The 35 Must-See Bands at 35 Denton

Mike Brooks
The Phuss at 35 Denton 2012.
So, this is definitely a top-five weekend in North Texas music annually. We're flush with bands this time of year, what with the mid-size tour Mecca four hours south and four days away. But much of what's going on in the Metroplex in the coming weeks owes at least as much of its awesome to our own doing as to anyone else's. And the crown jewel of these offerings is 35 Denton, which starts today. The four-day fest offers a lineup of hundreds, and decisions will have to be made. So we have. (Just so no one blames Brian for anything I have to say, it's worth mentioning that this is Kiernan Maletsky speaking. Brian Rash wrote almost all of the rest of this post, except when noted.)

See also:
-The Hive Minds Behind 35 Denton
-The 14 Best Unofficial 35 Denton Shows
-Your 35 Denton Survival Kit


Sleep: The stoner rock band to end all stoner rock bands. Loud and slow and absolutely perfect. --Kiernan Maletsky
8 pm @ Main Stage One, Thursday evening

Dim Locator: This one-man drum and guitar band is the brainchild of Will Kapinos, lead guitarist of Dove Hunter (also playing the festival), and former front man for the retired Denton band Jetscreamer. And his dirty slide guitar attack accompanied with pounding bass drum create some of the best blues you'll see in the region.
9:30 pm @ Banter, Thursday evening

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Biographies: Biographies emerged in 2012 in Denton and have been packing just about every venue they play since then. The six-piece was formed by Chance Maggard, former drummer for Baruch the Scribe, and their emotional, often experimental compositions ignite audiences all over DFW. They play this year's 35 Denton right before the release of their self-titled debut album on March 30.
9:30 pm @ Sweetwater, Thursday evening

Eric Grubbs
The Atomic Tanlines

The Atomic Tanlines: This smart-assed Denton, TX band labels themselves with the somewhat redundant descriptor, "maladjusted punk rock," and members include Reece E., Pablo, and Dildo. Go to the set for the punk, stay for the Dildo.
10:30 pm @ Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, Thursday evening


Spooky Folk: This group that started out totally acoustic and has since morphed to become completely electric has played the festival every year, and with good reason. Their infectious pop music is always a crowd pleaser, especially if they close out their set with the now local hit, "Bible Belt."
10:30 pm @ Dan's Silverleaf, Thursday evening


RTB2: This two-man operation has been a DFW favorite for over half a decade, and features Grady Don Sandlin on drums and Ryan Thomas Becker on lead guitar. Their searing, experimental folk rock often invokes influences like Sam Cooke, Captain Beefheart and Leon Russell, and Front man Ryan Becker is an entertainer through and through.
11:30 pm @ Andy's, Thurday evening

Savage and the Big Beat

Savage and the Big Beat: A piano driven, operatic rock tour-de-force,
Savage and the Big Beat, out of Denton, is 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.
11:30 pm @ Sweetwater, Thursday evening

Mind Spiders

Mind Spiders: Mark Ryan, also from the amaze-balls Denton garage punk band The Marked Men, heads this sci-fi punk rock outfit. Their high energy shows emit a healthy dose of Buddy Holly nostalgia combined with Ramones pop and sometimes eerie, theremin-like effects.
11:30 pm @ Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, Thursday evening

John Wesley Coleman

John Wesley Coleman: This former Denton-based musician has been living in Austin for the last several years. His music is strange and engaging, on the fringes of garage punk and indie rock. Whether or not you get what he does, his shows are always entertaining, like a freak-out satire of a traveling bard.
12:30 am @ Andy's, Thursday night (Friday morning)

Warren Jackson Hearne and Le Leek Electrique: Hearne has been a Denton Staple for over a decade now, and he has almost single-handedly pioneered the death-folk scene in DFW. His newest local super group, Le Leek Electrique, has a big band, crooner feel to it, but still retains the dark aspects of his lyrics and music.
12:30 am @ Banter, Thursday evening (Friday morning)

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Reigning Sound's first DFW show in 8 years and they aren't one of the 35 "must see" bands? OK


just FYI, that photo is not of Spooky Folk. It's a portrait by Stanton Stephens of Kaleo.


so many mistakes in this!!! O hey it's Leg Sweeper as The Coathangers, and I cant wait to see Camera Obscura  (they cancelled) 


@anon Oh, hard decisions were made. Our working list of "must see" bands was more like 60 bands long, which seemed pretty useless. 

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