North Texas Daily

Denton underground music scene up and kickin’

Denton underground music scene up and kickin’

Denton underground music scene up and kickin’
September 11
23:50 2015

Kyle Martin | Staff Writer

Denton has long been known for its iconic downtown Square, filled with friendly folks, cold beer and tons of live, local music. For those looking in the right places, there’s an entirely different world laying low under the radar: house shows.

Get away from the buzz of the Square and look past all of the tried-and-true venues around town to find an environment unlike any other. One that is a safe haven for plenty of aspiring garage bands and dorm room jam cats alike.

One like the Jagoe House.

Run by college students and music lovers, the Jagoe House sits on the corner of Jagoe and Scripture, across the street from the always-popular Mr. Chopsticks. Intimate and intense, this house venue puts on a hell of a show. Close enough to campus to stumble to and from, Dentonites and college students come and go as they please on show night.

Adam and Hagen, two of the Jagoe House’s shop keeps, are no strangers to the underground house scene. They requested that only their first names be divulged.

“Two of the other people who live here, we used to go to house shows all the time freshman year,” Adam said. “We went to shows before, and it sounded fun to do. When we moved into the house, we decided we wanted to do it.”

Hagen, who loves the house show scene for its relaxed and welcoming environment, handles booking at the Jagoe House. He said there is no specific method to picking bands for a show.

“It can be anything from, ‘This band had mentioned to us at one party they were interested,’ to ‘I really like this band, and I want to ask them,’” Hagen said.

The music at any house show varies, showcasing anything from metal-sounding Death Grips-esque noise to one-piece acoustic City and Colour sound-alikes. The living rooms and backyards of Denton homes transform into stages for an experience different from anywhere outside the city.

Among the various bands that have played at the Jagoe House are two Denton and DFW-based groups: Moon Waves, a young, four-piece psychedelic 60’s/70’s rock resurgence, and Cozy Hawks, a three-piece indie-pop party. Both groups played a showcase along with local bands Psychic Killers and Mantra Love this weekend at the house.

Moon Waves is made up of Leah Lane, lead vocalist and keyboardist; John Kuzmick, vocalist and guitarist; Justin Stewart, bassist; and Gus Baldwin, drummer. The entire room, crowded with people, moved with the sound of the music as the band played.

In comparison to traditional venues, Moon Waves said the Jagoe House had a “killer set up” that was “aesthetically pleasing.” They had played at a public venue called Three Links in Dallas previously that day.

The Jagoe House runs their own makeshift soundbooth through a window cutout between the living room and an adjacent room, supplying the bands with a P.A. system to both pump and floor monitors. This being their first showing at the house, Lane said the sound system Jagoe was running was “way better than [she] thought it was going to be.”

Cozy Hawks, who played after Moon Waves, consists of Adam Bertholdi, guitarist; Rob Paine, bassist; and Brack Cantrell, drummer. Even though it was far past a normal bedtime once the band took the floor to close out the show, the crowd was still eager for more music. The party wasn’t over until Cozy Hawks had unplugged.

Although he hadn’t played a show since April, guitar player Adam Bertholdi said house show performances were beneficial for upcoming bands.

“Donation-only style, or DIY, works better because it works more with a younger counter-culture,” Bertholdi said. “Bands that get their hype start out playing house shows. A lot of the hype is built from house parties.”

He said one key aspect to house shows elevated them above everyday venues.

“It’s all about the crowd,” Bertholdi said.

Featured Image: Courtesy | Moon Waves

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