Concerts

Does Washington Avenue Need Any More Live Music?

Last week, the Chronicle ran a story about the owners of Salt Bar, a newer drinking establishment on Washington Avenue, and their goal of building "a live music scene in Houston from the ground up." One of the partners behind Pearl Bar, Elecia Wheeler, wanted to open a new venue that focused on live music and, the story says, decided to start a weekly open-mike night for singer-songwriters on one of the bar's slowest nights - Tuesdays.

That got us at Rocks Off thinking -- wasn't Washington Avenue once one of the city's most concentrated areas of live music? And we weren't the only one with questions. Jeff Balke, a local music blogger who had written a series of vitriolic posts about the changing demographic of Washington Ave., had this to say:

First off, Ms. Wheeler, if you were SO concerned about having live music on Washington Avenue, why not keep Mary Jane's alive in the Pearl Bar? That venue had a long tradition of live music dating back to when it was called the Bon Ton Room and the Arc Angels were among the regulars.

Second, if you truly wanted to build a music scene from the ground up, why not encourage the same from your neighbors - Pandora (formerly Rhythm Room), Front Porch (formerly Cosmo's), Blu Salon (formerly Satellite Lounge) the small bar next to Walter's (formerly Silky's Blues Bar)? There are MANY former live music venues along the half mile stretch of road just waiting for revitalization.

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Shey is an experienced blogger, social media expert and traveler. She studied journalism at Oklahoma State University before working as a full-time reporter for Houston Community Newspapers in 2005. She lived in South Korea for three years, where she worked as a freelancer.
Contact: Brittanie Shey