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Meridian Primed

Hate sports bars? Then you'll love the Old Chinatown rock venue's new sports bar.

You're probably gonna wanna sit down for this.

The Roman Catholic Church, the governing religious body for about one-sixth of the world's population, is a sham. Yeah, we know — crazy. Turns out it's little more than a self-serving super-entity that revolves mostly around power and money.

And who has blessed us with this revelation? Pretty much where we get all of our information on religion: a lady in a bar dressed like a bird.

The Sports Bar at Meridian is more a bar that happens to show sports than a bar based around sports.
Larami Culbertson
The Sports Bar at Meridian is more a bar that happens to show sports than a bar based around sports.
1503 Chartres

Morgan Powers, a twentysomething housewife who's passing time inside Meridian's new sports bar, The Sports Bar at Meridian (1503 Chartres), isn't dressed like a literal bird, more a metaphorical one. Still, her outfit — a bright-red dress with a plunging V-neck that reaches towards her belly button, a tail that drags behind her and feathers that come sprouting up behind her head — is just splendid.

She says that it represents her alter ego,The Cardinal (hence the red color and feathers), and is a jab at the eponymous high-ranking RCC clergy.

Powers's verbal takedown of that religious organization involves the phrase "international hate machine" and a clarification that she is "not a devil worshipper." Even in this context, that's always a weird thing to have someone assume you're thinking about them.

If Powers sounds like someone you wouldn't typically meet in a sports bar, that's because The Sports Bar at Meridian isn't quite a typical sports bar.

First, a little bit of background info. Meridian, a five-year-old all-ages concert venue, is well known as one of Houston's premiere rock destinations. A month or two ago, it merged operations with North Houston's concert spot JavaJazz; the two are now working jointly on turning their two-story Meridian into a hodgepodge of rock and roll goodness. The sports bar-and-game-room section is one of its more recent expansions.

Because of Meridian's music-oriented history, as well as the fact that the sports bar is directly attached to a concert room that hosts all kinds of mayhem — industrial-goth rockers Psyclon Nine are who Powers and several other elaborately dressed fans came to see tonight — there is an interesting dynamic here.

Where most other sports bars bludgeon you over the head with frat-house machismo and Americanisms, The Sports Bar at Meridian avoids that feeling altogether. (We don't mean "machismo" in a negative way, either. On the contrary, it's one of any sports bar's main draws. That and watching Cowboys fans cry. Face.)

"We are primarily a rock and roll venue, and sort of a rock and roll sports bar," says Meridian's Michael Martin. "We want it to be a comfortable place for people to hang out before or after shows. Hopefully it will augment Meridian as a concert venue, and Meridian will augment the sports bar, too."

The area is essentially a big, open, empty space, but that's sorta what makes it unique. Inside you'll find six pool tables, some dartboards, a few rote beer-themed wall hangings, several video games, a couple of plasma TVs and two big projection screens.

That's about it. The general atmosphere is more of a bar that happens to show sports than of one based around them — you can't but feel like it's basically a sports bar for people who got picked on in high school by guys who call Buffalo Wild Wings "BW3s."

Because of this, there is little doubt that TSB@M will live a long, healthy life. And now that you know that the RCC is a sham, you're free to spend all of your Sundays there.

God will understand. Go, blasphemy!

LAST CALL

First of all, TSB@M has a free buffet on Mondays for Monday Night Football. Second, it's easy to crap all over the black-metal genre, what with all the guys with drawn-on eyebrows and pseudo-antiestablishment ideals and weird outfits. One guy was dressed like an extra from Mad Max, two others wore ornamental gasmasks and one girl had on some obscenely gigantic fuzzy boots. But the live shows are super-dope. We took in a couple of songs of Psyclon Nine's set and, man, it was nuts.

They didn't announce they were starting or anything. The DJ's music went quiet and then, like some war cry of electronic distortion, the band just exploded into their set. Because of the way the lights were shining from the back end of the stage, you couldn't make out faces, only shapes of what you assumed to be people — they were probably vampires — which only heightened the sense of surrealism. The only aurally comparable ­Houston-based band we know of is Opulent — check out those cats online at www.myspace.com/opulent.

 
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