The urge to list “All of Them” as title earner in this category was hard to resist. Each concert venue which has survived the extreme business downturn associated with the pandemic is worthy of recognition. Cherished as they are, they’re not yet out of the woods, though hopefully we'll continue to safely follow the trails of good music and good times back to these important spaces.
Having to choose just one, we selected The Continental Club. The venue bravely opened back in the tenuous times of Y2K and revitalized its Midtown area in the process. It must have felt like déjà vu when it scheduled its first post-lockdown shows this year, a sense of starting over every small club owner could understand. Because it has endured the ups and downs of 20-plus years in a remarkably fickle industry, it felt like a safe place to take in some of the first live shows we saw in 2021. The Continental Club has got survivor skills built into its music-lovin’ DNA.
It’s that love of music which makes the venue a regular consideration in these proceedings. It's the kind of place music fans recommend to friends and one where music writers convene to talk shop, mostly because it's often overrun with musicians. Legends like Ron Wood and U2 have stepped through its doors, but it’s the locals who’ve cast its lasting footprint. Acts like Beetle, The Allen Oldies Band, XanaDudes and Luba Dvorak are just part of what’s been dubbed the “Mid-Main Mafia,” a syndicate of accomplished Houston musicians who hold court at the club and its kin venues, Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge and Pachinko Hut. They’re dedicated to bringing music of all different eras and styles to music fans in the best and toughest of times.