Upstairs, Downstairs: The Most Unoriginal SIN

Every so often, when Rocks Off is lucky enough to spend an evening at home, he'll dig up a pen and paper and start scratching away. So it was Monday night...

The longer you're in this business, the more you learn to appreciate the nights when no one goes out. Rather, the nights when the only people who go out are the people who spend the rest of the week taking food and drink orders from weekend warriors and dilettantes. Industry nights, or Service Industry Nights, abbreviated to SIN about as many times as actual sins are committed during this 72-hour span.

Musically, the SIN trifecta - Sunday, Monday and Tuesday - is not nearly as barren as it looks on the surface. The jukeboxes or iPods are always going full-tilt across town, be it Under the Volcano, Cecil's, Big Star Bar or the Next Door. We all know what goes on at Dirt Bar Tuesdays, even though we're not supposed to talk about it.

Early in the week is also an excellent time to catch up on local music. The most reliable places are Boondocks, with its revolving-door Mondays of two or three bands everyone is talking about, and the Continental, where everyone should stop talking and catch the tango/rockabilly pairing of Glover Gill and the Octanes at least once. If it's blues you're after, the Big Easy's no-cover "Tequila Mondays" have been going on as long as anyone around here can remember.

Willie Nelson, "(The) Most Unoriginal Sin"

Tuesdays, the Mink recently started a rock and roll movie night upstairs in its Backroom, screening punk-101 DVDs like Joe Strummer: The Future Is Unwritten and Ramones: End of the Century (tonight is Dazed and Confused...all right, all right, all right). Or, if you prefer, the iTunes in the Mink's front bar is heavy on prime honky-tonk from Johnny Paycheck to George Strait, and Umbrella Man's weekly pan-Gulf Coast schooling is in session up the block at the Continental.

Nine times out of 10, people out early in the week are way more serious about music than the amateurs who limit their activity to Friday and Saturday. (Happy-hour-heavy Wednesday and Thursday can go either way, but lean toward the early-to-bed crowd.) Even if you're just picking music on the jukebox, it's because it's your turn in the rotation. Someone's put you up to it, and you will be graded.

Which brings us to tonight, better known as Tuesday. Every so often, but not that infrequently, a bad-ass roadshow lands in town on a SIN night, and when that happens it's usually Katie bar the door. So it is this evening with Nashville bad boys Th' Legendary Shack Shakers and second-generation songsmith Bobby Bare Jr. at Rudyard's.

What happens next? Let's just hope we remember.

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