25 More Legendary Houston Music Venues

Categories: Only In Houston

BlkKeys-0827.jpg
Photo by Mark C. Austin
The Black Keys at Meridian, September 2008
Meridian
The Meridian seemed doomed from the start. The cavernous upstairs venue in Chinatown just down the street from Warehouse Live was awkwardly divided into a small room and a big room -- not unlike Warehouse, but with only one entrance and up a flight of stairs. But, it was still one of the coolest venues in town to see a band, thanks especially to the window view of the skyline that made it feel like you were hanging at some cool bar in New York.

To this day, one of the coolest and shortest sets of music I've ever seen was delivered from the Meridian's stage by the late Chris Whitley. He was deep into his battle with cancer when he appeared at a benefit and only managed to perform for a minute or two before exhaustion overcame him, but they were two of the most brilliant moments of heartfelt musicianship I've ever seen. Like Whitley, the Meridian left us all too soon. JEFF BALKE

indianjewelry-0827.jpg
Photo by Jody Perry
Indian Jewelry at the Mink, February 2010
The Mink
This Main Street bar next door to Shoeshine Charlie's Big Top enjoyed a brief run as a beloved, anything-goes music venue that booked a host of metal, punk, hip-hop and indie acts in addition to regular standup comedy and DJ nights. Cheap drinks and live music made it a hipster haven, attracting a motley assortment of tattoos and facial hair that spent as much time smoking and socializing on its Spartan-but-cozy back patio as they did upstairs listening to music.

The place always seemed to be struggling to stay afloat, and after a couple of ownership changes in 2011-12, quietly closed its doors without much fanfare. Mango's on Westheimer has picked up some of the booking slack, but it lacks the dirty, sexy darkness of the Mink's heyday. NATHAN SMITH

Of Our Own
OOO morphed out of the second Catacombs location. Local alternative press had been steadily criticizing the Ames people as capitalists and as people who didn't truly support the local scene. The Ames machine turned the criticism on its head by forming the Houston Community Assistance Project and setting OOO up as a non-profit. I saw Bruiser Barton and the Dry Heaves (now Beans Barton and the Bipeds) and Ry Cooder open for Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band there winter of 1970. Shortly after, the club folded. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Pig & Whistle
Long-since demolished, this ramshackle house on the corner of Alabama and Greenbriar was a snaky labyrinth of connected spaces which obscured site lines and made any heavily attended show there something of an effort. Herschel Berry, Southern Backtones, and a mish-mash of rockers and roots acts made the Pig a venue to check before you left home for a musical evening. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

buttholepower2-0827.jpg
Ozone City Outrage
Power Tools
A long-gone cousin of Numbers, Power Tools is still a sacred name (not to mention a powerful memory) among Houston's industrial/goth/EBM crowd, with the downtown subterranean space now occupied by hip-hop/EDM-heavy Kryptonite. Like a few of its kin, Power Tools is practically un-Google-able, but one flyer we did find (again via Ozone City Outrage) offers a powerful whiff: Butthole Surfers. Mid-August. All ages. CHRIS GRAY

Reddi Room
Just a block from Fitzgerald's, the Reddi Room played host to every significant Houston blues act with virtually zero fanfare. Milton Hopkins may not have had the lease in his pocket, but he owned this joint, playing there weekly for what seemed like a decade at least. The Room also brought out eclectic crowds of hipsters, River Oaks socialites, and Third Ward heroes. If Houston had a blues trail, there'd be a monument in front of the old Reddi Room. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Sand Mountain
Townes van Zandt heckled Steve Earle in this tiny lower Richmond venue. Along with the Jester, ground-zero for the Texas singer-songwriter movement, hosting Townes, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Jerry Jeff Walker, Eric Taylor, etc. Another spot where a monument should be erected. Drug and alcohol free...sure. WILLIAM MICHAEL SMITH

Shimmy Shack
The quintessential pre-douchification Washington Avenue rock dive, Shimmy Shack predated even Mary Jane's/Fat Cat's in its long march toward becoming, um, Pearl Bar, hosting prime '90s acts like Jawbox, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Ed Hall and Supersuckers along the way. CHRIS GRAY


List continues on the next page.

My Voice Nation Help
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.

Now Trending

Houston Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

Loading...