The Main Event

If it's January, it must be time for a music festival. That's not a misprint, just a brand-new event pulled together by local promoter Eric Dean with a little help from longtime Houston DJ duo Grrrl Parts and underground rap star Fat Tony.

Dean and friends have convinced just about every Houston artist worth mentioning — rappers, rockers, DJs, folkies, you name it — and quite a few from out of town, to converge on the 3700 block of Main Street, known in some quarters as "The Island," for the "Main Street Block Party." It's 12 solid hours of music Saturday at the Continental Club, Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge, Natachee's Supper & Punch, and upstairs and downstairs at the Mink.

Chatter reached Dean by phone last week in the middle of some sort of electric-shock therapy for his back, which he hurt in a recent car accident. Feel better, dude.

Chatter: What made you want to do this?

Eric Dean: Just the fact that there's no festival-type thing going on around this time of year. And it's great — the weather, just the fact that people like to go out, and there are so many bands in Houston. It's just something fun to do. And a little challenging [laughs]. I wanted to see if I could do it.

C: There are a lot of people playing. How hard was it to pull the lineup together?

ED: Not really hard. There are a couple of bands on the bill I've worked with over time that are automatically go-to bands, and they draw and they're good bands, so I was like, "Hey, I'm thinking about doing this. What do you guys think?" And they're like, "Yeah, that's amazing, let's do it." It was a team effort.

Tom [Nguyen] from the Ton Tons had a few bands from out of town where he's gigged, like in Alabama and New Orleans. They always want to play shows in Houston to get them some exposure. These bands, like Emperor's Hotel, Twin Killers and Caddywhompus, they're kind of a big deal in their respective towns.

C: Considering how much indie and rap there are at this thing, how did you convince the Continental and Natachee's to come on board?

ED: You know, I think it's one of those things where nobody has really asked them. Calling Pete [Gordon, Continental owner] and Donna at Natachee's, they were like, "Oh yeah, we're cool." Their response was, "Why hasn't anybody else done this?"

C: Is there anyone from out of town you're especially excited to have playing?

ED: They're sort of from out of town, but sort of from town — Electric Touch. They're on Island Records. I have a friend who knows them, I contacted them [about playing] and they were totally into it. Them, L.A.X, Black & White Years.

There are a lot of bands from town I'm really stoked about. Like the Cutters, they're excellent. It's punk rock, but they have an organ player. Hollywood FLOSS, love him. I'm excited to see them all. It's one of those things where there's so much going on, if you don't like Band A, there's Band B through F.

C: You're also bringing back the Westheimer Block Party in April. Can you say anything about that yet?

ED: Yeah. It's a springboard for a lot of stuff. A lot of those people who have venues over there are really supportive. It's not reinventing the wheel, it's been done before, but it's something that people love. If you're from the Inner Loop, it's like the Pride Parade — it's something that you want to have every year. Gotta have it.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
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