Skip to main content

The SCENE Magazine

Loose Notes - September 2011

Sep 07, 2011 11:28PM ● By Andy Eng
LOOSE NOTES - My young son, Joe told me something he learned in school and that was when times are tough, people will always need to eat, people will always need to be entertained to "get away", and people will always need to get things fixed. The way I reckon it, the way to fix everything each month is to grab a copy of The SCENE for all the great places to eat and be entertained in the greater Clear Lake region. Let's roll...

NEW STOP ON THE BEAT - We dropped into Berryhill Baja Grill & Cantina in League City and checked out Rockit Bayou. Listed on the sign as a country & classic rock band, Rockit Bayou was that plus a measure of funk thrown in for smooth measure. Makes sense as these folks have developed a respectable South Shore Harbor following from being a regular at Pier 27. We stress tested the place bringing Trish Williams' birthday crowd packing things nice & tight. I thought having the stage down at the other end of the place would've been nice but the Berry Hill staff rose to the occasion nicely. Mark this new spot on the beat as SCENE party ready and while you're at it, double it up folks because we got some...

TROP ROCK, AT THE TOP - Down in the lighthouse district, we stopped in at Tequila Mia's, another new SCENE music venue on our beat and found a huge flock of Trop Rockers on the upper patio and Southbound on stage. Folks, the shuttle may be down but Southbound is skyrocketing plenty these days. Here's the skinny... Coming off their recent tour up in St. Louis the duo of Steve Johnson & Jimmie Johns find themselves perched amongst the top 5 nationwide in the Margarita Mafia's Trop Rock charts and thus nominated for Duo of the Year honors. Pretty cool, eh? The award will be announced in Key West, Florida on November 5th so everybody listen up!!! Surf over to and follow the links to where all of us can help vote our local boys to the top!

FOLLOW UP - It's 10pm, the sun long gone and the Kemah breezes caresses the night and the Astros are having a winning streak. The SCENE is Crazy A's Swamp Shack and the lineup has the band, 11th Hour at the plate. The last time we caught these cats, they were shaking down the newly reopened Cabo's and it was FREEZING outside. We were curious how they would rock out Crazy Al's patio and found out in two words -- Smooooooth & sweet!!! Shane & Byron of 11th Hour, armed with merely an acoustic guitar and Nord Stage 88 keyboard kept it cool with refreshing airy playlist that reminded us -- It's summer, patios are for we creatures of the night, and this is our SCENE. Loud & powerful at Cabo's, light & bright at Crazy Al's, 11th Hour checks off as a full spectrum band. Cheers!

TRACKS - Rick & Hobson has been urging us to check out Last Cigarette, one of the latest in local underground bands and this month at the Cockeyed Seagull, we dropped in on a live recording session for their upcoming CD project. These guys play what's described as native music coming from the Santa Fe, Alvin & Clear Lake triangle that our parents would play on the 45's & 33's set to Led Zeppelin tempo & volumes--Interesting concept and well played at that!! We'll follow up on how goes during mix and mastering. Speaking of laying down tracks, reports have I.D.R. and Dave Nevling both making steady progress in the studios on their respective projects and also this month, our ears got a taste of some early mix previews from Myrna Sanders' (aka Kozmic Pearl) project taking shape at Sugar Hill. Four SCENE area bands, four CD projects in the works and not doubt more out there, a good thing. This month, we scored a hat trick getting to listen to the albums of Tommy Dardar (Fool for Love), Connie Mims (Go Deep) and Southbound (Hammock in the Keys) and were pleased with each. It was end-to-end on the spectrum with Tommy's powerful your face nose-to-nose driving blues contrasting Connie's comfortable easy listening style. Both compilations presented coherent observations of life and both surprised us both hard and deep with their title tracks in a very relevant way--Ya gotta hear them yourself... Southbound's presentation totally took us by surprise with nearly all of their compositions scoring well into the poetic mind blower categories -- No wonder their fans keep coming back. Seriously!!! Do yourself a favor and score a copy of these CD's for your collection -- Tis good stuff...

