Obviously in light of the catastrophic scale of this weekend’s Harvey-related flooding, the fate of Houston’s music venues is at the forefront of nobody’s mind, nor should it be. But this network of mostly small businesses is vital to the Bayou City’s cultural life, and the amount of spiritual relief and tension-easing that music can provide — especially in trying times — should be never be understated or ignored. Also, it should go without saying, these places are all owned by people, who in most cases have homes and families that have been under the same duress these past few days as the rest of us.
Fortunately, as far as we could tell, nothing truly dire has happened to any local venues — again, that we’ve seen or heard of, or has been reported to us. But given that it could still be days before the floodwaters fully recede and even the earliest damage estimates begin to be calculated, we’ve all still got a long way to go. What we do know from checking up on about 50 venues' social media Sunday afternoon, and reaching out to them the same way, is that these folks are going through a lot. (Many of them have been understandably dark since before the storm, but not all.)
The Satellite Bar in Houston’s East End reported, “barely hanging on.” Galveston’s Old Quarter Acoustic Cafe, thankfully, said, “we are all safe.” "All good here," Scout Bar added. Last Concert Cafe said it would be closed for a few days after ten inches of water, a familiar situation from Allison in 2001. Luckily, they added, "it's tile and concrete floors."
On Facebook, Andrew Youngblood of The Secret Group said of his neighbor White Oak Music Hall, “the venue seems fine but North Main is super flooded”; in the same conversation, a security-cam screenshot of Warehouse Live’s patio facing St. Emanuel Street showed minimal street flooding. "Hanging in there. Just a little water through one door, nothing major," White Oak confirmed later.
About 12:30 p.m. Monday, Heights Theater owner Edwin Cabaniss sent over this message:
Most importantly, our entire crew is safe. The Heights Theater, by it's namesake is on higher ground, so that has helped. Even so, the water has been up to the brink twice but the sandbags held and miraculously the rain slowed and allowed for drainage, so we did not flood. We are not out of this yet, but are feeling very lucky and blessed.
As of 2 p.m. Monday, Rudyard's was open and expecting to stay that way until about 10 p.m. Also this afternoon, a post in the "Friends and loyal patrons of Numbers Nightclub" Facebook group showed a picture of the venerable Montrose alternative club; manager Rudi Bunch commented, "...the club is fine. I feel very grateful." Walter's Downtown owner Zack Palmer posted Tuesday that the venue was intact.
As for any possible benefit shows in the offing, promoter Mark C. Austin of The Convoy Group says “something big is gonna go down” once the waters have. For now, “closed until further notice” is the order of the day, and of course the Houston Press will update this story as more information becomes available.
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