What sets Matthew Gray apart from other Denton musicians who've opened their homes for intimate shows, spending their last five bucks on hot dog buns and risking noise violations to provide havens for experimentation?
Well, Gray has long been an institution unto himself, playing under the moniker Matthew and the Arrogant Sea before recruiting even one bandmate to join him. The same spirit of artful enterprise that got the bandleader's whimsical indie-pop compositions noticed by national mags like Paste and Magnet makes Gray a fitting leader of a multi-medium arts renaissance as maestro of the Bee's Fifth Collective.
Not since the beloved shows at the Yellow House on Mulberry Street, with its lineage of live-in musicians from bands like jetscreamer and Lift to Experience, has one house played host to such reliably jaw-dropping acts. Often, Gray won't say who's set to play the shows at the house on Texas Street known as Bee's Manor. International cult folk favorite Peter and the Wolf of Austin has even played there; sets by house show staples like Fizzy Dino Pop are more likely caught at the place, well attended by the young artistic intelligentsia that will propel Denton forward as a city.
And the music is just the beginning. Sabra Laval and Sarah Jaffe are among the artists who've signed on to perform at venues in town at benefits for the collective, which Gray has said is close to securing a space to serve the theater, visual and performance art, and film being made in the area.
When that happens, the ponytailed Gray will cement ties between key creative circles that only he could link, and the unified presence of art in Denton will be unstoppable.