Any one of Houston's major music venues has a million-dollar lighting array to beat the band. That's why we chose Meridian, because for the sprawling Chartres Street club, less is more. At June's Peter Murphy show, for instance, the most striking moments — like his a cappella cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" — came when the former Bauhaus frontman was illuminated with a single spot. For Ace Frehley, one or two colors were all that was necessary to accentuate those Detroit-rock-city riffs. (Although sometimes it was hard to see the lighting at all, what with the smoke machines working overtime.) And most of all, Meridian deserves this award for its aptly named Red Room, where the wall-to-wall scarlet hue — even more than the generally macabre or metal musical fare — never fails to remind us of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death."