A capacity crowd jammed into Blanco's Friday night for the return of 90s local favorites, the Hollisters. The dance floor was thronged, the beer line was long, strings were bent and twanged, and there was plenty of big hair.
Fronted by Mike Barfield, currently of the Austin roots outfit Stone River Boys, the band skated easily through essentially every song they know. And it was a typical mix of what made them so popular back in the day: Some up-tempo East Texas rockabilly-ish two-steppers, some mournful honky-tonky balladry, and short bursts of rock and roll with a touch of soul. All of this was punctuated by Barfield's occasionally hilarious asides and his "Texas Tyrant of Funk" dance moves.
With Denny "Cletus" Dale on bass and Kevin Fitzpatrick on drums locking in the grooves, Eric Danheim (Mitch Jacobs Band) was given plenty of room to lay down those classic East Texas twang licks that have made him a go-to guitarist in this town for going on three decades (and believe us, most of the people nominated for Best Guitarist in the recent HPMAs would not want to attend a head-hunting contest with Mr. Danheim). When he's not twanging, Danheim is in his shop modifying Telecasters and giving them that little bit of extra Texas nasty. Drop by Rockin' Robin if you want to check one out.
It was good to see Blanco's packed to the walls. We remember going to see the Hollisters there in 1996 -- the same night Jason and the Scorchers played their infamous "lost our liquor license" gig at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge -- and it was almost an identical scene. We wish Blanco's was booking at this level all the time. It would be wonderful to see the old Inner Loop tonk filled on Wednesdays and Thursdays the way it was fifteen years ago when it was truly one of the hubs of Houston roots music. Who knows, maybe the audience isn't there anymore. But upping the booking quality is the only way we're ever going to find out.
Still, it did our soul good to be part of this very feel-good evening with one of Houston's favorite and finest roots bands.
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Personal Bias: The Hollisters get what club manager Karin Barnes once told me: It's about dancing, it's not a concert.
Notebook Dump: One of the latest starts we've ever been part of at Blanco's.
The Crowd: Well-heeled, well-behaved mix of Houston honkies.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Where's Herschel Berry these days?"