By William Michael Smith
By Jef With One F
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Sonya Harvey
By Jesse Sendejas Jr.
By Nathan Smith
By Craig Hlavaty
And so the end of an era looms. Back in the 1980s and '90s, going to this strip was the epitome of an urban night out. Rockefeller's had a red carpet out front. There were doormen and a swanky awning. If you tired of the music in one club, you could walk to a different one next door or across the street, where today only yuppie lofts now stand. To get the same experience now, you have to drive down the street to Pamland Central -- Pam Arnold's three-club cluster that includes Walter's on Washington, Silky's and Mary Jane's -- but since none of those clubs has the architectural grandeur of Rockefeller's, the experience isn't quite the same.
For many years, Rockefeller's was theshowcase club in town. And a roster of acts that played in the former bank is as studded with bright stars as the night sky over Big Bend. Just to skim some of the cream off the top: James Brown, Chet Atkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Jerry Lee Lewis, Gil Scott-Heron, Fats Domino, Kris Kristofferson, Count Basie, Dwight Yoakam, John Lee Hooker, Tina Turner, Ray Charles and Dexter Gordon all played there. Stevie Ray Vaughan used to jam there every Monday for whoever was willing to give the doorman two bucks. That Rockefeller's had formerly been a bank seemed to make the acts that played there even more treasured than they already were.
For its part, the Satellite -- which had the coolest bars in town -- launched the Hollisters, Miss Molly and Hadden Sayers on to the world. Both Ian Moore and Honeybrowne cut live albums there not long ago, while Jason and the Nashville Scorchers recently played what they have said will be their last show ever. Knoxville, Tennessee's V-Roys -- the South's answer to the Replacements -- played there every time through town back in their 1990s heyday. In recent years, the Satellite's schedule has come to be dominated by mid-level Austin acts such as Vallejo, Reckless Kelly, Soulhat, Patrice Pike and Bob Schneider's many musical personae.
Come next year, assuming the Satellite doesn't reopen, most of those acts will be performing at either the Continental Club, Walter's or the Rhythm Room, and the only time any of us will ever again hear a Gibson strummed in the 3600 block of Washington will be if we're invited to a wedding.
Jets to Brazil have canceled their entire upcoming U.S. tour, which was to include a stop in Houston. Details are vague, but their flacks released a statement saying one of the band members was sick If you missed the Gogol Bordello show last Thursday, you missed out on one of the most fun, thought-provoking, thrilling and destructive spectacles ever to come to Rudyard's -- or Houston, for that matter. Vocalist Eugene Hütz -- the Ukrainian Gypsy love child of Shane MacGowan and Charlie Chaplin -- leaped onto the stage clutching a bottle of Red Stripe and a cigarette, and in the next 90 minutes simply laid waste to Rudz. He knocked over about 20 chairs, snatched a small table out from under the noses of two alarmed patrons, flung "Connolly for Family Court Judge" election placards into the audience and snapped not one, not two, but three microphone chords, all while airtight Gypsy punk careened behind him on guitar, accordion, violin, drums and sax. Meanwhile, the über-sexy Go-Gogol Girls appeared from time to time, once as ice princess Soviet border guards in furry hats and aviator shades, another time as Dostoyevskian street beggars, and finally as what can only be described as Gypsy cheerleaders clashing cymbals and banging on huge bass drums. It was one of those nights that teetered on the edge of utter insanity, or maybe that was just Racket and his companion, who had smuggled in a flask of Spanish absinthe -- the only tipple equal to that evening's proceedings. You know what they say: Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder.
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