Best Live Venue (Small): White Oak Music Hall
The subtle irony to the tiff between White Oak Music Hall and its residential neighbors is that the concert venue actually feels a little like a residence. It recalls youthful visits to the homes of especially cool relatives, houses filled with artsy rooms worthy of childlike exploration. At White Oak, the attic is an upstairs room where adventurers can find up-and-coming or local treasures. The main room downstairs is like a den, the place where music families gather for big name touring acts. Case in point: When White Oak recently hosted The Distillers, a band which hadn’t played Houston in 20 years, the big room was like a local punk family reunion.
The versatility of the space means local acts get booked there, too, and it’s the kind of gig that comes with lots of social media boasting, whether bands are celebrating a record release or supporting out-of-town acts. Weirdly, the one area which does not fall into this house motif is White Oak’s spacious lawn, reserved for its biggest shows. That’s because that space and its events give Houston music fans a sorely needed outdoor music festival vibe. Fans literally lined down the block to see Tame Impala there last year and the welcome home for locals-gone-big Khruangbin was one of the best Houston concert experiences of 2019.
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