35 Denton 2013's Second Serving Was Quite Literally The Cat's Meow.

If Night One of the 35 festival taught us about the need to pace ourselves, Night Two drove that point home, constantly reminding us that we should've rested while we could've on Thursday night.

Turns out, much as our after-party inclinations try to argue otherwise when we're in a drunken stupor, rest is important. Sleep is not optional.

Neither, for that matter, was last night's main stage headlining set from Sleep. Even as the California-based stoner doom metal trio was wrapping up its soundcheck early yesterday evening, rumors about the sheer volume of the coming night's set were already swirling. One attendee we spoke with said he heard that some nearby car alarms had been set off by the brutal rumble stirring from the band's live rig. Another festivalgoer told us he'd heard the band's soundcheck all the way back at his apartment, a full two miles away.


During Sleep's set a few hours later, those rumors proved to be quite true. Even on the Square, over by Andy's Bar, you could very clearly hear the band's output. And, apparently, a number of non-festival-attending Denton residents were in the same boat — and none too pleased about it either.



As Sleep's set started drawing to a close, a group of Denton policemen gathered around the festival gate, discussing their options in the wake of the city receiving some 25 or so noise complaints due to this performance's volume. They said they were considering asking the sound technicians to turn down the band's speakers, but mostly, they just stood around, holding out hope that the set would end soon enough, of its own volition. Almost mercifully, 90 minutes after starting their 8 p.m. set, Sleep's onslaught finally did come to and end, and all issues had been averted.


But the point remains: Quite truly, Sleep was inescapable last night.

And they hardly the only main stage performers of note. Earlier in the night, onetime Denton luminaries Brutal Juice mixed a few brand new tunes into their mostly nostalgia-filled offering, while frontman Craig Welch proved that, 17 years later, he could indeed still execute a mid-set head stand.

Roky Erickson, meanwhile, performed a somewhat awkward but still extremely well-received set of his own. The fact that that he appeared in better health this time through than in other recent trips through? Seems that was more than enough to compensate for the slightly disjointed set he played with the help of a backing band easily 20 years his junior.



As for the other scheduled main stage act on Friday night: Cleburne's Fungi Girls, scheduled to play the opening outdoor set at 5 p.m. canceled their appearance at the last moment. Apologetically, drummer Skyler Salinas tells us the cancellation was the result of “heavy traffic and miscommunication, to put it simply.” Eventually, Fungi Girls would indeed arrive in Denton: “Later in the night, Salinas and his bandmates could be seen at Hailey's Club, enjoying the hip-hop-heavy offerings at that indoor stage.

And, for the most part, the indoor stage performances shined on this night. First up? A criminally under-attended set from PVC Street Gang at Mellow Mushroom, during which lead singer Chris McGaha would help the kitchen out at the pizza restaurant by yelling “Order up!” into the mic between songs. Meanwhile, Hares on the Mountain had Dan's Silverleaf at capacity — an even more impressive feat when one considers that the band holds a free weekly residency at the venue. Down the road a bit, the new-look Peopleodeon (note the slight change in spelling and lineup) debuted a new singer over at the city's newest venue.

Seems, after a disappointing first night, The Hive was finally beginning to live up to its pre-fest expectations. As the night wore on, that venue only filled more and more with attendees. Eventually, that space's headlining act, Man Man, would thrill an enthusiastic, packed and endlessly moshing house. Even the most battered of those in the crowd seemed too enamored with the band onstage to mind the extra bruising.

Overall, it was a strong Night Two, for sure. And an improved one, too: Throughout the night, we couldn't help but remember how disappointed we were with all the lines that started up on Night Two of last year's fest. With the help of that venue capacity live-tracker on 35 Denton's mobile site, we were able to know in advance that we had no chance of getting in to Rubber Gloves to see Skeleton Coast, True Widow and Whirr last night — no matter what color our wristband was. Per the tracker, there was even a line of fans 45 deep gathered in front of the venue, hoping to get in and settling for listening to the bits of low rumble that shook through the building's walls.

Then, just as we were starting to wonder if 35 Denton 2013 might actually be shaping up to become the “best ever fest ever” its marketing materials purported it as being, pretty much the most adorable thing ever happened, confirming our growing, glowing suspicions: Seems a live cat even made it out to Hailey's Club last night to partake in some festival crowd-surfing.

I mean, how awesome is that?

Damn, 35 Denton. You're really starting to outdo yourself.

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