Houston Has a Great Music Scene. Just Keep the Musicians In and Hipsters Out.

Categories: Only In Houston

Recently Rocks Off asked our writers if Houston could ever have a "great" music scene,whatever that means. The answers were so wide-ranging we had to divide them among several posts.

BunB-MT-0813.jpg
Photo by Marco Torres
Bun B: Thanks for staying.
I want to preface this by saying that I am in love with Houston's music scene, and think it already is the greatest in the world, but no: it will never be New York, Chicago, Nashville, Austin, San Francisco, New Orleans or Seattle. Why? Several reasons, but the biggest one being Houston's lack of musical history. Yeah, we have ZZ Top, Lightnin' Hopkins' Destiny's Child and UGK, but I could name 20 acts from each of those cities that has as much or more cultural significance than any act from Houston.

Another major problem is that whenever anyone starts to get a little bit of nationwide exposure, they seem to leave Houston immediately. Robert Ellis lives in Nashville, Hayes Carll lives in Austin, Jana Hunter lives in New York. One major exception is Bun B -- he's a boss, and should be Mayor-for-life of our fair city.

REWIND:

Let's Move On: Houston Doesn't Need a Central Live-Music Hub
Could Houston Ever Have a Great Music Scene?


The final issue keeping us from having a "great" music scene is touring bands' lack of stops in Houston. Every day, I get publicity emails announcing that so-and-so band announced a string of dates, but they're not coming to Houston. For many years, bands would play here and either have no one at their shows or a rudely talkative crowd.

arcadefire0813.jpg
Photo by Marc Brubaker
Arcade Fire's 2011 "homecoming"
Many of those bands never came back. Phish hasn't played here in 15 years. Arcade Fire, despite having roots in The Woodlands, played Mary Jane's in early 2005 and then not again until after their third über-succesful album The Suburbs came out.

Hell, I can think of several bands who've never even played here -- here in the fourth-largest city in the nation. While I think that's starting to be a problem of the past, as Houston crowds have been noticeably swelling these days, it still hurt our scene for quite some time and we're still feeling the effects.

We do have a great music scene, though, and that is evident if you step foot in any of our local venues. On any given night, you can catch a bevy of talented musicians peddling their wares. Many bands from Houston are starting to get national recognition as well, and that is showing with their crowd sizes each and every time they play in town. The Tontons nearly sold out Fitz a few weeks ago, and the Suffers packed Cactus Music from front to back just the other day. Buxton play to huge crowds every time they take a stage; Wild Moccasins do the same.

Unfortunately, we'll never be known as a music city, especially with the smaller yet more musically proficient Austin just down the road. Wipe out Austin and maybe New Orleans, and we'll finally get our due. Until then, we'll just be known as that huge oil city where Beyonce is from. At least we're better than Dallas. JIM BRICKER


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31 comments
erincorbitt
erincorbitt

also define hipster....i dont think you really understand what that is. houston has a young "scene" that a lot of people flock to. it has a sense of community, thats why people like it. young artists support other young artists (of all planes) and that creates cliques? last time i checked everyone was welcome, except ASSHOLES. dont let your highschool insecurities get the best of you. there are no POPULAR HIPSTER KIDS cliquing around. just a lot of energetic passionate people having fun and supporting their local artists. who gave you the mic to say whats good and whats not? People love THE TRIMMS and love The Beans. Sounds like youre the exclusive one. 

ALSO PEOPLE OF ALL RACES ECONOMIC CLASSES, ETC are about. sorry didnt mean to be so WHITE.

raquel.chan.cc
raquel.chan.cc

What we also need in Houston is REAL JOURNALIST!!!!!!!!!! SAVE IT FOR A BLOG!!!

arrothiel
arrothiel

The true irony is, real hipsters are people that are judgmental and exclusionary of people that aren't exactly like them, which is exactly the image the writer of this article of projecting. Stop being a hypocrite, stop bitching, grab a beer, and just enjoy the music for once instead of NEEDING to criticize everyone and everything to death. Grow the fuck up and listen to the music.


Also, the Trimms are great guys, and extremely talented at what they do. They have a passion for their music. Is there something wrong with that? Super lame potshot. They're not even one of the bigger players in the Scene. Way to piss on the little guy trying to make it.

rockstarstats
rockstarstats

It needs a truly popular local station to get behind the scene and that hasn't happened.

