It’s 7PM and the Denton square is alive with activity as the sun goes down and Oaktopia 2014 kicks off. I’m en route to Andy’s bar to catch Jus Raz‘s send off set.
Local MC Raz, AKA Razvan Mocanu, brought a unique mashup style of boom-bap hiphop and understated trap to the mix. Mocanu’s on stage presence was confident and energetic, and it was easy for the crowd to reciprocate.
After the set I headed to Dan’s Silverleaf to catch Dallas based guitar group Catamaran. Their set made great use of dynamics, with songs often swelling and fading into one another, all the while seamlessly filling the venue with a saturated wall of sound.
Next I trekked back to Andy’s to see Dallas rapper Topic‘s captivating set. Like Raz, Topic- AKA Tommy Simpson- demonstrated a diverse style, flowing consistently between glitchy sample heavy tracks, Houston-esque hooks and heavy hitting trap beats. Occasionally he would take a dramatic seat at a bar stool on stage, the beat suddenly absent, left alone to rap intimately to the eager and energetic crowd.
Last on the roster for my Friday night was Denton power-trio Bashe. Their set mixed technicality and danceability in a refreshing way, jumping from catchy, straight ahead guitar hooks and crooning vocal melodies into hypnotizing odd-meter fugues.