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Lot's happened in January with the arrival of Snow Bird Season. Nine Houston Texans played in the Pro Bowl, Mardi Gras is in full swing, and we caught some very new & exciting musical happenings out on the local SCENE with all of you. Let's run down the list...

EARLY EASTER - Means early Mardi Gras and people are catching great fun. The official Krewe of Kemah, Krewe du Lac, is expanding In 'The More, The Merrier" department welcoming several new local Krewes popping up. Be sure and find one! T-Bone Tom's got it rolling hosting the annual King's Cake with the Grateful Geezers on stage. It has to be cool to someday be known as a grateful geezer. Weather was Kemah perfect, service top notch, and the spirits abundant.

An expanded gathering of merry mongers attended the Krewe du Lac Royal Ball on board the Texas Paddlewheeler. Sam's Boat has become a perfect Port of Call for this annual affair. The food was perfect, more than plenty, and the Paddlewheeler staff utmost in every respect. Big Slick provided high energy rocking and rolling on the upper deck where revelers spent the entire cruise. Mattia's Piano Bar was the SCENE for the post cruise party with Daniel Rose, Liberty and a Joe Cocker sighting. Chalk up again, a massively fun evening!

The Krewe took it to the new Pod Zu's for happy hour where the weather was Snow Bird patio perfect and their crawfish cooked with properly seasoned water, not seasoned shells. The Kevin Anthony G-Town Band (Classic Country/Cajun music) was on the updated stage. Anybody recall the history of that stage? Hopefully soon, Revak will get to organize a Pod Zu's Music Festival, re-establishing the area as a state historical music by the sea landmark.

OUT AND ABOUT - Have you ever notice how other tabloids are often stacked on top of The SCENE in the racks around town? Makes sense for them trying to up their distribution - If only they had fun things to do each and every day of the month like you folks out there making it happen on the SCENE. This month, we checked out the south beat happening from San Leon, Bacliff, League City, Seabrook & Webster and boy were you all cooking!

Weekly gathering of the Parrot Head flock at Noah's Ark are as bright and chirpy as ever. Noah's menu is consistently a winner for seaside diners and patrons enjoyed the serenading of John Middlebrook on stage. Down towards April Fools Point, Latitudes had their patio cranking where we totally enjoyed The Zach Tate Band (Tom Rivera, Chuck Cabler and Anthony Puskus on guitar, bass & drums). Earlier in the evening, Zach broke strings on both acoustics. Borrowing a spare Strat from Rivera (Green Parrot fame) the man went fully electric and simply sizzled. Next time you catch Zach, ask him to break his acoustic strings and go electric. Seriously..... <vbgrin>

In Bacliff, we stopped in to catch Donnie Simmons at Katie's. Bob & Katie consistently books solid bands at their cozy hangout and unlike many places inside the loop, there's *never* a cover at Katie's - Only the best in Rock, Rhythm & Blues with great service and sprits. Keep Katie's on your go-to list - We do!

Bringing it north was word of Pirate Radio playing at Dempsey's. This was an area favorite with a strong vocal presence by Erik Garza. We thought the band hung it up when Garza went on to star in his new leading roll as "Pop". Boy, were we surprised... Dizzy Hayz and David Wolfe of the original band has reinvented the group bringing in keyboards, frontline vocals, and a completely revamped playlist which includes funk, disco, pop & dance. Dempsey's & Pirate Radio - Two reinventions for the new year, two SCENE Party Ready players, two good scores.

While on reinvention, Rhonda Meredith & I both had similar ideas when we both arrived to cover Fatty's and the Ron Jeremy Band. Jeremy Kilgore was my slant as we caught him about a year ago at Crazy Al's Swamp Shack scoring him as one of the best sounding shows the year. Since then, Kilgore's taken over on acoustic & vocals plus added drums to the mix. Andy Upchurch always hinted "Pay attention to two piece groups - There's little room for error & they've "got" to be good". Wise words... We'll let Rhonda give you readers the entire run down on this new group. Powerful, passionate and artistic comes to mind for now.

Viva! Part 2 - Last month, we uncovered a Monday night hot spot of our readership living it up at Cabo's Open Mic. This month further west on NASA Parkway is another hot spot, too not cranking it up until later in the evening and that would be La Hacienda with an evening of Clear Lake's best live International Salsa & Merengue music. Authentic as it gets, zesty rhythm & beats, and with a sultry flair, may we recommend this for your evening outing?

AMONGST THE LOUDEST LOCAL BANDS ON THE PLANET - Which would be Saturate, and their new regular gig , Unplugged Open Mic Night at Scout Bar. Strip away the amplifiers and listeners find a clarity within the music inherent to the local gems we have called musicians. We also caught Trill Labo, a bona fide swamp water music master, for the first time. Looking for something to do in the middle of the week? Trill Labo, Saturate, Scout Bar & Open Mic Night are SCENE ready.

ACROSS THE LAKE - Is typically where the Michael Stevens Band plays so when we heard they were at Jackie's Brickhouse serenading Wednesday Lady's Night crowd, we dropped in to check it out. This is a dinner combination that works with the band's nonstop medley of classics. This evening was a treat with Tony Bastida (Metalvenge & Trip to Cascity) sitting in on the bass & vocals. Crawfish season is around the corner-Put The Michael Stevens Band and Jackie's Brickhouse on your list.

2012 Texas Radio Hall of Fame - Inductee, Lee Jolly, told me he played in a band before his career in radio. When we caught word he would be filling in for Danny D at the Hourglass show at the Cockeyed Seagull, we knew we had to check it out. Wow, did word get out... The Seagull was *packed*. We enjoyed a treat hearing Lee on bass, harp & vocals and as usual, Hourglass brought out several pieces that have withstood the test of time that you never hear performed live. Lee Jolly, music of the ages, the Seagull - Clearly here for the long haul.

CONCERT FOR STEPHEN ARTHUR - We cover the annual Fab 40 event and when Stephen;s Concert was announce, knew we had to be there. A full house of musicians and friends from across the state arrived at Dan Electro's for the perfect gathering on the most perfect day in January. Tribute performers included Judi Messina, Giri Kalamangelam, Mood Indigo, Melissa Blassingame, Dina Hollingsworth, Spock's Brain, Earth and Sky, The Volunteers, The MockingByrds, The In B'tweens, Picture Book and the Fab 5. There's something about benefits for good causes where the music comes through exceptionally well and even more so for fallen musicians. Each performance deserves their own paragraph and it suffices to say the Concert for Stephen was utmost. Thanks to all who came out and to all those who shared - Peace....
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