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LOOSENOTES

Well, the world didn't end and if anything, the Myan's gave us a reason for everybody to live life to the fullest - Whew, did you ever!!!

During December, we joined the many SCENE readers kicking back, visiting family & friends, taking stock, sharing stories, planning the times ahead, and enjoying what our area has to offer, great places and super live music! Let's run through the month...

LARGEST TURNOUT EVER - And that would be the annual Krewe du Lac Toys for Tots Pub Crawl. This year, an extra truck was brought in to handle the outrageously generous haul of toys destined to brighten lives of the most important people of all, the little ones. T-Bone Tom's did a fantastic job hosting the annual kickoff with Andy and The Dreamsicles spinning up the Fun Meter. The Dreamsicles are adding a full up horn section to handle frequent requests for Chicago. Pretty cool, eh? Keep these cats on your 2013 watch list - Should be a blast! Crawlers prevailed throughout Kemah Lighthouse District stopping along at Crazy Al's Swampshack before heading over to the historical Zone 504 and Bakkhus Taverna. Hoo-boy, what a blast! You Folks want in on a secret? Catch the live music acts appearing at Zone 504 as they've a great ear and eye for talent - Typically, bands first appearing on the SCENE at Zone 504 will get discovered and hired out and about on the beat. This time around, we caught Flip Side which pulled it off nicely for the Crawlers. Zone 504 and live music - Watch 'em....

OVER THE TOP - {PHOTOS BY JIM TACL} Sits the Folks at Jackie's Brickhouse and in their consistent, try something new, manner decided to Adopt a Family for the Christmas Holidays. My buddy and coach, Jim Tacl, caught what went down as the Jackie's Gang gathered a *very* healthy 5-figure collection complete with Santa for the stressed family. Interesting about the Jackie's Brickhouse location as it hosts some of the humdingiest benefit fundraisers around. Cheers to Jackie's Brickhouse for keeping the fire going - Speaking of keeping it going...

BACK IN THE GROOVE - John and his team at Dempsey's are simply incredible. Not only do they successfully relocate to a central location in record time, they're back at it hosting parking lot parties and this month hosted a benefit for the Sandy Hook tragedy. Turn out was decent for a midweek event and the music lineup diversely solid with Dead Man's Ransom (lyrically hitting the heart of the matter), Jacob Minter (a new eclectic free form jazz artist), and the ever powerful and present Chris Hardy. Sonically, the new Dempsey's is more intimate and with the kitchen back in gear (including their infamous five pound burger challenge) could very well be Clear Lake's answer to the likes of the Mucky Duck or the Coffee Oasis, but with "an edge".

OUT AND ABOUT - We were with many of you enjoying the holidays with family and friends. The groove was perfect and exactly what the doctor ordered. The Treehouse threw a whale of a Christmas party with Drive Train on the stage. Fortunately, we didn't need the Treehouse for our hurricane hangout this year-A story line we had. Nonetheless, this Jim Shortt favorite hangout remains on our go-to list for the upcoming year. Union Tavern tweaked their Feng Shui perfectly as we counted no fewer than 15 perfect gatherings happening at once. Hold Fast Fables were on stage and scores my Inventive Music Recipes of the year starting with a Reggae foundation and stirring in light percussion and classical/Spanish fiddle for their unique blend that's tasty to the the ears and mind. Marc tells me the group is laying down tracks for a new CD so we'll be looking forward to more on this.

Sherlock's and Scout Bar both score nominations on my "Go-To Place, No Questions Asked" list. Over the years, both places easily handle large holiday gatherings. We caught Fal Skye on stage at Sherlock's and the holiday return of Brian Carrion (who is thriving as he follows his musical passions in Nashville) with the C.B. Kings at Scout Bar. Can you do us a favor? Mandi, over at Sherlock's, has what should be a great 2013 shaping up. Stop by, enjoy a drink and be sure to tip her (and all your servers) well. Your karma will flourish!

EASY TO SPOT & HARD TO FIND - Are southpaw guitarists playing right handed axes. When you spot one, you've simply got to put everything on hold and give them an ear which we did at a recent Cockeyed Seagull holiday gathering (The Seagull staff has got to be one of the friendliest flocks around.) Technically, such playing is somewhat akin to mandolin'ing and by default, we note such musicians making it on stage as *crazy raw talent"-The good stuff! Until recently, we'd seen only two of such performers (Chris Elliott of the Bodacious Tatas and Rowe) on The SCENE and with delight, add a third to the list going by the name of Rob Saint of The 007 Band-A band first spotted on the SCENE at Zone 504, of course. Stage wise, this trio of Rob, Richard Denson (Drums), & Westside Johnny (Bass) were amongst the most efficient we've seen packing minimal PA gear yet perfectly projecting the sound for the Seagull holiday gathering. Musically, Saint played forth on his Fender and in a manner that best can be described as "skateboarding"-An enjoyable treat to take in. Take in a couple sets of The 007 Band when you get your chance!

VIVA! - One of the things the Mayan's end of the world reminded us is to live life to it fullest. Turns out there's a spot on the SCENE where such living is the norm and that would be at Cabo's Monday Night Open Mic. This gig starts later in the evening after many turn in for the evening for work the next morning. However here, things start rolling after swing shift lets out, people arrive ready to roll and with only a few hours before the law says its time to go home-And boy does this crowd know how to make the best of it! The music at this jam kicks off with house band, Mama Tried, testing out a few numbers, the likes of a Phish or Grateful Dead festival-Fluidic and looooong... The stage is staffed with a bona fide sound engineer, Cisco, handling the *wide* variety of musicians coming together on complex originals in a collaborative cohesive environment. In other words-Great sounding jams, the likes you'll probably never catch anywhere else but at Cabo's Monday Night Open Mic. Good stuff!

ROCK & ROLL HEAVEN - This year, we lost two musicians whom we covered in The SCENE. Mark Abrahamian, guitarist for Starship, died this year at the age of 46. Abrahamian had played since 2000 for the band, whose lineage reaches back to the 1960s with Jefferson Airplane and as Jefferson Starship in the 1980s. We lost another local musical force. Stephen Arthur who passed away after a 4.5 year battle with brain cancer. Stephen was one of the original members of the 'Fab 40' as well as the Mockingbyrds and several other bands. The music and friendship of both will be missed.

IT'S A WRAP - And with that, we look ahead to the year 2013. May the coming year be your year, may your hurdles be only temporary, and may the music always be a part of your life. We'll see you out there on The SCENE!
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