Houston audiences who grow weary of their concert neighbors' incessant chatter and smartphone camerawork should absolutely check out this week's Houston Press cover story that takes a look inside the cozy world of living-room concerts.
Inspired by a favorite musician who would be passing through the area but had not booked a date at an area club, Rick Wood, a board member of popular St. Louis Americana station KDHX, offered his own home as a venue for the evening. It went off without a hitch: the musician (former Whiskeytown violinist Caitlin Cary, now a respected solo artist) made more than she would have at a club.
Wood, meanwhile, found a door open to a tidy sideline as a living-room concert promoter. Now his monthly shows even draw the respect of top St. Louis venue owners, one of whom says, "It's always a sellout. "[He does] what, in a perfect world, we'd all do."
Today living-room concerts are happening coast-to-coast, endorsed by well-known indie musicians such as Pedro the Lion front man David Bazan. These musicians see living-room concerts as a more feasible and financially sound option for independent like themselves, who have to scrimp and save every last dollar. But they're not for everyone -- like Texas singer-songwriter James McMurtry.
"I don't like private shows," the cantankerous Austin bard tells author Mike Seely. "You're a kept man; they own you for the night. A club show, it's a joint venture. I sell seats, the club sells liquor. It's much more comfortable. You might get screwed on the deal, but it's an honest fucking."
Either way, living-room shows are emerging a compelling new environment for live music, for both artists and fans. The flipside of the studious living-room atmosphere, though, can be found in abundance right here in Houston. At places like the Doctor's Office, Houston House of Creeps, and DownTogether House, which, writes our own Jesse Sendejas Jr., "Whether electric or acoustic, many of those shows exhibit the curled-lip, fuck-it-all sneer of punk rock."
Read both stories below.
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