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Locals: House shows will save Denton’s music venue problem

Locals: House shows will save Denton’s music venue problem

Local artist Bare Mountain plays at a home called Sunhouse for Broketopia. Broketopia was an event put on my locals in Denton to provide a place to go in the case people didn't have money for Oaktopia Fest 2016. Sara Carpenter

Locals: House shows will save Denton’s music venue problem
October 05
14:43 2016

With venues like Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios, J&J’s Old, Dirty Basement and the Hailey’s Club music venues closing their doors, Denton’s music scene has seen the loss of some of their beloved established venues within the past year. Some believe this limits exposure for bands around town and may be a sign of a shrinking music scene, while others believe that is far from the truth.

Although Oaktopia wasn’t on as intimate of a level as these venue shows usually are, attendees and musicians were there to celebrate their love of Denton and it’s music scene.

“The strength of the music scene is the people who work hard to keep the scene going,” Midway Crafthouse manager Rahim Dewji said. “Whether it is by creating or playing music, booking shows or putting events together. Currently the weakness is the lack of venues like we used to have in this city.”

Although venues have been closing, Denton musicians won’t stop playing. Whether it’s a house show, on the sidewalk, in a local bar or on stage at a musical festival, the drive to perform is still strong.

Denton metal, stoner-rock band Orcanaut has played all over town at house shows, at public venues and recently played at both Oaktopia and Broketopia.

“In any city, it’s going to happen,” Orcanaut lead vocalist Cameron Hinojosa said. “You’ve got to roll with the punches and keep doing it. I think the longer you spend complaining about it [venue closures], that’s time you could be using to create something new or finding a way to revive it.”

Orcanaut, like many other bands that got their start in Denton, has a long history with Denton music. Hinojosa said that while it’s important to have an outlet for musicians in the area to play, the memories from venues all over Denton are something to be thankful for.

“That’s one of the reasons I moved to Denton six years ago, because I went to my first house show here, which ended up being the place I live at now,” Hinojosa said. “I realized that a year ago. I said, ‘Oh wait, that explains the crack in the ceiling. I remembered from that show someone was hanging from the fan.’ I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s awesome,’ and it made me want to move here.”

House shows are increasingly becoming a threshold for bigger and better shows. On any given weekend, places like the Jagoe House, the Rabbit Hole, the Purple Palace or any of the other many house venues in town host live bands for music lovers to come and watch as they please.

The house shows are free, but donations are encouraged. The money, band members said, help fund shows.

“Honestly, the next generation of venue owners in Denton are house renters in the Denton area,” Orcanaut vocalist Adonias “A.D.” Wondwessen said. “These houses like Jagoe and all these places that are putting on independent festivals and shows that are doing really well and getting their licensing, they’re making money and it’s not for naught.”

The BoomBachs are a Denton-based hip-hop, jazz-fusion collective comprised of several members that met in Bruce Hall at UNT. Its members began playing their music as a composition class final project for keyboard player Marcus Wheat and have since played at all sorts of venues and house parties in Denton.

“In Denton, the freshest music is going always going to be at the house shows,” BoomBachs guitarist Connor Veteto said.

The band said the best and worst music is heard at these house shows, which now make up a subculture within Denton.

Comparisons of other venues normally bleed into conversation between cigarettes and malt liquor. Some house venues often pull in a couple hundred people per show night.

Getting a gig to play was not always as easy as it is today, Midlake guitarist Eric Nichelson said.

“We were so far on the fringe,” Nichelson said. “We were not the cool band, we were not the scene. The fact that 300 people can show up [at the music town hall] on a night and have a conversation about it, that’s amazing. To me that shows that this is way better, you know, way better than when we started out 15, 16 years ago.”

Featured Image: Local artist Bare Mountain plays at a home called Sunhouse for Broketopia. Broketopia was an event put on my locals in Denton to provide a place to go in the case people didn’t have money for Oaktopia Fest 2016. Sara Carpenter

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Kyle Martin

Kyle Martin

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