Everybody here?!?!? Great!!! This month blasted by *fast* complete with March Madness, Spring Break, Spring Fever, St. Patty’s Weekend and something happening everywhere! Twas impossible keeping up with all of you this month and we trust you enjoyed your SCENE where ever you made it…
ON THE FLIPSIDE – of each month’s SCENE Magazine is the Arts Section and knowing our Director of Growth & Development likes art, we checked out the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and their production of The Sound of Music. This all time classic was finely choreographed and well executed by our local talent with the pageantry and joy our Director appreciates. Live music-wise? Twas *perfect* in volume, tone, clarity and ambience with not one amplifier needed whatsoever. Cheers to the cast and company at RAFA! Also from the flip side, we checked out the annual Kemah Pan Jam and got in a good dose of sun, fun and steel drums. Benefitting area college steel drum music programs, this year’s compositions were more difficult and perfectly performed — Proof 2012 is a great year!
THE DROUGHT’S OVER? – And in typical Gulf Coast fashion, we caught up in just a few days giving us a the perfect window to enjoy a few of the SCENE’s great indoor venues. And so we venture up 146 and east on Main into La Porte and stopped in for our first time at Mainly Drinks. Located in the former Sharpe Family ice cream parlor built in 1904, Houstonians would stop here for a break on their way to and from Galveston beaches. Over a century later the fine food, spirits and the nuevo friendly patrons gather again as the sound reverbs naturally through the air — This place is alive… We enjoyed the Acoustic Sharks in the house with relaxing renditions of their traditional “rock with a bite” set list. The faces and the names may change, but the song remains the same — Mainly Drinks… Off 146 and west on NASA Road One, sisters Melissa & Elizabeth never ceases to amaze at the Signature Bistro. We’ve been going there for over a year and had mostly different eats each time and each time’s consistently excellent… This rainy night, we enjoyed the (humungous) crab cakes and decompressed with jazz flamenco guitarist/vocalist Dalton Wheeler and his silky tenor pipes along with Christine Gietzen swooning numbers off the classy jazzy list. Aside from the splendid food, fine service and great music, every patron you meet at the Signature Bistro is always perched on the content to gregarious side of life (aka great mojo). The rains kept coming so further west on NASA Road One we went for an evening at Mediterraneo. The credentials here includes entertainers from around the world partaking of the fine eats and so did we. Going with our monster servings of Paelia Valenciana was Micky Hobbes on the stage and two sets of Belly Dancing, complete with mesmerizing magic. Mediterraneo always has a nice crowd and super service. Thinking of traveling to the Mediterranean and can’t get away? Mediterraneo works… Mainly Drinks, Signature Bistro, and Mediterraneo – Great places to hang out, wine, dine and enjoy live music!
ON THE OTHER END OF THE DIAL – We took in some ferocious shows this month at Jackie’s Brickhouse and Scout Bar. Reports are that Jackie’s has recently passed Gilhooley’s as the largest restaurant/bar business in Galveston County. Wow… We’ve more on Jackie’s in this issue so we’ll stick with the live music and Madigan. In the past, we’ve mentioned this band’s big sound, super lights, power & energetic delivery but failed to mention their fans. Shame on us… Madigan fans are amazing and *everywhere*, dancing and partying through the sets as well as during intermission — A ferociously fun bunch! Scout Bar this month was exceptionally good. A.D. Rowntree and the 94.5FM Texas Buzz night scored well with SIXL6 and Dreaming from California. Their tunes hinted of, according to local critics, Led Zeppelin, Robin Trower, ACDC and *early* ZZ Tops, and Little Feat. The good stuff… We followed up Rhonda Merideth’s feature last month checking out Orgy returning to the stage after a 7 year hiatus and so did folks from all across Houston. Other headlines we caught included Born From Ruins and a a fully locked and loaded Saturate at the annual St. Patricks Day blowout. We’ve come to the conclusion these guys have a great bunch of loyal fans and why not? Saturate gives it their all each every night they take the stage. Great varieties, great shows, and here in our back yard. And that folks, is called Tour Stop, Clear Lake — Cheers!
WHAT’S NEW – Is what we like about our local live music and this month, we’ve several finds. Here’s the skinny… Brian Carrion returned to town regathering the C.B. Kings and bringing along jazz pianist, Ben Fisher, adding a savvy new dimension to the mix… Ever the one to go where the music leads, Brian’s moved to Nashville with no doubt of more to come. With the patio season ahead, Chris Hardy sets up the outdoor stage, Area 91 antes in, and Scout Bar is now on the patio SCENE! Texas Buzz Guitarist of the Year, Tim Huston debuts his violin skills and South has a great new dimension that works. We’re predicting more… Former Magazine bass player J.D. has put together a new band called Blue Moon and we finally were able to catch them on the SCENE at Maribelle’s. Technically all together and just scratching the surface of what they’re capable of, we’re looking forward to seeing these guys more out on the SCENE. Give ‘em a shot! Singer songwriter and columnist, Zach Tate and the band has been cutting tracks at Sugar Hill Studios and we gave them a listen at the Cockeyed Seagull. Our thoughts? We scored this as western blues poetry powered with driving beats, bullwhip turnarounds and clever bridges–Zapa’esque almost… Over at Pier 27, we checked out Soulfiya and Black Lung Crew for some rappin’ reggae from the island. Marc Borde made an appearance for a few songs and we were impressed considering he just wrapped up his spring break beach festival on the island… Season Ammons is out touring the southeast United States with her debut album I’m Alive. We caught her on the T-Bone Tom’s patio with percussionist Peter Gruezmacher, and former member of Sequoyah, Randy Smith on lead. Ever the paradox, Season’s down to earth country friendly presence coupled with her progressively edgy lyrics and clever fluidic progressions always makes for a snazzy and jazzy evening worth catching.
PATIO SEASON – Is here and not a moment too soon! This year’s season kicked off at La Brisa with Andy and The Dreamsicles. It’s been a while since we’ve caught these cats and they’ve added considerably to their play list where more than half of what we heard were newly added standards. Ever a musically strong bunch, each member comes equipped with great pipes and super close to pulling off 5 part harmonies (ala Eagles), a rarity on the local music scene. We keep our fingers crossed… At T-Bone Tom’s, we caught regional blues monster Scott McGill and were curious how this would turn out. Usually, we catch Scott and his band at Katie’s, the area’s best hangout for the blues. Judging from the audience, this was exactly what patrons were needing and that would be the strong stuff. The patio season is here–And to be continued…
VENUS & MARS ARE STILL ALRIGHT TONIGHT – Ever head off for spring break and never return? I know of one such person and now I know of a few more — They call themselves Almost Endless Summer and we caught them on the Crazy Alan’s Swampshack patio stage on the nicest evening of the month for a set which included Journey, Genesis, Traveling Wilburys & Wings. We suspect more of you that haven’t quite returned from your spring break making this group one you might very well enjoy spending the evening with.
AND WITH THAT — April is here! Tis time to get the chores done, get out and enjoy some good food, drinks, fun and great live music out on The SCENE! See you out there!