The Top 5 Denton acts you gotta see at 35 Denton: Tony Ferraro & the Satans of Soft Rock

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Tony Ferraro and the Satans of Soft Rock adopted Atomic Candy on the downtown Denton Square for a photo shoot.

A rubber chicken may have been harmed in the making of this portrait. Photo by Ed Steele.

#3

How to make a bitter pill go down sweet.

Tony Ferraro & the Satans of Soft Rock could be called a side project of busy Denton guitarist and crack songwriter Ferraro.

But Ferraro doesn’t have side projects. Not artistically, anyway. Every band he gigs with gets the musician’s loving attention and loose grip. And by “loose grip,” we refer to Ferraro’s ability to let a song go where it needs to go, and do what it needs to do. In Hares on the Mountain, Ferraro joins the wild whoop and yawp that George Neal brings to the pub stage. In Last Joke Band, he eases off and lets Denton guitarist Ryan Thomas Becker be the boss, making each song a craft of mood and imagination.

And when he leads the Satans of Soft Rock, Ferraro holds ‘em and folds ‘em with sweet riffs and some of the most expert hooks we’ve heard in the last two years. The band released Friend of Man and Beast Alike last may. Chris Gomez was boss on the keys and organ – and can we say that it’s about time someone followed Denton’s Andrew Tinker on the beating the living tar out of a piano? Gomez gives it a sound licking on “Satanic Verses.” Justin Collins (Hares on the Mountain, Danny Rush & the Designated Drivers) keeps the wheels on the train clacking. Ryan Thomas Becker (RTB2) plays guitar and backs Ferraro on vocals, and David Howard keeps in steady on bass.

Ferraro is a criminally underrated songwriter, but his profile is growing and deservedly so. It’s true that you’ll have more than one chance to see and hear him at the festival, but the Satans of Soft Rock promise to sate your appetite for good old American rock, and your craving for lyrics that actually say something. If we’re lucky, Gomez will be there to play keys. Or another confident sub will fill in for him.

Wouldn’t it be cool: If the Satans of Soft Rock covered Tom Petty’s “You Don’t Know How it Feels” at 35 Denton? We can see Ferraro bringing a burning sort of joy to the original, which was a rebellion against conformists who fear and loathe the freaks and geeks among us. When: 9:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7. Where: Andy’s Bar, 122 N. Locust on the downtown Denton Square. Wristband today: $52.23 at prekindle.com.

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