Houston Music

UPDATED: Houston's Top 25 Closed Music Venues

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Club Hey Hey Before Washington Avenue was sold to the douchebags and foodies, it was funky funky funky. Pete Selin had a New Orleans lean, and his Club Hey Hey was as jumping a spot as there was until it was razed to build those damn apartments. A virtual home base for the Hollisters the Rounders (who became the Hollisters), you could wander into the Hey Hey after a Satellite show and Joe Ely or Richard Thompson might be sipping a cold one and listening to a local band. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Emo's Before it's more famous sibling opened in Austin, the Houston Emo's became notorious as a dirty, grungy rock dive featuring a noxious pool of black water and outdoor toilets. In addition to hosting bands like Poor Dumb Bastards, Humungus and anyone else sick enough to ignore the filth, it was also apparently a primo spot to score drugs, get loaded and possibly even get laid. SXSW, this was not, but the old dump remains a fondly remembered home of the '90s rock scene in Houston. NATHAN SMITH

The Engine Room The big hall on Pease still sporadically host events as the Engine Room, but it bears little resemblance now to the club that hosted a slew of metal, hardcore and sleaze rock bands back in the late '90s and early '00s. It was a nicely decorated spot, full of painted canvases and polished metal accents with strategically placed beer tubs and a few pool tables in the back. I'm pretty sure Clutch must have played the place at least 30,000 times back in the day. NATHAN SMITH

Fabulous Satellite Lounge The roots rockin'-est joint in town for ten years or so. The bar snaked along the wall like a badly broken arm making it an odd room, but acts like Richard Thompson, Storyville, Dick Dale, Blasters, Beat Farmers, Southern Culture on the Skids and a slew of rocking locals like Jesse Dayton and the Basics made this the weekend place to be until the Continental Club arrived. And you could get your ass whipped at those Monday bingo sessions if you held your mouth wrong. Rudy T was a regular. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

International Ballroom This former grocery store on the Southwest side was basically an empty concrete husk with a stage inside of it, which made it an ideal, indestructible venue for metal bands like Tool and Slipknot hitting Houston on their way to superstardom. The wide-open floor space made for city's most intense mosh pits back in the '90s. It was a bit of a hellhole, but there was a huge, free parking lot that was the best thing about the place. NATHAN SMITH

Liberty Hall This short-lived venue is revered by the '60s set who hung around for the '70s. Springsteen played the Hall on his first Texas tour, Billy Gibbons was a regular in his lime-green skin-tight polyester pants, Jimmy Reed was broadcast live from the stage, Lightnin' practically owned the joint. The great blues woman Tracy Nelson still has the poster from the night she was billed with Hopkins framed and hanging in her living room. In the mid-Seventies, it was The Place to be. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Local Charm Rory Miggins' little Telephone Road joint was a beautiful place where the hipsters met the bluesers who met the hillbillies. Miggins always had room for Texas Johnny Brown and the old school blues acts, but he also made room for all sorts of up-and-comer alt-locals. Another place where we used to catch Jesse Dayton early on. About as old school hippie as you could get. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Love Street Light Circus Feel Good Machine The epicenter of Houston's psychedelic-music explosion. Both David Adickes and the International Artists label were involved in the Love Street operation. Adickes' pulsing light shows enhanced the music of bands like 13th Floor Elevators, Moving Sidewalks, and Johnny Winter. On July 4, 1969, ZZ Top played their first gig ever at Love Street. The "Zonk Room" featured headrests and couch cushions on the floor.

In what qualifies as one of either the weirdest or most monumental booking ever, on one Sunday Love Street presented an afternoon show with 13th Floor Elevators, Lightnin' Hopkins, and renowned bluegrass band Flatt and Scruggs. By 1970, International Artists was disintegrating and the historic Love Street was shuttered after being open less than three years. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

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