Jacob Bocanegra
Jacob Bocanegra

uh what great music? Blue October, and Bun B without Pimp C?? hahahahahahaha!!!!! cmon...

Nick
Nick

William Michael Smith, you're the worst. 

starvinginhouston
starvinginhouston

William needs to write a follow up how older men who go see zydeco are too cliquey & need to get out to more punk shows.

Jake Rawls
Jake Rawls

This is nothing new, and was a problem way before "hipster" entered the lexicon in its current form. Remember when Fenix Tx (then Riverfenix) had to go to San Diego to get noticed?

Brady T Holder
Brady T Holder

The hipster stuff is just a fad like at the turn of the century Houston had a strong hardcore/metal scene. I still think though there needs to be more all age venues where high school kids can play and go. That will give young bands a chance to grow and become really good.

Jason Barron
Jason Barron

hipsters ruin everything! them and their stupid non-prescription thick black framed glasses. idiots

Jay Tovar
Jay Tovar

Hipster is a superfluous shape-changing buzzword really. Doesn't mean or say much anymore

ryanrgarza
ryanrgarza

music is meant to be shared.... true artists know this. I love making music and sharing it with anyone who is willing to listen. people who listen to music based on a music scene are only making it harder for truly gifted musicians to be heard....that is all

gio.chamba
gio.chamba

the problem i see in my viewpoint of the Houston music "scene" is that there is no unity...everyone labeling themselves/others and dividing by "whats cool&whats not", "who's a hipster" and blah blah.... Until we embrace the different cultures,backgrounds,lifestyles,dress styles, music styles..etc, we will not have a true Music city.... WE NEED TO STOP COMPARING OURSELVES TO OTHER CITIES, AND THEN, WE NEED TO STOP COMPARING INDIVIDUALS(OURSELVES INCLUDED) WITH OTHER INDIVIDUALS FROM OUR CITY!!! Lets celebrate our individuality and allow others to do the same....cause we are all the same... We spend more time talking about what is wrong with our city instead of doing our part to make it better.... I JUST WANT TO SAY THAT I LOVE HOUSTON, AND EVERYTHING, EVERYONE THAT IS A PART OF IT...(yes even those who left to other cities).... Real Soon I will put in my part as far as music,performance, and unity of Houston goes...look out for it : ) 

jenkinshouse55
jenkinshouse55

Not to self promote... But this is why everyone needs to go to Yes, Indeed Music Festival at Last Concert Cafe on September 14. It will be the anti-cool pro-music event of the early fall. There will be a little something for everyone and even The Beans will appear!

jnovalomax
jnovalomax

Really, you could name 20 acts from Austin that have had more impact than Destiny's Child? Ok, GO!

KING
KING

Don't bother with page 2, everyone. Shit makes zero sense. 


You're welcome.

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@Jake Rawls Yep, a phenomenon that occurs too often. Didn't take Robt Ellis long to bolt.

ticklemyfancy151
ticklemyfancy151

@KING It was like someone started an article, all the sudden, mid blog, they had a musical emergency and quickly handed their laptop to some Jerry Garcia-in-a-pouch lookin' hippie, sitting all smug and snoozing in the corner,  and just goes to town hating on the modern day version of what he claimed to be "doin' man" back in the 70's

starvinginhouston
starvinginhouston

Wow. I wasn't bashing the guy, and making it a contest like that is completely absurd. Point is, it's narrow minded to marginalize any one group of fans or musicians.

starvinginhouston
starvinginhouston

All people find groups of who they can relate to on various interests. It's difficult for anyone to explore outside of that. Pointing a finger at one group to criticize is a generalization, and a pointless, self righteous exercise.

WhiteLightning
WhiteLightning

@starvinginhouston I think the point is that the hipster clique element is already equally narrow-minded and practicing marginalization. I can understand older folks not getting out in wide, wide circles (say to punk shows), but the hipsters who don't go anywhere but Fitz, Walter's and Mango's rarely seem to move beyond their tight circle and a couple of genres. That hardly seems "hip." Anyway, civil debate is a good thing.

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