WORDS BY DANIELLE MARIE LONGUEVILLE, IMAGES BY ABBEY GARLICK
Once again, Thin Line’s strategic planning and hopeful execution made waves across Downtown Denton this weekend for Thin Line X. The free festival featured documentary films, live music, and photography and somehow managed to do a great job with all three. Here’s a quick recap on what we managed to catch this weekend and why Thin Line X was one of the best festival experiences we have ever had.
Saturday: Kwinton Gray, PPL MVR, Scal, Felt & Fur, Nite
If you were on the square Saturday evening between 7PM and 9PM, there’s not a chance in hell you weren’t participating in Thin Line, by choice or otherwise. Once again, LSA managed to bring down the square like that one time in Mars Attacks with their brand-new sound and stage set up. From Hypnotic Donuts to the actual square area itself, the funkified fellas of the Kwinton Gray Project tore up our eardrums and souls with one of the most energetic, sick-nasty-funktastic trios we’ve seen around Denton thus far. It was an excellent change of scenery for a place typically known for Texas country and tasty burgers. We hope this means Sparky and crew will keep changing up their musical offerings, but hope they’ll at least bring it down a notch or two volume-wise. Our ears – and your staff and guests – will thank you.
Y’all, let’s take a minute to talk about PPL MVR. We know this is Denton and we have SEEN some serious s%^#, but these guys were a whole new ball game. For an hour and a half, a trio of what we’ll call Yetis claimed the courthouse lawn and our fully undivided attention with music, crowd participation, and some of the best heckling we’ve seen in a minute. Lead guitarist and vocalist “Snowball” took every chance possible to make his way into the crowd of onlookers to force them to engage in the PPL MVR spectacle, including a moment where folks were “Chosen” with blue tribal paint a la blue lipstick. The amount of showmanship put into this performance, from “Yeti Handlers” as backup guitarist and audio tech, to chasing random unbeknownst Dentonians across the courthouse lawn, we were floored by what we had the privilege to witness. The best part about it all? We had a hard time finding a single person opposed to the whole thing. Because in Denton if you’ve seen it here, you’ve seen it all.
In between sets, we managed to catch JD of Biographies and his thoughts on Thin Line this year, both as an artist and attendee:
“This year’s vibe feels a lot more open and more progressive than past years, what with giving everyone lanyards and providing online registration. I thought the music was a step up this year from last year by including a stage on the courthouse lawn, as well as including a great sound system. Everyone has sounded great so far, both outside and at the indoor venues. The venue support has always been great for something like this so I’m glad to see it roll so well this year.” As an artist, “ it’s been a lot of fun. We had a situation yesterday with the weather and were forced to move the show inside Andy’s, which ended up being great because we had a chance to check out the new sound and set up there and our families were able to attend since the venue was 18+ and non-smoking, which for a few had never happened before, so it was a really positive experience. They took great care of us as a band it’s been an overall great time.”
Winding down, we chose to close out the evening in a bit more relaxed and familiar setting with a little bit of synth and a whole lot of beer at Taps and Caps and locals Scal, Felt and Fur and Nite. As always, the smooth sounds of Scal were enough to get anyone in that space to do a little booty groovin’, what with the melodic runs of his keyboard carefully layered over simplistic yet sensical bass lines, all topped with a dash of some pretty tasty fills of some very funky, yet simple drums. Sometimes, all you need is a little to get the crowd going, and Scal proved just that. 10/10 would book for a private date.
We’re really digging the way things are going with Felt & Fur, y’all. The synth overload ( in a good way), the sludge of beats and switches, all wrapped together by the ethereal siren-like doom sounds of lead singer Alisha Pennington concoct one of Denton’s creepiest (read: best) groups around. Never a dull moment, and we’re never left unsatisfied.
Nite closed out the evening for us in true Nite form: transporting the audience to the backseat of Knight Rider for a ride full of pop, edge, and drama that had us searching for our favorite leather jackets once returned home. Because who wouldn’t want to emulate the signature look of Kyle and Myles Mendes? Not only are these guys top notch musicians, they’re top notch people as well. Don’t hesitate to try and catch a conversation with them post-show, they’ll give you their undivided attention and most humble acceptance of praise. We can’t wait to catch these guys again.
Sunday: Volunteer It UP:
Our last day at Thin Line X found us heading up the volunteer game along with several of Denton’s finest who were all gathered for one goal: make sure Denton has once again, another amazing festival experience. It was clear from the get-go that the Thin Line internal team had the same goal, including making sure their volunteers were taken care of. Boy, did they succeed. Like any festival, a lot of work is dependent on the selflessness and support of a volunteer system. And, like any festival, there is always a running shortage of said volunteers capable and/or available to work. We could only commit to a single day’s worth of work, so we stuck around for the whole day, working as many stations as possible. From Green Room to Check in, to Merch Sales, Thin Line crew were there making sure volunteers were fed and watered or beered, informed of their role obligations, and thanked for their work and participation. It was like Instant Gratification Hour every Hour on the Hour with these guys, and I’m not sure if our egos can grow any bigger at this point.
With the closing of the festival, volunteer staff, artists and VIP were herded over to Stoke’s space in the Railyard for a VIP staff appreciation party, complete with every beer from Denton and the greatest spread of finger foods this side of the railroad tracks. Local group Birds of Night and a few DJs ran the music for the evening as sweaty, somewhat sleepy volunteers gave their feet and minds a rest, knowing that another successful year at Thin Line Fest had come to a close.
Y’all, we have had our fair share of festival experiences and we’ve gotta say, Thin Line X has truly been one of the best. A great selection of entertainment curated by some great Denton friends in one of the best towns we know. We’re glad to have a fest like this in town and are already gearing up for next year. Can we make it free again, too, please? That’d be great.