The Weekend’s Concerts (Oct. 4-6): CEMIcircles, “Pozo Disco,” and Shuggie Otis

I wanted to highlight one particularly sprawling event this weekend above all others, since I didn’t see much about it elsewhere. It’s a music festival, something to which North Texans have become increasingly accustomed, but this is singular in the fact that it is an especially academic celebration. Known as an especially progressive branch of the University of North Texas’ extensive College of Music, The UNT Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia, otherwise known as CEMI, is throwing an all-weekend event at various venues in the region, in order to commemorate its 50th year. Billing the fest as CEMIcircles, the performances will take place at multiple sites in Denton and Dallas, and venues will vary from the Perot Museum of Nature and Science to the Voertman Concert Hall. Unfortunately, the Perot event is already sold out, however, don’t let that stop you from exploring the one of the most extensive selections of modern composition you could possibly experience in a single weekend.

Everything from “interactive computer music,” to world premieres of entirely new works, to video pieces will be featured, and there’s even a “Musical Instrument Petting Zoo.” The latter lets children from 2nd to the 5th grade get some hands-on playing time with actual orchestral instruments, and I’m told that there will be a theremin involved, and those are always a blast. It also just might be a way to encourage youngsters to stop taking those pesky accounting courses later in life and instead spend a struggling yet meaningful existence in the world of music. Look at me, kids. I get to write about it. Dreams can come true.  You can make reservations for the instrument petting zoo here. For an entire schedule of all CEMIcircles events, go here.

The CEMIcircles Festival takes place October 4-6, at multiple sites, including the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater, the UNT Sky Theater, the Voertman Concert Hall, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. 

Other shows this weekend—


Shuggie Otis (The Kessler): It’s hard to overstate the artistic impact that Shuggie Otis has had on musicians in the many decades since his first works were recorded. His “Strawberry Letter 23” may have been a radio hit for another group in the early nineteen-seventies, but even more profound than that are the many younger acts who consider the underrated songwriter one of the first true progressives in combining RnB and psychedelic rock. In doing so, he was decades ahead of what we would we now recognize as modern pop and indie music. Throw in the many instances he has been sampled in hip hop, and you have another classic case of an artist a bit too ahead of his time, but who has aged quite well. It will be a privilege to have him at The Kessler.

Dove Hunter/Cerulean Giallo/Vulgar Fashion (Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios): Night Game Cult had to cancel for this one, and it’s too bad because the project has a new cassette out, and I hope to hear that somewhere soon.

“Pozo Disco” (Pozo Mercado, located at 2909 McKinney Avenue, in Dallas): This is a little hidden Friday night party, and Blake Ward says it much better than I ever could concerning the details and your possible reservations about being in Uptown. What’s with all the endless hatred for alleged Uptown residents in East Dallas anyway? It seems like the demographics of who hangs out on Lower Greenville has already changed dramatically, and now they want to keep “Uptown People” away as well? Don’t they want businesses on the avenue to succeed? You can’t do it with East Dallasites alone, sorry to say. But back to Mr. Ward and his event:

Get down at an intimate Friday night dance party in the hidden upstairs loft bar above Pozo Mercado with me this week. Uptown isn’t my typical destination for underground dance parties, but that might be what makes this place so perfect for one. Only capable of holding about 80 people, there is no door guy keeping you out with a velvet rope, but the unassuming staircase makes the place hard to find unless you know where you are going. Inspired by Dallas party legends like Jerry Hall and Larry Hagman who showed us the true meaning of hedonism, this open format night will span the gamut from James Brown and Blondie to Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake with loud Funk beats being the common factor holding the night together as we dance till the floor collapses. Margarita and Beer specials will keep you from going thirsty. See you on Friday!

Other Friday Shows—

Brenmar/Sober/Dayta (It’ll Do Club)

Is/Is/Year of the Bear/Jakkkechan (The Crown and Harp)


Complete/Vulgar Fashion/Bukkake Moms/Eat Avery’s Bones (Hailey’s Club): As great as the aforementioned CEMIcircles event sounds, don’t overlook this lineup if you happen to be in Denton this weekend. Complete is a band that could only gain notoriety in our wonderfully modern era, as they went somewhat viral a few years ago, when an old public access video of the group started circulating on message boards for the musically curious and masochistic everywhere. Complete’s music is so indiscernible it is regarded as either one of the worst or best acts of all time, depending on who you ask. Rock is full of accidental geniuses, but this just might be the most fascinating example since the Shaggs.

“Canned Fest” (Downtown Denton): Our Events team has everything you need to know if you go here.

Dawes/Jonathan Rice (South Side Music Hall): More info here.

Other Saturday events—

Away from the Numbers (Single Wide): Don’t miss this, as the always-great Jake Schrock will be playing selections from his seemingly flawless collection of music.





Image: UNT faculty composer Merrill Ellis, photographed in 1963. Credit: From the CEMI archives.