LOOSENOTES - The heat is on and the dog days of summer are here once again. No problem, we're Texas tough... Our readers tells us they love and appreciate the gusto and spirit of the local live music SCENE and from what we witness, our readers are right. We were able to sample some very good live music in July with you-Let's roll down some of what went down and starting with a bang...
FRIDAY FIREWORKS - SCENE readers have made Crazy Alan's Swamp Shack a favorite Friday night hangout for dining, catching the cool Kemah breeze, and fireworks show. Area favorite, Almost Endless Summer, has this gig down pat when fuse gets lit with a high energy feel good medley of contemporary classics playing out the mains - Not Sousa but just as agreeable. The band lineup of Danny Kristensen, Bobby Fossier, Richard Morant & John McKay play pretty much any instrument (talented cats) plus they all can sing a lead! Almost Endless Summer is now so check 'em out! (www.almostendlesssummer.com). In other Swampshack music news, Bob informs us they now carry music seven days a week for patio season patrons. Their weekday slant will be along the lines of smaller acoustic groups so that you readers can carry on your necessary conversations with friends and business clients and the big bands on the weekend when its time to whup it up-Makes sense!
IT MEANS "THE BREEZE" - And this time of year, that's a good thing. So with that we dropped in at the original La Brisa on 146 joining the full house on the patio with Overdrive, a 5 member group that plays favorite dance tunes from the 60's to today. "Smooth vocals, layered harmonies, and hot guitar licks blended with the solid groove of the rhythm section are the hallmarks of Overdrive." Another ditty with this group is that they're often playing where the gentle Galveston Bay breeze is to be enjoyed. Did we say that's a good thing? While on patios...
We stopped by T-Bone Tom's ever hopping patio palapa and caught Andy and The Dreamsicles. It never ceases to amaze that now matter the crowd, the service at T-Bones is always utmost and satisfaction tops. The Dreamsicle's Kick Ass Brass is gelling into quite the formidable horn section capable of blasting through the roof with mezzo forte pizzazz. With Randy (Ninja Guitarist) Hughes, Jeff Hoke (drums) and Upchurch in the Captain's seat, this band reminds me of the new Houston Rockets, having the pieces and what it takes to make it all the way.
Down the street deeper into the Lighthouse District, we spotted a new rack of SCENE magazines at the LOCO Deckhouse and stopped in to check it out. This is a perfect place to catch the Kemah Breeze, avoid the Lighthouse District mobs, catch up with friends, and enjoy good music. In July, we took in a few sets from Music Meister Chad Ware along with Chris Whitten & Bob Hawkins on bass & fiddle. The boys have been putting in time at the studio and wrapped up tracks for their upcoming EP - We got to hear them live at the Deckhouse, found the lyrics to be relevant, the melody agreeable, and integrity legit - Well done!
REINVENTION^2 - SCENE readers testify Dempsey's has come quite a ways with their new location. The place can boast "Never a Parking Problem!", a new music stage and more seating which is gold star worthy. We stopped in to catch local favorite RockitBayou on the new stage and with the new lighting system-They looked (and sounded) great! Former Rockit Bayou Lead Singer Leah Howell has moved on to her hot new gig as Super Mom and joining the boys is Ashley Hennessy, a singer we first sampled at the Zone 504 Karaoke Finals. Chatting with Christian Weigand, we learn the group has a new sound taking shape with Ashley on board and from what we sampled, placing this band on our watch list in the months ahead - Mark them on yours...
BIG SIX OH - And a hearty round of "Cheers!" goes out to SCENE Bartender Emeritus and Bass Master Mark Fenton. Hourglass was on the stage ushering the monumental day. New to the group is Jerry Hamric on lead guitar who joins up with Kevin & Mark Fenton, Claudia Hammon, Lee Jolly and Stix Davis. In an interesting twist was a guest vocal appearance by Joey Wainright of the Seagull Karaoke Brigade with a passionate performance of Funeral for a Friend. I'm pretty sure my predecessor, the late Jim Shortt never met Elton John or heard Joey sing but pretty sure he would've awarded a hearty "Bravo" for the effort.
BIG SIX OH OH - When I read that Wood & Wind would be playing their 600th event at Cock & Bull, it was an event we knew we'd have to consider and was it a winner. The Cock & Bull was the perfect setting for this milestone event which included eight originals in the play list, freshly baked sour dough, fish & chips and a large beer and wine selection list. Many go out to eat and run but the Cock & Bull is the place to hang out and dine. Understand the difference? Perhaps the only element missing would be a solid open mic akin to the old Emily day - Who knows?
3X OVER THE TOP - A great live music SCENE we have in these parts and every so often, listeners get to catch a rare moment, the kind that makes you glad you were there. In July, we were treated to THREE of such shows - Big Country, Starr Jernigan Band's and Cold Feet.
The Big Country was a splendid evening for many reasons - It marked the return of the popular 80's band to Texas with The Journey Tour after a 20 year hiatus (to Scout Bar of course). They boast arguably the hottest father-son guitar duo happening with Bruce and Jamie Watson. The band has also been rejuvenated with an upbeat Mike Peters (Alarm) on lead vocals and Derek Forbes (Simple Minds) popping on the bass. Thomas tells us there are lots of exciting shows coming to Scout Bar - Stay tuned in and "Stay Alive!"
Cold Feet is an enduring collection of Texas Gulf Coast Ninja Music Warriors that has played in the area over the decades and these days, often appear with little warning. The line up has changed over the years for this popular 80's garage band and Seabrook Music Festival pioneers which these days include David Hargraves, Danny D, Donny McCorquodate, Kevin Taylor, Jack Horn, and Freddy Krc. In July, we enjoyed a Cold Feet set during a Moon Dog show at the Cockeyed Seagull. Quite a mouthful yes but what is important to know is to keep Cold Feet and Moon Dog on your radar. They've got a gusto and zest for the classics that doesn't lie which we know you'll appreciate. Book 'em if you can!
The Starr Jernigan Band is one fine example of the gusto produced out of the Texas Gulf Coast, a place we call home. A great Thursday Biker Night crowd was present at Jackie's Brickhouse to catch one of the final shows of the Starr Jernigan Band. This group is a rare collaboration of talent whose members are in themselves forces of nature. Starr lays out tasteful lead break solos solidly in the realm known to mortals as channeling. Her band of Myrna Sanders on bass, Clint Glaze on keyboards, and Jason Padilla (plays like Keith Moon) are all master class musicians each capable of fronting their own band. Music insiders understand the forces which gives us great music occasionally require the recreation of its players and as the Starr Jernigan Band enters that phase in the days ahead, we join the many of you thanking them for their musical treats we have enjoyed while they were together - All the Best!