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The month of May had us hopping all across the gamut this year on both the indoor and outdoor front. Belated April showers tried dampening things but we were not to be denied. Many of you we spoke with shared recently seeking your new normals with the changes of family, life, health & professions - More of you than what would seem normal. I used to think that advocates for change were for those incapable of maintaining any meaningful consistency and came to the conclusion that it should be the other way around, where ones stability and consistency better enables one to handle the curve balls of the universe which is a long winded path getting me to the point that the live music SCENE has been nothing short of consistently outstanding these days - The Artists we sampled in May were fundamentally rock solid and with their firm foundation, able to delve into the interesting, the delightful, and newly invent what could easily have been considered tired and old. And to these ears, is a pleasant treat we get to enjoy out on the place we call The SCENE. A bit of what all went down....

The Finest Music Listening Hall In Town - And that would be at Katie's. My predecessor, the late Jim Shortt, would simply be all over this place with their performer centric layout. This month, we took in the 2013 Houston Press Best Female Vocalist, Annika Chambers, and boy did they get this one right! Warming up the audience this evening was Paul Ramirez who needed no more than half a song before he was channeling soulful blues with a direct link straight from the cosmos. Paul is the type of blues player that needs to be shared nationally, he's that good and with Annika, Katie's patrons never have had it so good. Pick a night, any night - Chances are good you'll catch a great show at Katie's.

HAPPY 60TH - Which goes to the Village Fair this year. Rain tried hard to wash out this event but not enough to enjoy Whiskey River, laying down a full house of rock over country, and Roger Creager bringing it home. This event has changed lots in recent years and strikingly missing were the local bands and the local crowds they bring. Nonetheless, the country & western folks were served well on Saturday and the many BBQ cook off contestants were treated to MainStage honors which their tasty offerings rightly deserve, least we forget - We *are* Texas and we *are* all about the BBQ!!!

MUSICAL CHAIRS - Last month, we made mention of how Billy Gilbert has been rekindling this effective format, sharing the stage with an ever changing lineup of local talent. This month at the Cockeyed Seagull, we caught Billy joining up with members of the Myrna Sanders band and boy, did it sound good. With Lynn Raggio on lead, Joann Stone and Reida Reilly on percussion, and Myrna holding down bass, acoustic rhythm and vocals, a band like this makes me wonder why hardly anybody records live shows any more these days - This stuff was crazy good in all positions. Speaking of recording....

WILL PLAY FOR FOOD - Is coming up around the corner. I was chatting with Roland Belmarez how the mastering on the CD was coming. For many unfamiliar with the methods, mastering music is the process where the tunes are checked for playability be it through earbuds, boom boxes, car players, or home entertainment centers - All from the same take. People sometimes incorrectly think that mastering music is where one can create the tone and tenor of a song different from the original recording, which good people, is difficult if not impossible, and all the reason to capture the original mix right the first time. Which somehow gets us back to the dearth of quality live music recordings. Anyway... One band that would be great to listen to 24/7's would be....

OA - Which might be someday the rebranded Obsolete August, who we enjoyed very much at the inaugural Sherlock's BrewFest in May. Kevin Holme and Dan Lopez have been at it for quite the while playing all over town with an occasional guest performer sitting in. Throughout the years, these two have mastered the art of tinkering with popular upbeat favorites, opening them up and slicing the number apart with a crisp and airy syncopation, hitting the spaces ever so perfectly,creating a sound space that is delightfully easy to listen to, and one they share regularly with us out on The SCENE. Did I mention earlier, something about being consistently strong enough to create change? Dan & Kevin have it. Speaking of consistently strong....

FAB 5 - Yup, the folks at Jackie's Brickhouse did it again this month and brought the area something somewhat new, the Fab 5 Beatles Tribute Band. These cats have been all around the Houston area and I was curious how well they'd be received. The audience at Jackie's on this evening was very much like with Spare Hearts, a Heart tribute band, stopped in - initially respectful of the music at first but soon enough, get the feet moving and soon partying the-night away. The audience at Jackie's, a crazy good fun bunch with their live music. Cheers!

TOUR STOP CLEAR LAKE - While on my rant of strong consistency, Scout Bar (true to form) has not only upgraded their indoor beer garden/sports bar sitting area but also upgraded their presentation with new sound and light boards, all just in time to pack the house with International touring act Lacuna Coil, from Milano, Italy and four months into their Broken Crown Halo Tour. Our hometown Downfall 2012 got to open for this international touring act which I regret arriving too late to catch. Pretty cool as Cristina Scabbia taking a moment from tearing up the stage during this Memorial Day weekend to express thanks for getting to live in and play in a cool and awesome country - Totally unexpected but resonated. As for their new material, go ahead and read what this album is all about on their Facebook page, it's written perfectly. What I can tell you is that sonically, the duo of Cristina and Andrea Ferro hits it song after song after song with the power and passion like no other with the possible of exception of Meatloaf and Ellen Foley from the Bat Out of Hell days, which I consider darn good...

ANNUAL OLEANDERS - Hosted by Andy and Vicky Upchurch, this party by musicians for musicians (and friends) year in and year out is one of my all time favorites. Joining the Dreamsicles and the Kick Ass Brass this year was The Night Caps (a newcomer that I've never heard before and totally enjoyed) and the Crossroads (who you can often enjoy at T-Bone Tom's). It's always great to catch up with the regulars at this party and always fun meeting all the new faces joining the fold. As this years event fell on Memorial Day Weekend, we got blown away this year with Bill Samson (arguably amongst the regions finest baritones) brought the party to a a complete momentary halt with rendition of Battle Hymn of The Republic fitting for a nation.

IT'S A WRAP - Forbes Magazine reports the Houston area as the number one place in the nation for growth. As my philosopher buddy Steve Revak muses, it makes you wonder what in the world the rest of the nation is doing. As for me, yours truly is wrapping up an incredible year of rebound and looking forward. All the Best and we'll see you out there!
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