25 More Legendary Houston Music Venues

Categories: Only In Houston

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Photo courtesy of domeshadows.com
Dome Shadows
On Buffalo Speedway not far from the Astrodome, Dome Shadows was "the" spot for swinging white clientele beginning in December 1963, only months before the Beatles appeared for the first time on Ed Sullivan's show. The club featured a large house band (most notably the Jokers) and was the see-and-be-seen magnet for the young, smart, moneyed crowd.

Judge Roy Hofheinz sued the club for $1 million over the use of "Dome," which of course only made it more popular. By 1970, longtime Houston radio personality Paul Berlin was running the club, which was eventually heavily damaged by fire and closed, but not before hosting one of Ramones' first Houston shows in the late '70s. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Goat's Head Soup
In early 1994, I was trying to develop a taste for Fugazi-type music that never really took and decided I just had to see Surgery at Goat's Head Soup one weekend while home from UT-Austin. An oversized house right as the Westheimer curve widens into Montrose proper, the venue booked heavier alt-punk bands -- Emo's runoff, more or less -- while it was open, which wasn't long. (Sugery wasn't bad, though.) It burned down in June 1994; one of the owners was arrested and charged with felony arson a few weeks later. CHRIS GRAY


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Photo courtesy of Ben DeSoto
Butthole Surfers at the Island
The Island
Known variously as Rock Island, Paradise Island and just plain the Island, this former Mexican restaurant on Main Street was Ground Zero for Houston's punk rock scene between 1978 and 1983. In addition to providing a stage for local upstarts such as the Hates, Mydolls, Really Red and the Judy's, the Island also hosted legends from the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and X to like-minded Texas groups Butthole Surfers, Big Boys and MDC. The atmosphere was rank and the threat of violence and police harassment lingered over many gigs, but the DIY scenester spirit of the place made it fertile ground for no-rules rock experimentalism. NATHAN SMITH

The Jester
Adjacent to the huge apartment complexes of "Sin Alley" along Mid Lane between Westheimer and Richmond, The Jester was another Ground Zero for the Texas singer-songwriter movement and the original musical home of Townes van Zandt, who reportedly was often drunk and not very good at that point in his career. Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker and others also cut their teeth here. Management also had the tolerance and foresight to invite the great black folk blues players like Lightnin' Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb to perform there. A branch bank sits on the location today. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Jimmy Menutis' Lounge
A converted movie theater that became the center of a once bustling Telephone Road scene, Jimmy Menutis' Lounge was as close to real nightclub as it got in the early '60s. How cool was it? Roy Head recalls opening for Chuck Berry there and, according to Head, "everybody who was anybody played there." The list of national headliners who played the club is staggering: Louis Armstrong, Sam Cooke, Little Richard, Bo Diddley is only the tip of the list. The turbulent '60s and the change in musical styles caused Menutis to close the club. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

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Ozone City Outrage
La Bastille
Some have called this basement room off Market Square Houston's last true jazz club. In its nearly two decades, it hosted a pantheon of the genre's giants (Miles Davis, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Sarah Vaughan, Stan Getz), sometimes in multiple-night stands. La Bastille eventually widened its booking to accommodate rock acts like Carlos Santana before finally closing in 1979. CHRIS GRAY

Laveau's
Laveau's namesake, infamous New Orleans voodoo queen Marie Laveau, makes Internet-excavating much information about the lower Montrose dive a little tricky; according to invaluable Houston flyer archive Ozone City Outrage, though, Hates shows were typical. Laveau's also appears to have been well-known for its Chinese New Year parties. CHRIS GRAY


List continues on the next page.


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21 comments
Libby Medea
Libby Medea

Thanks for these lists as they brought back a lot of really good memories from days gone by. My favorite non-musical event was at the Tower when the good Dr. Hunter S. Thompson did his best to start a mini-riot during his "performance"'. :D Also a belated FU to the goof who peppered sprayed the front of the stage during a set by the Judybats (also at the Tower). Good times, I tells ya.

wordlover
wordlover

The Skybar on Montrose was the best! I used to go there before Scott took it over, when it was called Codys, and then kept going when it became Skybar.   I then followed Scott downtown when he opened Skybar at the Houston Pavillions, but then that went kerplut.   I'm still upset about that!  :(

Bill Grady
Bill Grady

Oh, balls. Pik n pak was in the first installment. As it should be.

Joe Cote
Joe Cote

I forget...were we 'sweaty thrashers' or 'doom merchants'?

WestSideBob
WestSideBob topcommenter

Saw many a show at UAB.  Seemed to be a favorite stopover for Dred Zeppelin.    Wonder if the members of Phineas Gauge are still around.?

girltr8der
girltr8der

Anyone remember Cardi's?  I saw INXS play there back in early 80's.  How did Rockafellers miss the list? 

txcyclist
txcyclist

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I would swear the Pig & Whistle was on the corner of Richmond and Greenbriar.

Austin Cooley
Austin Cooley

My bad. I read an earlier version that had less than 25 clubs and didn't include The Island. Glad this was updated.

Austin Cooley
Austin Cooley

Yes, but you didn't mention The Island. unforgivable omission.

kmaher23
kmaher23

Another interesting article; those wondering why their favorite club is missing really need to check out the first one, too.  Although Houston's music history is long enough that there are still more venues to remember...

Two small corrections. In the Jester/Sand Mountain days, at the very start of his career, Townes van Zandt's performances were usually excellent & fairly sober. The "falling off his stool" stories came later.  

And Steve Earle was heckled by Townes at the Old Quarter, not Sand Mountain. Here's the story: http://m.npr.org/story/104154336



John Cramer
John Cramer

The Mike Gunn played a good chunk of these as well. Good times.

gilvaz1
gilvaz1

What about Liberty Hall. Springstein and The Ramones played there for several nights.

Also the Texas Opry House. Talking Heads, The Police, Elvis Costello, Magazine, ect. played there.

Agora/Palace, saw The Jam, The Plastics and many more.

Spit hosted Ultravox and the Stranglers.  

Tower Theater, Pretenders, Simple Minds  

wordlover
wordlover

@girltr8der Me! I saw The Outfield play there, they were just starting out.  Good times there!

txcyclist
txcyclist

Cool! There are other old timers reading the Press!

WestSideBob
WestSideBob topcommenter

@txcyclist Yeah ... right across from Shepherd Sq.  A pretty funky building it was :-)

RLDavies
RLDavies

@gilvaz1I worked at the Agora/Palace/Rock Saloon. So many good shows. AC/DC did an impromptu show there the night after playing the Summit.

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