Rocks Off isn't sure what sort of currency a slogan like "Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits" would muster beyond the Pearly Gates - maybe, if he's really lucky, he'll get a chance to find out one day - but it works well enough for House of Blues' weekly gospel brunch, which debuts Sunday with 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. seatings in the upstairs Music Hall.
Whether or not you take the "gospel" part with a grain of salt - the first line of HOB's press release is "Break out the mimosas and Bloody Marys!" so praise the Lord and pass the Alka-Seltzer - the music is legit. Dallas-based ensemble the Hensleys, members of the Good Will Missionary Baptist Church, directed by Texas State University's Elbert Hensley, will raise the roof at both seatings; they were the choir that opened for the Blues Brothers Band at HOB's grand-opening gala back in October.
Tickets for the gospel brunch are $35 (floor, with buffet) or $18 (balcony, no food). See HOB's Web site for more information. A few hours later, at Houston's other house of blues, the local blues community will gather for a memorial concert for one of its own.
Starting at 2 p.m., the Big Easy (5731 Kirby) opens its doors for a five-hour tribute concert to the late Pete Mayes, who passed away December 16 after ailing for several years. Scheduled to appear are Texas Johnny Brown, Trudy Lynn, Tommy Dardar, Steve Krase, Pee Wee Stephens, Mayes' band the Houserockers and doubtless a few special guests sitting in.
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A $5 donation to help offset the Mayes family's funeral expenses is requested. And Rocks Off almost hates to bring this up, but this concert almost seems like a memorial not only for Mayes, but for his entire generation of performers - people schooled in the blues before it became irreversibly cross-pollinated with rock and roll. There's just not that many of them left anymore, in Houston or anywhere, and their ranks dwindle a little more every year. - Chris Gray