Before even opening the door to the Hideaway at Dunvale (3122 Dunvale), you can hear him. And even if you're not a music fan, you immediately recognize this young man is doing something remarkable.
"The kid is bad," says longtime Hideaway regular and apparent pseudonym enthusiast Tom "Porn Star," before giving what he admits is another false last name. ("Campbell," in case you're curious.) "The last two times I saw him this place was packed — you couldn't even get in the door."
The kid in question is Sugar Land's own Dylan Tindel, a 19-year-old guitar prodigy with fingers of gold and a heart of one-quarter machinery.
That's not some kind of tawdry Terminator simile, either. Because of a congenital defect in his aorta valve, Lindel's heart is now literally mechanically enhanced, courtesy of a recent open-heart procedure that had him in a hospital bed for the better part of 90 days.
But after seeing him play, you'd certainly be forgiven for thinking Tindel is part machine. He's clearly possessed of a Stevie Ray Vaughan tilt, going so far as to replicate SRV's black Stetson /leather-vest look as he pumps through "Couldn't Stand the Weather."
Soon after, he informs us that we are sweet little lovemakers, ditches the Stetson to glide through Foo Fighters' "My Hero" — Dave Grohl didn't wear a hat, you know — then, just because he can, goes lick for lick through the opening solo of Van Halen's "Eruption."
The night before Tindel's Saturday show (a monthly gig), The Hideaway played host to local blues icon Texas Johnny Brown and, for the weekend, it appears that its "best live music in Houston" claim may be closer to the truth than the standard self-touting we anticipated.
It's easy to drive past the 13-year-old bar. It's tucked away just off the Richmond Strip on the southwest end of Dunvale, almost opposite the AMC 30 (2949 Dunvale). Save for a large wooden patio, it looks just like the doublewide trailer-ish church it used to be.
Inside, The Hideaway is what you'd expect. The floors, walls and ceilings are all dark and wooden. Countless pictures (both framed and free), various knick-knacks and dollar bills with gibberish written on them that once was funny to someone ornament the walls.
The seating and bar are straight-up stock tavern. And at one point during the night, the six big-body TVs are showing either Bloodsport, poker, Ultimate Fighting, the Heisman Trophy presentation or bull riding.
Not unexpectedly, it's a very easygoing establishment. There's no dress code, and the only cover is five bucks on Friday and Saturday evenings. (Tuesday's live blues jam is free.)
Naturally, the customers, who are local, white and over 30, describe The Hideout as a "neighborhood bar" and make the predictable tavern-as-TV-show comparisons.
"I come because it's close to my house," says Vance Black, a purchasing manager for an oil supply company and two-year Hideaway veteran. "It's like Cheers, a very friendly place. People know you. There's never been any trouble in here."
Charlie Thompson, another regular, concurs — he says even the obligatory older-gents-ogling-younger-girls is minimal: "When the young and attractive girls come in they'll get a lot of attention, but the men still act like gentlemen."
Considering the Hideaway bills itself as a restaurant and sports bar in addition to a live music venue, it's somewhat understandable that the sound system occasionally lacks crispness. That and a lack of diversity seem to be the only real knocks on the place.
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But all things being equal, if you're not part of its regular crowd, it doesn't feel like anything too special is going on at the Hideaway. Keep an eye on its events calendar for upcoming noteworthy acts — but in the meantime, hit up your own local for what will likely be a similar experience.
Check out Tindel (and his Stetson) doing what Tindel (and his Stetson) do atwww.hurricanedylanband.com. There are a bunch of videos to peruse — his solo "The Sky Is Crying" is dope — and, despite the rather stern picture that greets browsers, he's an affable kid and we'd like to see him do well.
And simply because we plan on attending, this holiday weekend you've got the opportunity to see two — or three, depending on your tastes — of the local underground hip-hop scene's more colorful acts. The ratchet-voiced Nosaprise, whose Grown Folks Music LP should be in at least moderate rotation on your iPod, is performing Christmas night at notsuoH (314 Main) — which is not being sold, at least not at the moment — with mercurial MC B L A C K I E. Easy top-three underground MC pick Fat Tony, meanwhile, is performing at Commerce Street Warehouse (2315 Commerce) Saturday. Check 'em out; you'll be glad you did.