I'm at something of a loss here, folks. To the best of my knowledge, no clubs closed down. As far as I know, no clubs opened. No bands moved to Austin, and nobody got arrested. The week was a huge spinning void of columnar nothing, punctuated by some of the absolute crappiest music IÕve ever had the misfortune to hear, or accidentally overhear. Starting with the Eagles. I live near the Rice campus, so I walked to the show, and when I passed the Wyndham on Montrose, which was disgorging a steady stream of out-of-town fans dudded up in their $35 T-shirts, I already had a pretty good idea of what I was in for. We're talking about a band that -- even in its heyday -- was accurately described by a Rolling Stone writer as "loitering" on stage. They're still doing it. And I was able to withstand precisely five songs of it, including an unmemorable new country tune that made a strong case for Glenn Frey's forced euthanasia, but no one was listening. I could tell, because they cheered.
As for the rest of the week's crappy music, part can be attributed to the pure accident of overhearing REO Speedwagon waft down the bayou pre-fireworks at the Freedom Fest, and the rest is the fault of this damned curfew thing. I arrived at the AstroArena at 9 p.m. to check out the Meat Puppets, who had already finished, and instead had to watch Stone Temple Pilots' vocalist Weiland vamping himself through a set of faux rock-star bullshit. His band's not as bad as you think -- though it's hard to tell with the AstroArena sound -- but Weiland's much worse.
Austin's got Austin City Limits, a fine little program showcasing musical talent in an intimate setting, aired to a national audience via PBS. Now Houston, in its own inimitably big way, makes its entry onto the airwaves with Live at the Woodlands, a new concert series produced by KUHT/Houston Public Television. The program, hosted by hometown hero Lyle Lovett, is being offered to PBS stations nationwide, and local broadcast schedules for Channel 8 are already locked in. "Festival New Orleans '93... Live at the Woodlands" aired Friday, July 8, and still upcoming are "B.B. King and Friends... Live at the Woodlands," scheduled to air at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 15, and "Eric Johnson, Buddy Guy and Friends... Live at the Woodlands," slated for 9 p.m., Friday, July 22.
Local Stuff: The week starts on Thursday with Jesse Dayton's Alamo Jets laying down a progressive (read: retro) country vibe at the Satellite Lounge. The Hadden Sayers Band continues its foray into Southern rock, guitar-hero style, at the Pig Live, and the world-beat-ish Swamis gig at Munchies.
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Friday night's got the ultra-classy blues stylings of Carol Fran and Clarence Hollimon at Billy Blues, Ethnic Rain continuing the world-beat vibe at Munchies and The Mike Gunn making an increasingly rare appearance with understudies Linus at Rudz for a night of riff-heavy guitar rock. And speaking of rare appearances, Elevator Up stops its smart-pop ascent at the Edge Bar for a performance that'll likely make you wonder why these guys aren't more of a presence on the scene. Over at Cezanne, which is not closed, the new management is offering a "Drum Summit" featuring skin whizzes Sebastian Whittaker and G.T. Hogan backing the able frontline of Ken Ward on piano and David Craig on bass. The folks at Cezanne are doing their damnedest to keep the place open as a subscription-based venue (though they'll be happy to take your money at the door), and since it's one of a very few strictly jazz joints here in town, I'm going to insist that you go.
Come Saturday, rocker Herschel Berry roosts at the Ale House, and the reformed Poor Dumb Bastards return from an extended vacation, two marriages and one baby to headline for openers Pillow at Rudyard's. Punkers I End Result open the show for Guttermouth and Offspring at Numbers. Zwee and the Graveberries are scheduled at the European Tavern, and stellar jazz vocalist Sandra Dudley rounds out the weekend at Cezanne (you can hear Dudley wrapping her pipes around local pianist Dave Catney's "Little Prayer" on Last Night When We Were Young: The Ballad Album, available through Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS, call Cezanne for ordering info). Any one of which local options, of course, would be infinitely more gratifying than traipsing out to the Woodlands to watch the Moody Blues slog through their pseudo-symphonic crap, but you people dug the Eagles, so I won't be held responsible.
Sunday night, honorary ex-Houstonian Sara Hickman sings songs from her recently released Necessary Angels CD at the Mucky Duck, and even if the album is a schlocky misstep in the blond one's oeuvre, it remains a fact that Hickman's stage presence would be worth the admission even if she were singing the Miss Classified jingle. The Sunday afternoon Funday in the Park program continues, this weekend at Linkwood Park, with performances by Pierre and the Zydeco Dots and some band called Easy Money. Also Sunday night, Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys cast off for their gig at New York's New Music Seminar and points beyond with a going-away blow-out at Dan Electro's Guitar Bar.
Tuesday, Zydeco Dots guitarist Tom Potter hosts his still-new Zydeco Jam out at Billy Blues, and the Swamis are booked for a return engagement at Munchies.