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Setting Houston Afire with Live Music

Sounds completely rad right? Houston afire with live music … Can it happen? Will it ever happen? Has it ever been that way? Questions that every live music fan in 29º, -95º has asked countless times.

Seeing that H'town is the 4th largest city in the US one would think we would have an incredible music scene, but the fact remains it sucks ... And sucks big time. It's not the bands that are lacking but the lacking of bands and live shows that pass over this city as if the entire region is diseased.

We've all heard the excuses too … It's too hot, not enough fans, not enough venues and my favorite, it's simply out of the tour's way. Ummm, so when a tour plays Dallas then moves to San Antonio only to go back to Austin before leaving all while skipping Houston … Seriously how does that put us out of the way on the map? Someone should take some map reading lessons.

The fact remains that Houston has never been a serious locale for music. That doesn't mean we don't produce some great musicians just look at some of our fellow Houstonians: ZZ Top, Robert Earl Keen, Mike Jones, Beyoncé Knowles and though not born here Lightin' Hopkins has resided here since the 1940s. That's a very small fraction of well known talent we can claim.

To be clear though we're not talking about musicians living here. We all know that people move to Nashville for Country or Austin or if it's films you move to Hollywood, Broadway you go to New York. That's all fine and dandy but after you make it big bring your freakin' tour back to town. Then try telling your peers to do the same. It's really the peer thing that's the issue ... The people mentioned above have actually been pretty good to staying true to H'town. It's just all the other bands that never show. Maybe it's the mentality and attitude here

Anyone remember the Smashing Pumpkins show here in the mid '90s when Billy Corgan got nailed in the mouth with a shoe? He actually finished the song but warned there would be hell to pay if anything else was thrown on-stage. I guess the moron that threw the shoe was getting a beer during the warning part of the show ... Halfway into song number three and object number two flies towards Corgan. And at this point he stops mid-play, walks off stage and the band follows. Thanks a lot for throwing stuff at Billy and resulting in us all paying 30-something dollars for two and a half songs. Jerk.

Then there was the Nine Inch Nails show where possibly the same moron was flashing a laser pointer onto Trent Reznor ... So funny right? I mean he and his friends just must have been laughing there asses off as the little red dot danced playfully across Trent's face and body. Trent didn't find it amusing though as he mentioned being worried about getting his arm blown off and I think he asked the guy's neighbors to kick his ass if it continued. Nine Inch Nails has however continued to show up in Houston year-after-year ... Thank you Trent.

And this one ... Two Gallants frontman Adam Stephens stormed by HPD officer Gabriel M. Rodriguez in July 2008 while playing at Walter's on Washington. Apparently he may have cussed out the officer prior to the event which led to people being tasered, HPD patrol cars everywhere, police helicopters circling above and the story ran in everything from the Houston Press to Rolling Stone and Spin. I'm just guessing they'll be passing Houston up in years ahead as well.

Of course there is the strange behavior of people not dancing at concerts in Houston. Ever been to a really great show in Austin, then gone to the same show in Houston the next night? Well it's not the same show. People here stand around with their hands in their pockets and just stare with blank looks at the stage. The best however was a show at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands and Brian Setzer was playing ... People were trying to dance in the aisles and security made them stop. Setzer was beside himself and could not believe the kids were made to stop. It's flippin' Brian Setzer man! You're suppose to dance!

Who knows if any of these occurrences are why tours skip our city, maybe we really are out of the way, maybe that's a crock too. Maybe Houstonians don't know how to act during a show or maybe the security forces them to act like little zombie robots.

If you think you have the answer email me or comment and start a discussion. Just maybe as a whole we can figure this mystery out and the almighty Ozzfest will visit here one day or Adam Stephens will forgive us.

Rock on!
Henry von Wolffe
vonwolffe@vonwolffe.com

Comments

  • tex1sam 4 years ago

    Houston has had a great music scene before, and I'm sure we will again. In the mean time we will have to make due with the occasional great show.

    It's all economics. Venues, bookers, piece of the door, the schwag, the bar. Unfortunately we will be stymied by some of these factors in the near-term. Promoters are making good money putting shows into House of Blues and out at the Cynthia Woods Pavillion in The Woodlands. Many good shows are wasted on these two venues. CWM is just too far and HOB is a crummy awkward room that crushes the spirit.

    Verizon with a GA open floor is probably the best room in Houston with Meridian and Warehouse working well for smaller shows.

    I won't reveal my age by reciting the various epochs and great shows and seasons that have passed. But I do look forward to the next shift in Houston's musical dynamic.

  • tex1sam 4 years ago

    Houston has had a great music scene before, and I'm sure we will again. In the mean time we will have to make due with the occasional great show.

    It's all economics. Venues, bookers, piece of the door, the schwag, the bar. Unfortunately we will be stymied by some of these factors in the near-term. Promoters are making good money putting shows into House of Blues and out at the Cynthia Woods Pavillion in The Woodlands. Many good shows are wasted on these two venues. CWM is just too far and HOB is a crummy awkward room that crushes the spirit.

    Verizon with a GA open floor is probably the best room in Houston with Meridian and Warehouse working well for smaller shows.

    I won't reveal my age by reciting the various epochs and great shows and seasons that have passed. But I do look forward to the next shift in Houston's musical dynamic.