Friday Night: Lee-Lonn At Reserve Lounge
Photos by Larami Serrano
Lee-Lonn Reserve Lounge April 22, 2011
9:08 p.m. Lee-Lonn, in case you've yet to hear his name, is one of Houston's marquee R&B talents. He's so good, in fact, that we're heading out to see him perform live right now, despite the fact that a) far as we can tell, he only has two songs; and b) he's performing at Reserve Lounge, a downtown venue that's about as enjoyable as getting glass flicked into your eyeballs.
9:25: Here. Along with eight others. Awesome.
9:28: When a smoke machine kicks on in a packed club, it's kind of cool thing. When it kicks on in an empty club, though, it looks like some pipes just broke or something.
Btw, we took our sons to see Toy Story on Ice recently. Did you know they use the same smoke machine there that they do at cheesy nightclubs? Because they do. They have the same smell. It's weird. We couldn't stop picturing Buzz and Woody trying to hit on girls at The Roxy. Could you imagine Woody walking up to women at the bar like, "There's a snake in my boot... and my pants"? That slickster Woody.
9:33: So, we were told to get to Reserve at 9 p.m. (no chance), which really meant to get here at 9:30 p.m. (that's what we did), which really meant to get here at 10 p.m. (we should have done this), which really, really meant to get here at 10:45 (we really should've done this).
9:51: Oh, hey, some religious zealots are standing at the corner of an intersection handing out fliers and trying to talk to people about secularity. Cool, cool. Let's see if we can walk by them without getting notic - aw crap, here comes one of them.
9:54: Turns out, an eternity of hellfire is likely in our future. Bummer. On the plus side, we did get to hear the word "heretical" tonight, which we absolutely weren't expecting.
10:03: Back at Reserve. So here's what's what: Lee-Lonn was supposed to have performed last week, but says his show was axed because "I wasn't here on time, even though they didn't tell me what time to get here." He gets here this week at 9 p.m. because they tell him he's performing at 9:30. It's a couple of minutes after 10 now, and the band isn't even here. Reserve Lounge, ladies and gentlemen.
10:05: They're charging $3 for a cup of water? Nah. Guess it's Bathroom Sink Drink time. Ballin' outta control, as they say.
10:07: Ludacris's "My Chick Bad" is being played over the house speakers right now. He might have the most commercially successful yet entirely disposable rap music of all time. Once it runs through its shelf life, it simply becomes culturally unnecessary.
What a weird thing. He's good, and his music is almost always at least fun, but it just doesn't stay inflated for very long. Balloons! (That's a "My Chick Bad" joke within a My Chick Bad timestamp, suckas. Respect.)
10:23: People are getting restless. The injustice of the situation is unsettling. This is evolving into a Lee-Lonn's Fans vs. Reserve Lounge thing. Time to organize a protest. About to start a "LEE-LONN!" chant like a motherfucker.
10:39: Oh, look, the band decided to show up. That's nice of them. It's cool how they're walking in, setting up their equipment all slow and shit.
10:57: ...And we're finally rolling. The band is working its way through the beatbox part of Lee-Lonn's "Maybe." He grabs the microphone and starts freestyle singing, giving shout-outs to people in the crowd, most notably fellow talented R&Ber Jack Freeman and Free from The Niceguys.
Incidentally, we heard about Lee-Lonn from The Niceguys, the same group that introduced us to Jack Freeman and indie super-rockers Mantis. Point being: If you get asked to be on some Niceguys music, you're doing something right.
10:58: "I want to say real quick before I get started that I appreciate everyone that waited. I told you all to get here at nine and you were before the band." That's as close to an insult as you're going to hear from the uber polite Lee-Lonn.
10:59: Lee-Lonn is officially flowing through "Maybe." One guy has situated himself at the very front of the stage. He's super-enthusiastic, dancing and clapping and whatnot. The best part of this situation: The guy looks like Bone Crusher. The second-best part: The stage is just high enough so that Lee-Lonn's crotch is right at eye level with Bone Crusher. Awesome.
