Fitz Tales: Great Moments From Club's "Grand Re-Opening"

All this week and into next, Fitzgerald's is celebrating its "Grand Re-Opening," marking the third anniversary of the venerable Heights venue's much-discussed acquisition by the powers behind Free Press Summer Fest. We asked a few Fitz staff members to share a few of their favorite stories from these past thousand days or so.

Omar Afra, partner The Foreign Exchange was maybe one of the best performance I have seen at Fitz. Squeezed into the downstairs room, the show was packed full people who came to not passively watch this band but to get Mega-Crunk with them.

Every last member of the band is a bonafide monster. Even their intros and segues are ridiculous awesome. Objectively speaking, they are the best band to ever enter the building since we took over. That is just a fact.

Jason Petzold, Bookings Associate/Operations Manager, Some cool Fitz moments for me:

  • Hearing The Raveonettes play around with "Purple Rain" during soundcheck.
  • Taking a few members of Stars to pick up some groceries, and hearing Amy Millan sing along to Patsy Cline on the radio.
  • Booking more shows than the previous year each year we've been open.
  • Booking more comedy shows in 2013 than in years past. Whitest Kids U Know, Pete Holmes, Neal Brennan and some really awesome stuff.
  • Weird moment: Mastodon being really quiet when they played. They still sounded heavy, but they were one of the quietest bands we've had.

Johnny So, partner From a technical standpoint, the show that stands out most in my mind is St. Vincent (10/25/2011) -- the technical precision of their lighting rig and effects made that an amazing show, even if you didn't know much about her music (I didn't at the time).

The most memorable experience for me was the Boots Electric show (10.30.11). I'm a huge Eagles of Death Metal fan, and I basically got to see Jesse Hughes perform a private show in front of 40 people (plus he threw in several EODM songs). I talked to him after the show and commented that it must be weird playing front of thousands of people as part of EODM and then 40 people at Fitz, but he was still so complimentary and appreciative of the venue and the people who came out - very cool of him.

Then came the weird part when he asked if we'd mind if he pulled out his roller skates (old-school quads) and skate around the downstairs room -- he's a rock star, so why not? As proof, I snapped this photo of him still in his skates talking to Johnette Napolitano (lead singer of Concrete Blonde, who performed upstairs that night) on the front porch.

More Fitz tales on the next page.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray