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Chilling Spree

Richmond bar you've driven by 100 times is a hidden gem.

Here is the comprehensive list of things cooler than a xylophone: Um...everything.

Sunglasses, cheetahs, an old cell phone, vacuum cleaners, poetry, picture frames, poetry about picture frames, lightbulbs, A League of Their Own on DVD, whatever. They're all better. Nobody has ever said, "You know what would make this situation better? A mother-effin' xylophone, baby, that's what." It just doesn't happen.

Now, here is the list of things cooler than a xylophone when veteran xylophonist Cinco Calderon is behind them: Zilch.

Cinco Calderon demonstrates his xylophone mastery at Richmond Chill Bar.
Larami Culbertson
Cinco Calderon demonstrates his xylophone mastery at Richmond Chill Bar.

Nothing. At. All.

Charlie Sheen could be riding a white tiger with solid diamond testicles through The Men's Club (3303 Sage). Doesn't matter.

When Calderon has mallets in his hands, beating blood and glory out of the bars, it seems less like he's playing a xylophone and more like he's destroying God's piano with thundersticks. He is king.

And that's why at this very moment, everyone inside of the tiny Richmond Chill Bar (4704 Richmond) is enraptured, listening as Calderon tink-tink-tanks his way through a blues solo.

The xylophonist is flanked by the excessively talented bass player Spare Time Murray, who is every bit the sleepy blues dynamo his name implies, and Little Terry Rogers, a harmonica player/vocalist who sounds like he's been grown from the earth specifically to sing the blues; he even sings into one of those vintage steel microphones.

The triumvirate forms Little Terry and the Blues Birds, Chill's Monday-night house band for more than two years now. The fluctuating lineup occasionally includes a drummer and guitar player, and teenage prodigy Rebecca Laird sometimes sits in on guitar, but mostly it's just these three guys.

When you drive by it, which you've almost certainly done several times, Chill looks like little more than a decent restaurant. Food is available, but that's hardly all the bar is.

Tiled floors, low ceilings and a moderate amount of unassuming decor give the venue a living-room feel. A curious shelf situated along one wall holds a bunch of old board games and some trophy fish made from what appears to be parts of an old car.

"Sometimes I'm so tired from working — I work my ass off — that I come here to wind down," says Ross Paine, 24, employed in something he calls "orthopedic sales."

"We've been coming here for a few years," Paine adds. "I grew up around a lot of pretentious people, so I'd rather not hang around with them."

Amen.

At one point in the evening, a woman and her large golden Labrador retriever walk in and sit down. She chooses a seat; he opts for the floor.

The dog — Slugger, as it were — finds a few empty hands willing to scratch and pat him. When the hands' owners grow tired of that, they simply say, "Go lay down," and that's exactly what he does. No one blinks.

"He's a regular," says his owner with a smile, before starting a conversation with two strangers.

So goes the night, with people vacillating between listening to Little Terry, Spare Time and Cinco and relaxing on the front-side patio. A dog waits for people to pet him, and some guys at the back of the room shout out song titles for the band to play.

Just chilling. In a bar. On Richmond.
_____________________

LAST CALL

Little Terry and the Blues Birds; Snoop Dogg

Three things: First, you can e-mail Little Terry and the Blues Birds at little.terryrogers@gmail.com. Second, bartender Jaime Cobden tells us Wednesdays are Chill's busiest nights. That's the bar's open-mike night, which is really more of an acoustic-music showcase. Third, Snoop Dogg is at House of Blues Friday. Somehow, some way, he's been coming up with funky-ass shit, like, every single day for almost two decades. Respect.

 
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7 comments
Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks

Shea, I just want to point out that Cinco is a Vibe player as in Vibrophone. It only looks like a Zyle from abouve. The two instruments however are like a moonless midnite in the middle of no where and sunrise in Key west when you know you can stand in the same spot for sunset! http://www.jazzhouston.com/mem...

Cholo13
Cholo13

steven and larami serrano 1615 Branard St, Houston, TX 77006

John Ryan
John Ryan

I've seen this guy pack the house before at other places, master of a Piano as well too for those that don't already know. Catch him now while he is still local and available.

Hint........ The ''Talent" is inherited and God Given and once you know more about him that statement will make more sense to anybody reading it...

Go ''Cinco'' and do what you were born to do, take over and carry on for ''Blondie''.. Your family is full of talent and ''Class'' and he would love to have them together again someday too, you can make that happen and hopefully perform another concert at ''Paul Poag Theater'' in his memory and in his HONOR...

Cholotrece
Cholotrece

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

i see you be posting all over youtube about how you gonna see us. imma see you shea serrano....aka steven serrano...we know where you live and we comin.

southwest por vida!

MASSMURDERMEDIA
MASSMURDERMEDIA

"You know what would make this situation better? A mother-effin' xylophone, baby, that's what."

Frank Zappa may never have said that, but he sure as hell deployed them and vibes on many of his records. And under his direction they were without question way cooler than anything from your list above.

 
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