11:01: Lee-Lonn will apparently solve the I Only Have Two Songs To Perform At This Concert conundrum by covering some other R&B tracks. Right now he's going in on Chris Brown's "No Bullshit," a song that's way more sexual than the title would imply.
11:03: Man, this kid can sing. He's best in the higher octaves, but always enjoyable regardless of where he settles in. His voice sounds like what Scarlett Johansson's skin looks like. Book that.
11:04: Ha. He's calling for the women in the room to come closer to the stage, but they stay near the back. Why won't they come? Maybe - maybe - it has something to do with the large, large scary man that's set up camp exactly where Lee-Lonn is asking the women to come?
11:04:30: If you can sing, that has to make life - or at least the part of life where you try to get women to sleep with you - easier. You know what Lee-Lonn is doing right now? He's singing, "Black is my favorite color." No shit. And it sounds exceptionally interesting.
He's singing that because there's a woman in the crowd wearing a black dress. That innocuous, mundane statement is sublimely sexual when it slithers out from his lips. You can't walk up to a woman wearing a black dress in Target like, "Yo, my favorite color is black." That shit'll sound ridiculous.
11:08: He's doing D'Angelo's "Untitled." Can a man get another man pregnant just by singing? Because that might've just happened.
11:10: There's a lady here trying to capture pictures of the show with one of those point-and-shoot cameras. Only problem is, there's about a one and a half second delay between the time she pushes the button and the time the picture is snapped.
What's the sales pitch for that thing? "Yeah, this is a really great camera. Super high-quality pixilation. Records video. Can hold 700 pictures. Waterproof. It's really almost perfect. Only thing is - you can see into the future, right? Because if the thing that you want to take a picture of is moving, you kind of have to be able to to get the pictures you want."
11:12: Lee-Lonn is carrying this show right now. Aces for that. He's getting no help from the backing band. They're all pretty lifeless. One of the keyboard players might be an actual zombie.
11:13: Lee-Lonn talking about his recent mini-tour: "I went to three different cities: PV, Austin and then flew out to California." Cities, Lee-Lonn?
11:14: He's doing his other single, "Feeling Good," a sing-song radio-ready track he crafted together nearly perfectly. Even the awfulness of Reserve Lounge can not dampen his spirits.
11:16: Zombie Keyboardist appears to be texting with his left hand while playing with his right hand. That's impressive and insulting at the same time. Cool, cool.
11:17: "ENCORE! ENCORE!" - the crowd
11:18: Looks like he's going to finish up with Musiq Soulchild's "Just Friends." Neat. He walks the band through the intro and then takes off.
11:20: Oh snap. He enlists Jack Freeman to help out. Neat moment. Bone Crusher Fan does not look pleased with this. He is literally standing right next to Freeman's ear staring at him. It's all Lee-Lonn all the time or fuck off, bitches, he appears to be thinking.
11:21: Hand-claps, hand-claps, hugs, hand-claps. Lee-Lonn, folks. Someone please book him in a proper venue.
Personal Bias: Were we allowed to pick our dream job, R&B Singer would be the second choice. First Place: Shooting guard for the San Antonio Spurs, opposite Manu Ginobili. They'd give us a cool duo nickname. We might even star in a buddy cop movie when we retired after winning seven championships in a row. Then we'd open a Bed and Breakfast near San Marcos. Ah, to win.
The Crowd: Was patient.
Overheard In The Crowd: Words.
Random Notebook Dump:: At the 11:03 timestamp, we mentioned that Lee-Lonn's voice sounded like Scarlett Johansson's skin looked. FYI, it took, like, 15 minutes of looking at pictures of Hollywood starlets on the Internet before we found one that would make that analogy work. Other people considered: Anne Hathaway, Halle Berry and pre-baby Jessica Alba. Never considered: Donatella Versace.
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