Willie Nelson famously said, "The nightlife ain't no good life, but it's my life." Houston's nightlife is always as vibrant and diverse as the city itself and music lovers don't have to rack their brains looking for something to do.
Houston has its fair share of musical residencies and on any given night of the week music fans can find a reliable place to hear quality live music. Residencies provide artists with a steady gig and an opportunity to test out new material and refine older tunes constantly. The trick is to get the audience to keep coming back and hopefully bring along some friends.
Some residencies have been long standing institutions, like the weekly Thursday night Beetle happy hour show at Continental Club that’s been going on for a whopping 17 years or Jonn Del Toro Richardson’s long-running Monday night gig at the Big Easy.
Others are newer additions to concert calendars and 2019 gave the city a handful of new residencies worth checking out in the new year.
Luba Dvorak took over Wednesday nights at Shoeshine Charley's Big Top Lounge this year. Every week he and his band provide heartbreaking honky tonk to whoever wants to listen. Some nights it may be just a handful of regulars and the bar cat but others, it can be hard to find a spot to two step.
Dvorak gets help from some of the best players in the city rotating in his band and as special guests. He counts on local accordion wizard, Roberto Rodriguez to add that Tex-Mex flavor that only he can.
Rodriguez also plays an earlier show every Wednesday with his band Goat Leather at The Cottonmouth Club. Goat Leather blends influences from Texas, Mexico and Louisiana and it may be the only place someone will ever hear Motor Head's “Ace of Spades” on accordion.
Also on Wednesdays, Houston rockers Folk Family Revival began their weekly residency at the Raven Tower giving life to one of the most interesting spaces in the city. Their friend and major influence, Jimmy Pizzatola also sparked his own Wednesday night happening at Good Night Charlie’s with “Waltz With Me Wednesdays”. The weekly event starts with a complimentary waltz lesson at 7 p.m. followed by dancing and steak night.
One of the most surprising and enjoyable residencies that sprung up this year was Jon Dee Graham coming in from Austin to play the Continental Club every first Thursday. He initially came down with his backing band, The Fighting Cocks, but when they had to back out last minute three months into his new endeavor, Graham quickly found Houston talent to back him up referring to them lovingly as his “Houston Cocks”.
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Motion Potion can help people get ready for the week with their sixties dance party every second Sunday of the month in the spacious backyard of Axelrad. Houston’s sixties gurus play the best covers from the decade.
It’s not just bands getting in on the weekly action, DJs are also on heavy rotation in the music calendars. With the success seen by Houston’s Fistful of Soul vinyl nights, their departure from the monthly scene left a void for those looking for an old fashioned dance party. (Though they will be back for a special event December 21)
Shakin All Over presents DISCOTEKA, a mix of ‘70s disco and cumbia, every first Saturday at Grand Prize Bar. It’s not an obvious combination but it adds up to a good time. DJ G-Funk brings her soul and funk infused disco sound to La Lucha every Friday night and to Under the Volcano every second Saturday.
In a city as big and hard working as Houston, it’s nice to know there are so many choices out there for Houstonians looking for a night out to let loose but to keep these alive, people have to show up.