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The hottest days of summer are past which means snowbird season is around the corner. Our baseball team boasts the AL hitting champion (of all things) and our football team shows life after death. Another year of school has started for many and pursuits of excellence continues while another year of legal aged partiers test the waters. Hurricane season so far hasn’t, patio season is near and best of all, some of the best live music was out there in September on the SCENE. This month, we took in one of the finest musical months and enjoyed hanging out with you, hearing your stories and catching up. To start…

THE NEW 40 AND HARMONIC CONVERGENCES – Which would be the big six oh and for the second month in a row, enjoyed a birthday musical celebration of the utmost. This time, the Blessed Fellow was our 12 String David, The Guitar Man, Schwope filling the house at the Signature Bistro to capacity with well wishing friends and musical talent the entire evening. David has been sporting a new 12 String Taylor these days which has been sounding well – I’m surprised I haven’t seen more of these instruments out and about, they sound so good. Helping David out that evening on the stage were Ben Reyna, Minor Key w/ Danny D, Dalton Wheeler, Bill Evans (who only plays open mics and presented some resonating Harry Chapin), Bobbie Emerson Revak, and perhaps best of all, in a Jim Shortt magical moment, Jeff and Greg Tillman, together treating my ears for the first time to what my predecessor wrote often about back in the day. Wow, that was good! Word is Greg is out and about playing live these days (keep your ears peeled) and we were able to score a copy of Jeff’s new album “In From The Cold”. The world is good….

JUST KICK IT – Which was the benefit for Mike Bright, a military veteran, former NASA contractor, long time neighborhood soccer coach. I honestly never met the man myself but stopped by his benefit at the friendly and spacious Jackie’s Brickhouse to check out the action and a Galactic Coast Brewery Sneaky Blond and gotta say, this benefit was attended by perhaps the widest cross cut of people I’d ever seen. Sports memorabilia auction items were provided by Ryan Fiterman who doesn’t show up for just anybody – Clearly a classy turnout coming together to support a clearly classy guy, unfortunately gapped and fallen in today’s medical system. Well done to Jackie’s, the staff, the volunteers, and to those who were a part. Cheers!

NEW SPOT ON THE BEAT – Which would be Lazy Lizard Coastal Kitchen & Cantina, site of the former Latitudes. Wood & Wind was on the stage with the splendid water backdrop, breezy air and boats cruising in for the evening. Chatting with Ken & Janel, one thing that would be great would be to post the harbor depths for those with larger sailing ships interested in navigating in. The food looked good and the endless salsa was some of the finest in the area. We’ll be keeping an eye on Lazy Lizard’s this upcoming patio season and let you know more…

BACK ON THE BEAT – And that would be The Monkey Bar and The Michael Steven’s Band in the Kemah Lighthouse District. Some things never change and the friendly Monkey Bar crowd and Michael’s nonstop medley playlist style are two of them. It’s been awhile since we’ve caught either, perhaps too long – We owe both another visit. While in the District, we caught Donn Eisele and Steve Shannon at Crazy Alan’s Swampshack peeling off song after song of good time . I’m glad to see managers book this duet as their playlist of classic American traditionals is quite rare.

SOUTHPAWS – About a year ago, I suggested to keep eye out for Southpaw guitarists, the ones who play on right handed guitars. Chris Elliot is one of these types as their unorthodox style is a sign of considerable talent and perseverance. Another of such a type of player is Rob Saint, whom I first caught at the Cockeyed Seagull with the 007 Band. In September, we caught Rob and his band on the upper deck of Noah’s Ark and on both evenings, blown away with the lucid fluidic playing style for song after song after song of no playlist nonstop medley’s – Truly brilliant….. Rob Saint – Keep your ears peeled for him and try on a set (you can probably catch him at Noah’s or Katie’s). Chances are you’ll probably stay the evening….

