Appalled: I am only an occasional reader of the Houston Press, but every time I pick up a copy I rush to read the restaurant review first, usually written by Robb Walsh. Today I noticed the article "Mussel Mania" was written by Jason Kerr [November 28], a food writer I had not seen in this column before. While the review seemed to treat the subject well and even instilled a desire in me to go and take a closer look for myself, I was appalled at the language the writer chose to use in the piece. I somehow do not think the words "fuckin'" and "shit" are in any way necessary here. Nor do I think the term "bullshit drama" has a reason to appear in his article. And lastly, why in the world would a food writer talk about whale farts while describing an eating experience? I think Kerr was trying way too hard to be hip and just came off vulgar and inappropriate. How sad.
Online readers respond to "Announcing Our Musical Turkeys of the Year: You, The Concert-Going 'Fans' of Houston," Rocks Off blog, by Brittanie Shey, November 26:
Forget Facebook: The worst is almost any show at Walter's. At a Black Joe Lewis/Lucero show at Walter's this past summer, those of us in the front had to deal with a group of drunker-than-skunk kids who thought that swaying back and forth on top of everyone else in the crowd was the cool thing to do. Everyone was about to kill them — it was horrible.
I have yet to be at a show at any venue where people don't hold conversations. I hate to break it to my fellow Houstonians, but not all of us care about the latest goings-on of your life; some of us are there to listen to the music, not take pictures for our Facebook albums (happened with a group at Santigold; they had a full photo shoot, posing and all).
I saw bands like Midlake talk back to the crowd when they decided that their personal conversations were more interesting than the music. Houstonians just don't respect live music, and I am flat-out embarrassed to attend live shows in Houston. The combined talking is louder than the music sometimes.
Commercial tastes: I hate to be so negative, but this is really the era of the death of music. Music has officially become a product that is best enjoyed listened to in the background while you text with your friends and talk about shit you bought at the mall. Gone are the days of buying your favorite album on Tuesday, taking it home and listening to it from start to finish. Today people are more interested in songs that they hear on a Gap commercial. I can't blame them, because they are programmed by the corporations and genius ad execs who say that music is nothing more than background noise to aid you in your consumer experience.
The kids don't give a shit about the bands trying to express their deepest emotions. They're more interested in themselves. But can I blame them? Not really; I blame the people pulling the strings. Gone are the days of, "You hear the newest Beatles record?" Instead, it's all, "Hey bro, you hear that song on the Bud Light commercial?"
As long as this form of musical abuse is tolerated, you will have a nation of programmed zombies talking over the music until they hear the band play the song they heard on the Budweiser commercial. In that moment the audience will be quiet, entranced like flies are to light. And then, when the next song plays, they will continue talking and taking pictures of themselves while you, a genuine fan of the band for years, witness the end of an era.
Badly Drawn Boy at Meridian: The audience booed when there was an equipment malfunction and booed various things the rest of the night. Damon Gough looked furious and looked barely able to finish the show.
Many years back, Ben Folds Five came to Houston and someone threw a shoe at them. They swore off Texas for a while. Houston fans are just terrible.
Another turk: I was at the Jenny Lewis show. The crowd was noisy, but the guitarist struck me the wrong way. Lewis was right to address it, but Rice throwing out the "Austin is cooler than Houston" line was weak. We know Austin has a better scene; we don't need some Laurel Canyon hipster using that to run people down. Yeah, the crowds here are annoying. I also find condescending artists annoying. I'm just not sure which is the bigger turkey.
Poor Mitch: When Mitch Hedberg played Verizon a couple of months before he died, the audience was beyond unacceptable. People yelled out punch lines to jokes he wasn't telling in the hopes he would tell them, and Mitch had to stop the show a couple of times to remind them that if they already knew the punch line, then they didn't need to hear the joke again — or they could just listen to the album. I felt so bad for him. Plus there was a chick at the table next to ours who kept shouting, "I love you. I want to have your babies." Poor guy.
Personal low point: Billy Joe Shaver at the Armadillo Palace trying to sing an a cappella "Star in My Heart" to a yelling crowd that wouldn't shut up. Embarrassing...
Bob Dobbs Jr.
Know your audience: Music at Armadillo is primarily background noise to the foreground noise of the douchebaggy clientele. Shaver should know better than to sing a cappella at Armadillo. I'm probably going counter to the stream here, but if you want a cappella and quiet, go to Nia Moves or whatever it's called — no drinks, no talking. Just like church. I was at Jenny Lewis. Her stopping was bush-league supreme. And that guitar wank-off? Someone get a rope.
Take responsibility: You know this is getting pretty annoying. And I don't mean people at shows; I mean getting called a fricking turkey by the Houston Press. It's the same story every year: Houston fans suck. Get over it. I have had the best year in music that I have had in a while, and I never let inconsiderate fans hamper my time. If someone is being rude, tell them to shut up. I'm kind of a scary-looking bald guy, but on more than one occasion I have seen tiny women quiet a crowd of drunk morons who couldn't appreciate what was going on. At the risk of sounding like a Republican, take some responsibility. They aren't being rude to the musician, they are being rude to you and your cost of admission. Or just cry into your panties for the rest of the show.
The Venture Brother
A CHECKING EERROR
Last week's feature sidebar ["Connecting the Dots," by Craig Malisow, December 3] mistakenly referred to a lawsuit filed by Citibank in North Carolina. The lawsuit was filed by Capital One in South Carolina.
The Houston Press regrets the error.