Houston Music

Houston Music Fight Club: Michael Berry vs. Outlaw Dave, Don Walsh vs. Dirty Jeff Smith, Notsuoh vs. Mango's

Another week and yet another clash of the sorta-titans, wherein we pit some of Houston's best and brightest music luminaries against each other in brutal mortal combat. This week we will briefly take a step away from the burgeoning Bayou City indie scene to spotlight two of the town's radio personalities who dabble in the musical milieu.

Believe it or not there are folks who don't sit outside behind Poison Girl chain-smoking cigarettes or pass out at the bar at Boondocks. [Ed. note: Shut up.] We were just as amazed as you are that there are people in Houston who don't drink $2 beers like they have a federal mandate to do so. Who are you people, going to sleep in bed after Conan's monologue and eating edible food from your own refrigerator? So sorry to offend you, sir.

Michael Berry vs. Outlaw Dave

OK, for those who don't listen to 740 KTRH religiously like we do, constantly waiting for new hurricanes or some other insane political disaster, Michael Berry is their afternoon drive time talk show host. He swings pretty solidly to the right, but he's not a total butt-horn like Mark "Groucho Marx" Levine or pseudo-sacred cow Rush Limbaugh.

Sunday evenings on the station, Berry hosts a Texas Country-geared show spotlighting dudes that can mostly be found playing Armadillo Palace or the Firehouse Saloon each week. We signed up for the Berry newsletter and somehow ended up getting messages about the country show. We have only listened to it once, on accident, while we were eating hot dogs in our car waiting to go into a concert.

On the other hand, no one has done more to progress the power of Titty than Outlaw Dave. We grew up hearing his friendly gravelly voice, not unlike our uncles, going on about titties and broads when he was on Rock 101 KLOL back in the day. When the station sadly melded into some sort of reggaeton nightmare in November 2004, we lost one of Houston's best bastions of male depravity. It was a heartbreaking loss. Even our own father was rocked to his very core by the change. Until then he hadn't known what a Daddy Yankee was and he liked it that way.

Now Dave hosts a show Radio Mojo 950 AM midday and seems to be kicking ass once again. His Web site naturally abounds with plenty of half-naked local tail. We got to hang out with him a few months back while we were both judging a "Battle of the Bands" competition and he remembered how to pronounce our last name, even after we both polished off a cooler of Budweiser. Consummate professional through and through.

Winner: Both men stand about the same height and build, so at this point cunning wits and blood thirst would come into play. Berry seems on the outset to be a mellow dude who wouldn't throw down, but Dave seems like carries a knife or something cool. But it's always the mild-mannered ones who surprise us, so we give this one to Berry who would no doubt turn feral and start ripping at Dave's hair, felling the shock-jock.

Don Walsh (Rusted Shut) vs. Dirty Jeff Smith (Muhammidali)

Oh shit, apparently this actually happened a few weeks back, so Rocks Off thought we would throw it for good muckraking measure. We won't say who we exactly heard it from, but this weirdness went down one weekend after both guys had been drinking beer and listening to classic rock, which is strange in itself for the Rusted Shut noise legend and Muhammadali bassist to be rocking out to some Foreigner.

Winner: Sources say that Smith head-butted Walsh not once, but twice over the musical selections of the evening, and that after the last blast Walsh sort of just slumped over. He's still alive, by the way, so it's cool - we guess.

Notsuoh vs. Mango's

Both of these uber-dives have a smell and feel all their own, more smell than feel actually, but that's necessarily a bad thing at all. Notsuoh was the city's first modern (well, in the past decade) hipster hovel, located just off Main in the midst of Houston's ghetto-fabulous clubs and faux-douche bars. Mango's just came on the scene after this past spring's Westheimer Block Party, and was rightfully christened with the blood, sweat, and homoerotic machinations of the Homopolice.

Notsuoh is owned and ran by Jim Pirtle, who has long been a fixture in the Houston art and music scenes, and he writes blogs on the venue's MySpace profile that boggle and humor everyone. He and the venue have seen plenty in their time, from monumental bum fights to the endless stream of tender-hearted indie kids who grace the ramshackle stage.

Mango's is run by up-and-coming Houston concert kingpin and Free Press Houston chief Omar Afra. The club is located where the Oven used to sit, cattycorner to Number's off Westheimer. Most nights you will find a revolving crew of new-school indie kids slinking around the club or set up on one of the club's two patios smoking the shit out of their Marlboros. Most shows don't start until almost an hour after they are scheduled, in predictable Houston fashion, where people's internal clocks seem to run as slow as a fat kid after chili-dog day at the cafeteria. Mmmmmm, chili dogs...

Winner: Contrary to what the Big Jeffrey Lebowski says, the bums don't always lose. What gets Notsuoh and Pirtle over in this match is the very homeless men in the front of the club that seem to scare all the passers-by and act as live gargoyles warding off those who aren't fully down with the club's vibe. Only one or two transients hang out around Mango's, and those dudes don't jam out silently on imaginary saxophones or wear Indian headdresses made of sweatpants. Mostly they just ask for booze.

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Craig Hlavaty
Contact: Craig Hlavaty