WHAT IS HIP? - Let me tell you... It's not only the new palapa at T-Bone Tom's, it's also the new vocal line with What Is Hip. Alex Garibay and the guys have is always one of the funnest hopping full piece bands on the SCENE and they've stepped it up another level having with guys in the horn section now also providing double duty with the vocal line. Ooohs, aaaahs, & 5 part harmonies had me wondering if it what we were hearing was live or was it Memorex... Don't worry, we don't expect many of you to understand what we just said. Just know that what we have is What Is Hip, and What is Hip is one of the bestest sounding local full piece bands going. And *that* folks, is hip!

ZONE 504 - We heard the folks at the 504 have been adding to the place and not only that, rearranged inside a bit for the Brian Evans band. To be honest, we had no idea such a large band would ever fit inside the Zone complete with full size mains & an arsenal of tube amps. No worries... Brian's audio man had the place sounding as sweet as a set of Seinnheiser headphones for the standing room only faithful. I'm impressed! We'll be back to check out the upper deck next month...

FIND YOUR WAY BACK - SCENE readers over the years have been following us follow Tommie Lee Bradley and should be please to know after a temporary hiatus, she's back in fine form with her Shuffle Brothers Band. When we got a call asking if we'd be interested in catching them open for the Jefferson Starship/Toto show, and that this was also the area's annual Women's Center fundraiser Music Festival, we went running. Supporting a worthy cause that helps so many a very big way, the music that evening arose to the occasion impeccably. We heard Tommie Lee and the Shuffle Brothers play out of their skin in what should easily score as a "Bravo" performance. The names and the faces may change but the song remains the same with Mickey Thomas and Stephanie Calvert leading the new Starship. The playlist for Starship & Toto? Think back on the most popular seven songs from each band and a couple from the Elvin Bishop group and you've pretty much got it. Twas swell!!!

BENEFIT FOR TOMMY DARDAR - It was a reunion of sorts spanning back to the 70's and 80's at places like Corky's, Rockefellers, Fitzgeralds & Agora Ballroom when local bands were sharing the stage with the likes of the Fabulous Thunderbirds & Stevie Ray Vaughn. This time, the gathering was at Katie's to help raise funds for Tommy Dardar. A solid line up including the Mitch Jacob's Band (Gulf Coast Texas Swing), the Revelators along with Connie Mims, Ronny Hall & the Green Onions, Tommie Lee Bradley & The Shuffle Brothers band, T.C. & The Cannonballs, and The Groove Kings along with Tommy Dardar himself provided an afternoon of over the top music for all. While handing out over-the-top mentions, this month's over-the-top food mention goes to Karl Graves & Katie's bar manager, Danny Finch for seasoning and smoking up melt-in-your-mouth brisket for all who attended. When's the last time you some of that? Thanks to those who came out and supported the cause and thanks to Katie's and their outstanding staff for pulling off another fine benefit. Cheers!

GOING GREEN - Is indeed popular these days and even more so with Dempsey's Irish Pub hosting their mid year St. Patricks Day party. Complete with green beer and a put-a-big-grin on your face green attired staff, it was a good night to be lucky. A couple issues back, we reported our new find, the Celtic rock group called the Blaggards at Union Tavern and looked forward to catching the Dead Rabbits pulling it off the same here. Cheers to the leprechaun!

TOUR STOP CLEAR LAKE - It's Wednesday, 3 full size tour busses chill in the Scout Bar parking lot. Doc's and Buck's are gone yet every parking slot all the way to the old Half Priced Book store is filled, Filter and Saliva are on stage and the mix has Josey Scott out front where he belongs--When practically the entire room is singing along is when you know the night is right and that we did. And that folks, is Tour Stop Clear Lake...

SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST - And the SCENE did just that stopping by this years final Swimsuit USA prelims at Scout Bar. With this being the final chance models could qualify for state finals, quality competition came in from all around town for a ticket to the next round. We were there long enough to catch Melovine on stage reminding us we are in the final stretch for the 94.5FM Buzz Texas Music Awards. Stay tuned!

Andy Eng

p.s. If you're interested in these or other pictures I've taken for The SCENE, visit my on-line galleries!