Houston music lovers got a real scare last Tuesday night when news broke that Walter's on Washington — where indie heroes-in-the-making MGMT, The Hold Steady and Fleet Foxes, among many others, first played to Bayou City audiences — was shutting down. Since opening in 2000, Walter's has battled noise complaints from neighbors, leading to a lawsuit decided in the club's favor, and an increasingly impossible parking situation as nearby bars have sprouted up like mushrooms.
Almost all of these new venues prefer their music in DJ or canned form. Once Walter's is gone, the last link to Washington Avenue's rich concert past — stages such as Rockefeller's, the Fabulous Satellite Lounge, Bon Ton Room, Club Hey Hey, Rhythm Room, the Vatican and Fat Cat's/Mary Jane's — will be severed. Club owner Pam Robinson, though, has her mind on the new venue she's opening a few days after the final Walter's show Halloween night.
Chatter: So it's true?
Walter's on Washington
Pam Robinson: Walter's is moving, yes. It's moving, not closing. Walter's on Washington will have to be Walter's off Washington now (laughs).
C: Do you have any idea where you might move?
PR: If you called me earlier today, I was at my new property. We can't release it yet, but we will in the next two weeks.
C: What about the shows already booked for November?
PR: We're not losing any shows. All the shows [at] Walter's are through the end of October, and then there's a down time of I think five days, and then a show at the new place. We're doing the build-out now. I was meeting with a contractor today. The new place has never been a club. It has to be built out — the restrooms, the bar, the stage.
C: Once you guys shut down, it'll kind of be the end of Washington as a live-music area. How do you feel about that?
PR: I love Washington Avenue. I've always loved it, and I've always appreciated it. I see the direction it's going, and it was time for Walter's to get a bigger spot and get more parking. It really was. A place where there's no homes around [and] more parking.
C: Is the new location inside the Loop?
PR: Oh, definitely. I wouldn't go outside the Loop (laughs). We're actually pretty excited about the new place. It's a whole new chapter. This is going to be exciting. It's going to bring some attention to an area that's long overdue. Imagine — downtown with parking. Free parking!
We don't report much from the world of children's music, but this is definitely worth noting. Parents nationwide voted Houston's Leah White & the Magic Mirrors winners of this year's "Parents Pick Award" as Best Entertainers/Music on Nickelodeon's Parents Connect Web site. The Mirrors, whose first album, Cake for Dinner, features such songs as "Swing Set Takeover," "Car Seat Blues" and "Don't Trust Strangers," are singer-songwriter White and three members of popular local Fab Four tribute band Beetle. The quartet releases its latest CD, A White Christmas, 2 p.m. Sunday, September 13, at the Houston Children's Museum, 1500 Binz. Is it time to start holiday shopping already?
2110 Portsmouth, 713-526-9272
1. Hot Club of Cowtown, Wishful Thinking
2. Delbert McClinton, Acquired Taste
3. The Dead Weather, Horehound
4. Modest Mouse, No One's First and You're Next
5. Brendan Benson, My Old Familiar Friend
6. The Cult, Love (Deluxe Edition)
7. MuteMath, Armistice
8. Fruit Bats, Ruminant Band
9. Jay Reatard, Watch Me Fall
10. T-Bird & the Breaks, T-Bird & the Breaks
The Gulf Coast Rocker
KACC, 89.7 FM
Selections from the station's August 27 playlist, 9-10 p.m.
1. Fleetwood Mac, "Don't Stop"
2. Van Halen, "Finish What Ya Started"
3. The Standells, "Dirty Water"
4. Dire Straits, "Money for Nothing (Long Version)"
5. Fastball, "Little White Lies"
6. Banana Blender Surprise, "Slime in the Ice Machine"
7. Soul Asylum, "Promises Broken (Remix)"
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8. Atlanta Rhythm Section, "So Into You"
9. Hooters, "And We Danced"
10. Led Zeppelin, "Immigrant Song"
(lists compiled by Chris Gray)