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Best of Houston
5. The Big Easy Social & Pleasure Club: Big it ain't. Easy and relaxed it is. But The Big Easy can also be one hell of a party. The James Reese Band, Luther and the Healers and The Mighty Orq are just a few of the local heavy hitters who regularly perform at this venue. The Houston Blues Society hosts monthly parties on site, and you may even spot a few roller-skaters cutting it up on the dance floor.
4. The Continental Club/Big Top: Local acts including Beatles cover band Beetle, Nick Gaitan & the Umbrella Man, Paul Ramirez Band, Glover Gill and Little Joe Washington make recurring appearances, keeping the Continental Club and its little brother two doors down, the Big Top, rockin' most every night. Both offer affordable drinks, a relaxed atmosphere and plenty of local charm, turned up a notch on themed-party nights such as the '80s Prom and "Discoween."
3. Cactus Music: Not only is Cactus Music one of the last true record stores left in our city, it's also home to plenty of live music. Local acts perform regularly, and touring bands often stop in for a brief performance before their headlining shows around town. Members of local acts like Buxton and Wild Moccasins even work there. While you're there, sift through the records and CDs – not only does Cactus showcase live acts, it gladly sells local music as well. Lots of it.
2. Fitzgerald's: This historic site has become Houston's premier venue for smaller artists, both local and otherwise. From hard-hitting rap acts such as B L A C K I E, Fat Tony and Bun B to indie and folk-rock artists like the Second Lovers, Wheel Workers, A Sea Es, the Tontons and Young Mammals, Fitz's upgraded sound system blares some of the best local music our city has to offer. Even newcomers get their chance at the spotlight at open-mike night every Wednesday.
1. Mango's (Best of Houston® Winner, 2012): Head down to the little house at Westheimer and Taft any night of the week and you'll likely hear live music by a local band, ranging from a new ensemble playing for the first time to an established outfit honing its set. The venue never discriminates against genres, meaning that in a span of a few days (and sometimes even a few hours), you'll be exposed to anarchist punk, sludge metal, fragmentary singer-songwriters and high-decibel bizarro.
Classic Rock Corner
Jimi Hendrix would have been 70 years old last month. Mind you, 70 isn't what 70 was just a few years ago. Now you can be 70 and be Paul McCartney. Ann-Margret and Raquel Welch are both over 70 and still smoke hotter than ladies younger than Raquel's first facelift.
Born November 27, 1942, Hendrix died September 18, 1970, of asphyxia related to a drug overdose. At his age, he was obviously just warming up. We hope.
His influence is massive, lighting sparks in Prince, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lenny Kravitz, Eddie Van Halen, John Frusciante and P-Funk's Eddie Hazel, who some would say should rank next to Hendrix himself in terms of artistry.
When we asked Rocks Off's Facebook fans what they thought, some said Hendrix would have probably done jail time, recorded with Nickelback or Santana, or been a commercial sellout. Not necessarily in that order, presumably.
Another commenter made the point that had Hendrix lived, Eric Clapton's station as a guitar god would have been diminished. I honestly don't put them in the same master class, but to each his or her own. I think Hendrix was a lot weirder, or at least had a more esoteric future ahead of him than Clapton.
But then again...
What would his relationship have been with Prince, who more or less fused Hendrix's shit-hot licks with a 25-cent peepshow and a gang of synths? Motörhead's Lemmy Kilmister once said that he had no use for Prince, since he had experienced Hendrix firsthand himself.
A tandem Hendrix and Prince concert, with Prince opening for Buster in arenas across the land? Sounds decent. A cameo in Purple Rain? Sure. Marauding America in the early '80s on twin purple motorcycles? Fuck yes.
That could have been Hendrix soloing on Michael Jackson's "Beat It," for Jesus' sake, instead of Eddie Van Halen. Coming out of a subway car in a long black duster, shades and spangly earrings, wrenching out a flawless solo that would have brought Nina Blackwood and Mark Goodman to tears on MTV.
We could have ended the Cold War, dammit.
Thanksgiving weekend, the State Department shocked uptight old white people across the U.S. by announcing that Andrew WK, the partying expert behind such songs as "Party Hard" and "Party Til You Puke," would be bringing the party to Bahrain as a cultural ambassador. In the world we live in, this shouldn't be all that shocking. President Obama is practically a regular on The Daily Show, and the guy who played Kumar works for the White House Office of Public Engagement to this day.
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