RocBar: Too Pretty To Rock?
Bayou Place's in-house rock club, RocBar (520 Texas; it shares an address with techno lounge Mosaic), sees its share of slicksters, but on a recent Saturday night Brendan Jones and Lute Fox took the cake. Cakes aren't nearly awesome enough to encompass how badass these two were, though — it's more like they took the flaming chainsaw.
Jones, a six-foot-one, dark-eyed vacationing Aussie, was in the middle of a cross-country trip with his equally easy-on-the-eyes mate Lute Fox. Asked why he's in town, Jones, surrounded by a knot of curious women, offered, "Oi'm a professional foot-bahller with Collingwood. It's the oif-season."
Without missing a beat, Jones then pointed to Fox, who had just given the I'm-ready-for-my-introduction wingman head-nod, and said, "'E's an actor on Home and Away, an Aussie soap."
Turns out, though, Brendan and Lute were the sort of less-than-truthful Australians the Department of Homeland Security has warned us about. Sure, Collingwood is a football team and part of the Australian Football League, but its current roster lists no player by the name of Brendan Jones.
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Ditto Home and Away — the show exists; Lute Fox's acting career does not. But if these two were guilty of misrepresentation, RocBar was their accomplice.
From the street, looking at RocBar's somewhat innocuous sign, it seems about as big as any typical midsize club. But upon entering the venue, it's immediately impressive in both size and stature.
It's not terribly difficult to get in — the doormen are surprisingly chill, and RocBar/Mosaic's combined occupancy is more than 700. But first, you have to deal with the $8 valet (parking your own car is so uncool), the 20-deep line (getting there before 11:30 p.m. is worse than parking your own car) and the two flights of stairs at the entrance (wheelchair rockers be damned).
RocBar is equipped with all the toys you'd expect given its $2.6 million price tag. Of course there's the strobe and laser light show, plus girls swinging back and forth above the end of the 60-foot bar while one of the five bartenders intermittently spits fire towards them (which is probably not as cool as it looks if you're the one on said swing). The DJs, meanwhile, pound through everything from Metallica's "Enter Sandman" to Fall Out Boy's "Sugar, We're Going Down" to Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher."
As a club, RocBar is unquestionably fun, with all the necessary essentials for a stellar bachelorette party. But its rocker billing, like our Aussies' stories, is a little deceptive. Despite its Misfits and Sex Pistols posters, RocBar is keeled to please avid clubgoers more than avid rock and rollers. At present, RocBar gives off more of a corporate vibe than anything else, but management swears they're working on it.
"It's funny you say that," says GM Stephanie Applewhite, "[That's] one of the reasons we're going to different nights." (Starting next month, RocBar will be open six nights a week.)
"Sure, on Saturdays we have to be more open with our music selection than we would prefer," Applewhite admits. "But, for example, in a couple of weeks we're starting a Wednesday where it's more of a deeper, more underground type of thing. We're definitely trying to tap into different scenes."
It remains to be seen whether Rocbar will be able to pull it off. Our honest assessment: Probably not. Rock is ugly and gritty and heartfelt, and doesn't give a shit where you bought your shirt. RocBar is too pretty, handicapped by its own extravagance.
Of course, we hope we're wrong. In the meantime, though, coming here to party makes sense. Coming here because you really want to hear rock music, well, that's like going to Applebee's because you really want a steak.
So your totally original indie-rock band is ready for the big time? Well, let us help you avoid the greatest indie sacrilege of all: selling out once your band has become famous. One of the Nightfly's new favorite indie bands, the Literary Greats, helped provide this week's tips.
1. Don't let others shape your music; indie music fans are the best at identifying when your music isn't inspired. (They're also the best at driving Volkswagens.)
2. Surround yourself with people who really care about you. Like hookers.
3. Remember your roots. Don't become a jerk just because you've become famous. Give to the poor. And make sure you tell them they're poor when you do it; poor people love that.
Build your indie buzz at these live-music spots: Bar Boheme (307 Fairview) — It's in Montrose, so bring your bug spray and your smug spray; McGonigel's Mucky Duck (2425 Norfolk) — It's really easy to find, as long as you know exactly where you're going; Continental Club (3700 Main) — If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere... in Houston.
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