BAYCLIFF’S MUSIC HALL – Which of course would be Katie’s. We’ve been reporting how Bob & Katie Refeng Shui’d the old post office into a music appreciation room and happy to report steady growing bunch of regulars to catch whoever is playing. In September, we took in a few sets of the Paul Ramirez Band and can testify an ever growing audience of appreciative music lovers getting in their fix of Blues, R&B, Rock at Katie’s, where unlike the inner loop bands, there never the cover…

STEADY MEDICINE – We stopped in at Sherlock’s in September and just like clockwork, the crowds started to arrive around 11 – Clearly a place for the late night life. On stage was Rat Ranch sounding better than usual. Seems like their soundman has been taking advantage of the new technologies with an iPad mixer sitting out in the audience getting the sound right where we all tend to sit. I like how these mobile sound boards let’s the Front of House sound mixers roam the room and but not sure how user friendly they are having to scroll and toggle between different screens, especially for bands featuring a variety of leads and multiple vocalists. Nonetheless, the sound was very good this evening.

HOME TOWN MEDICINE – About a year ago, I got the chance to cover the debut of Soul In Tension at Scout Bar and was impressed not only with their clever name, strong play list of originals, but moreover their hometown following from Sante Fe who came out to see them to help propel SIT to amongst the top of local new bands for 2013. On the last Saturday in September, we stopped in to Scout Bar again as SIT headlined the evening. Coupled with their energetic style (wish they would try jumping off the monitors a bit more often) was a solid performance which can only develop by getting out and playing (something Scout Bar has been great for with young local bands) and a larger and ever strong crowd out to cheer them on. When I watch a bands following, I tend to skip over how well they head bob and fist pump in unison to the rhythm but eye how many of their fans who can actually sing along the words to original songs, which to me is a truer sign of a strong following. Soul In Tension has it.

NEW MEDICINE – I was walking through the parking lot at T-Bone Tom’s, saw disco lights from the Landshark Stage flashing over the fence and heard Donna Summers crystal clear through the air, thinking “Great…. Just when did T-Bone’s started booking DJs….” Entering the patio, blow me away, there’s no DJ but Still Cruisin’ on stage belting out some of the crispest clearest sounds these ears have ever heard from the stage. With enough JBL’s to blow out small arena, this snazzy band from Beaumont sports only one mutual Facebook Friend, Jerry Diaz, and they like the music of Bobby Kimball and The Texas Frog Fest. Okay, so they do Facebook different than other bands but man, can they play! Perhaps the best kept secret of the summer – Still Cruisin’ at T-Bone Tom’s…. Check ‘em out!

OVER THE TOP – Readers know that over the years, we’ve been keeping a loose track on Madigan belting out the shows throughout the area. I’ll ‘fess that I’m a lover of the game of golf and, hang with me folks, this band reminds me of a scratch player year in and year out swings a one-iron, ever tweaking their routine with the addition of Jeremy Walton and Mike McColloch in the bag, pounds 300 plus yard drives with Jedi Knight Fulks on the kit, keeps it all in play with Dale on the desk, sizzles the180 yard approach shots within inches with Dave’s liquid iron sound, and Melissa never afraid to try her chops on some new song – All of them coming together and coming through big when it counts. On the last Saturday in September, we caught Madigan and McColloch’s birthday night at Jackie’s Brickhouse with what was described as nothing less as an epic evening of concert rock, frenzied fans, musical confidence oozing song after song, and crazy outright fun by everybody there (yup, we were with you!) which scores Madigan and Jackie’s Brickhouse as Over The Top for the month of September. Bravo!

IT’S A WRAP – Okay Folks, we’re turning the corner into the final quarter of the year 2014. With that comes the start of the nine month stretch I like to call Snow Bird season, our best time of the year, and time to get out of the air conditioning to the world we call The SCENE. Thanks for taking the time to chat and share your stories – Keep it together and keep it shining on!!!

IN FROM THE COLD – I scored a copy of Jeff Tillman’s new CD, “In From The Cold”. I wish my predecessor, Jim Shortt was still around to do this review – But will try my best…. Produced by Phillip Shanks with all music and lyrics by Jeff, this 9 song collection chronicles the life and experiences with an open and frank honesty that seems suited the every person. The opening song, Everybody’s Gone describes the return of a young man from college to find everybody he grew up with has left seeking their own fame and fortune, the emptiness, the uncertainties of moving on, and the uncertain revelation to take root and make a stand – I’m sure many have felt this before so this song applies well. The second song, Young, Wild and Free is a song that should set of flashbacks to the listeners who tried their hand at relationships earlier in life – A tempting song to try on the jukebox should you ever bump into your lover from decades past while out and about. No regrets…. The third song, Summer Boy easily suits well as soundtrack material for the coming of age
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