LOOSENOTES - The Heat are this year's NBA Champions, the dog days of summer are around the corner and we cooled off by taking our music loving ears to the water. Last month, we spent time with the Yachty Gras folks and the Shuttlebration Celebration armada. The Yachty Gras group is busy planning a new and exciting season and we look forward to more good times ahead. Also, we hung out with another popular annual event, the Texas Outlaw Challenge. These amazing creations make the most impressive music to the ears when screaming across the water. In the months ahead, we've prime time sailboat racing to enjoy and throughout it all, the live music remains alive and well. Let's run through the month.
ON THE WATER -- Out on Galveston Bay at Noah's Ark, Casey Bennett's put together a fun new band calling themselves the Black Light Mannequins with plenty of the neon painted models on hand, custom vintage hippie lighting, and tie-die galore. Musically, these guys moved seamlessly from one song to the next touching the 60's & 70's rock spectrum (rockabilly, classic, southern, Hendrix electric) you'd play on a 70'a cross country road trip. Out on the water at Outriggers, we decompressed in the cool Kemah breezes with buckets of iced beer, great chow for everybody and Southbound on the stage. These guys have been weaving some new originals into their nonstop playlist and have a remarkable way of setting the atmosphere to "beach quality" perfect every where they play. Heads up - August heat in Houston can be maddening for which we recommend getting away with Southbound on their 5 day trip to Cozumel leaving August 3rd. Checking out the itinerary, this is a deal you won't want to miss. Surf over to www.southboundus.com
and book your getaway today!
FOLLOWUP - A couple months ago, we fell in love with a new stop, Mainly Drinks in LaPorte, and knew a follow up was in order. Turns out we had it right as the place was packed for dinner with Cerebelus (Rachel Naomi Walker and Armando Vazquez) filling the air with soulful R&B bent towards a Rock/Pop sound. Duets are amongst our favorite groups where performances tend towards tight eclectic. Enjoy Cerebelus at Mainly Drinks, Signature Bistro and other fine locations on The SCENE. This month we also followed up Jackie B's outdoor stage catching the Michael Stephens duet along with Wood & Wind. Bobbie & Steve have been steadily adding a whole bunch of new songs to their playlist-The eclectic ones you rarely hear performed locally live. Special guest included radio personality Lee Jolly on the bass. Musically, both evenings scored a thumbs up. Cheers!
THE TEST OF TIME -- Old Town League City was where it happened in a good old fashion way with a concert in the park and regional touring group, The Kurland Street Band, in the gazebo. Originally made up of musicians that worked for HL&P in 1985, these professionals have since been dispersed as is typical in modern corporate America. Yet as musicians, they've stuck together keeping big band swing alive covering the era of the 1920's through some of today's new artists for all us young at heart. Reckoning this through, the Kurland Street Band and their music truly passes the test of time. Put them on your watch list.
THE HEAT IS ON - One of the finest North American tribute bands stopped by the Moody Gardens, and we were there. Briefcase Full Of Blues was their name and these cats gave forth the finest rendition of the infamous American tradition, The Blues Brothers (handcuffs and all). Joining the high energy traveling entourage were our very own Andy Upchurch, Fred Linton, David Watson, and Paul Chapman (keys, sax, bone and sound). On this evening, the beach was cooking the music was even hotter. *This* is a group this area deserves to see more often
NEW BAND ALERT and CONNECTING THE DOTS - Joe Palmero, from Six Car Pileup, doesn't often send us event invites so when he does, we take notice and boy does his new group, Breakfast At Tiffany's, score mention on our watch list. We caught this group at Dempsey's, a place never afraid to try something new and pull it off well. It's no secret people here like 80's dance bands and I suspect we'll see more of these folks in the months ahead. This group had a bright sharp cadence elevating the evening's edge nicely and with Dale on the mixing board, were sonically precise to the nines (that's a rare score folks). Check 'em out! While we're with Dempsey's, we dropped in on the Wells Alliance Benefit (thewellsalliance.bbnow.org) who have been doing good things for several years running. We were able to catch After Party and Madigan that day. By my informal accounting, Madigan is amongst the leaders appearing at charity events throughout the year. Forget their rocking high energy shows and you can still connect the dots yourself...
ON REINVENTION - Coaches will always say its a good idea to hang on to what works and a Mambo Jazz King show never fails. Not many Houston metroplex venues can readily host Mambo's team but Jackie's Brickhouse does so with ease. Aside from the tried and true, we've been enjoying the new talent Jackie's has been bringing in and this month, it was Boot Jam with Mandi Powell, Susan Hickman and Presley Lewis taking turns on the indoor stage - A great way to spend a hot Saturday afternoon. Perhaps best of all however this month is Jackie's Monday Steak Night and Open Mic. We knew the cooks at the Brickhouse are capable of some seriously fine culinary cuisine and what they do with a steak is incredible. May we recommend too the side of shrimp and stuffings all the way? The Open Mic hosted by Lynn Raggio, Myrna Sanders, and Cisco Ruiz is first rate too with a good mix of musicians stopping in for the evening. Monday Night Football is a ways away - In the mean time, we've Jackie's Brickhouse Steak Night & Open Mic. Make this a regular evening on your Monday night schedule.
ON CONSISTENCY - Which is the Scout Bar and their steady lineup of local, national & international touring acts. Summer vacations caused us to miss the sweet spot of last months lineup but we did catch Brett Cardiff at his last show at Scout Bar with IDR. Over the months catching Brett's ever steady nitty gritty work on the bass hasn't gone unnoticed - For many to play at such a level on a single night would be pretty cool but to see his intensity level each and every night is truly remarkable. If John Madden were to have an All American Team of Intense Bass Players, Brett would be on that team. Cheers!
ON KEEPING IT COOL - Okay, so some of us tend to fade in the heat after awhile. Never fear cuz' Kevin and the team at Cullen's Live keeps their music cooking and the AC set low. This month, the area's longest running Beatle tribute band, The Fab 5, had the place twisting and shouting the night away which is always a good thing. The other coolest hang out this summer has got to be the Cockeyed Seagull. We caught Big Tip Todd there for the first time. We didn't put them on the New Band Alert list earlier and do so here. These guys don't just have it down musically but do so with a flair and social conscience too. Somehow, the music's simply better when the latter two gets folded in. Ever notice?
The summer solstice is behind us and while the days will be getting shorter, we're happy to say we still have the best night lift action happening. Indoors or outside, on the water or on land, you folks do it all. Keep doing it well and we'll do it with you out there on The SCENE.