowed brows. I was, of course, reminded of the "war room" scene in Dr. Strangelove, but with way fewer George C. Scott pratfalls and atomic bomb scares.
But such are the pitfalls of planning and running a festival. The JAMC was 35's big "get," sure, but the bands I caught last night -- Rush, Peopleodian, Sleep Over, Daniel Francis Doyle -- reminded me that Texas deserves just as much hype.
The Baptist Generals
Main Stage 2
A couple of weeks ago, I caught up with Chris Flemmons at Lumberjack Fest 8 at Dan's. We talked about 35 Denton and he told me one reason he stepped down from Creative Director was because he wanted to spend more time working on his band, the Baptist Generals. "I'm kind of in a rebuilding process with my personal stuff," he said. "It's just my life after three years of trying to [head up operations for the festival]."
Last night reintroduced the rock of the Generals to the general population, and it was a good first step.
"This is the first time we've played on stage with amps in five years," Flemmons said, before spending several minutes tuning his guitar. "It's difficult when you're playing instruments with plastic strings."
Just a small hiccup in an otherwise tight performance, and besides, the tinny, grinding feedback from those strings is a staple in their driving, hypnotic sound. Several hundred people turned out to watch them, including myriad Denton rock stars like Chris Welch of Pinebox Serenade and Jeff Barnes of Brave Combo. The band launched into their third song, "Clitorpus Christi," and Flemmons' alto rang out through an eerily entranced Hickory Street. After a brief 45-minute set, which included "Oblivion" and "Air 2 the Fly Candy Harvest," Flemmons and company finished up, letting their signature feedback usher in the rest of the night. - Brian Rash
Mic issues throughout last night's set kept Peopleodian vocalist Ally Hoffmann from truly filling the room, but she skirted the issue by simply screaming the lyrics at the crowd for the last song. That visceral exercise shaded the Denton four-piece's set with a few more colors, a flickering TV on stage complementing their electronic-pop tendencies. Performing a handful of songs from last year's It Woke the Moon!, they illustrated why they're so hard to define: not quite dance but not entirely rock. Said one entranced lady behind me: "They sound like a waterfall!" - Audra Schroeder