Friday Night Shaping Up to Be a Rocker

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Power-pop master Paul Collins headlines Walters' Record Fair tonight
Friday is shaping up right nicely for those of us who frequent H-Town's lower dens.

The biggest news is that the Paul Collins Beat is at Walter's as the centerpiece of a record fair sponsored by Sound Exchange. Collins first touched the hem of fame as drummer for the legendary Los Angeles power pop band the Nerves. Featuring Peter Case and Jack Lee, the power trio took L.A. by storm.

Their searing live shows apart, the Nerves are probably best known for Blondie's smash hit cover of the Jack Lee tune "Hanging on the Telephone." After Lee left the band, Case and Collins worked with a changing cast of musicians and recorded together as the Breakaways. Their best known song was "Walking Out On Love," which the Nerves had been playing live but never recorded.


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Houston's 10 Best Non-Sports Bars to Watch the Super Bowl

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Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
8TH WONDER BREWERY
Sunday at noon, 8th Wonder Brewery opens up its taproom, which has plenty of TVs for you to cheer on the Patriots or Seahawks later in the day. Arrive early for a chance to taste the brewery's inaugural release of its new Brewston Texas Pale Ale and help get the party started. Eatsie Boys will have a food truck on site with plenty to eat, and Feges BBQ will set up a pop-up kitchen. Misc. A Mobile Store, and Urban Izzy will also have trucks on site for your retail shopping needs.

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Outside the Loop, Tribute Bands Rule the Roost

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Photos by Melissa Caudle
OZZ, Houston's leading Ozzy Osbourne tribute band, barks at the moon during a recent Scout Bar show.
Years before most music was made, performed and bought digitally, people would go out to see it live. There was a time when rock and roll ruled radio, not just in Houston but across the country as lines were drawn in the sand between 97 Rock and Rock 101 KLOL. People had arguments over whether it was cool or not that Eddie Van Halen played keyboards on "Jump" and the title track for Van Halen's sixth studio album, 1984. We had things like Texxas Jam, and bands such as Foghat and .38 Special played at the Astrodome.

It was American as apple pie. And life was good.

While those days are gone for most people, those precious memories live in the hearts and minds of many. Luckily, you don't have to depend just on your old and fuzzy recollection of times past. They are still alive and well, and you don't have to go too far to find them. Just drive any direction outside of 610 on any given night, and you'll run into a pub or bar billed as having "live music."


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Houston's 10 Best Open Stages

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Stephanie Meza
10. TE' HOUSE OF TEA
Open-mike happens at Te' House of Tea every Monday from 7:30 to 11 p.m.; some customers come out specifically to watch while others who have ventured out to grab some tea stumble upon it. You will often see some interesting instruments brought in by the participants, like banjos, musical washboards, and ukuleles in addition to the usual acoustic guitars. This is a fun laid-back night with some unusual musical performances and performers. When you come out, be aware that Te' has more than 130 different teas to choose from, and the food menu is vegan and vegetarian friendly; meat lovers don't worry, they have some items for you to enjoy as well.

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10 Houston Bars You Might Have Missed

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C & F DRIVE INN
The C & F stands for Cortez and Family, and this Heights neighborhood ice house has indeed been run by the Cortez family since opening in 1987. A loyal crowd of regulars made up of people from the neighborhood and beyond drop in for the cheap drinks and laid-back, friendly atmosphere. A game of pool costs only 50 cents, but if you knock the ball off the table you are required to put a dollar into the jukebox; when the weather warms up the large back yard allows for barbecues and games of horseshoes and washers. Football is popular here, and former University of Texas Heisman winner and Houston Oilers legend Earl Campbell even stopped in for a beer once.

6714 N. Main Street


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Houston's 10 Best Monday Night Bars & Clubs

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AVANTGARDEN
Come visit this converted turn-of-the-20th-century house in Montrose on Monday nights starting at 7pm for "They, Who Sound," a weekly showcase where local and visiting musicians perform experimental sounds, noise, improvisational music, and pretty much whatever else they feel like. Nick Cooper's jazz ensemble, Free Radicals, are back every Monday at 10pm after a brief hiatus; the Radicals' 2012 album The Freedom Fence won the Houston Press Music Award for Local Album of the Year.

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Houston's 10 Best Bars & Clubs Open New Year's Day

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AVANTGARDEN
Customer Appreciation Night happens every Thursday at AvantGarden and New Year's Day is no exception; the free admission and cheap drink specials bring in large and diverse crowds who gather in the patio/courtyard out back, which is illuminated overhead with sparkling lights, putting out a festival vibe.

In the upstairs lounge, local comics will be performing in an event called "GODDAMMIT!", and based on that title and some of the comics scheduled, you can probably expect a lot of politically incorrect humor. We have seen the organizer, Gabe Bravo, do some stand-up at another bar in town and he is pretty funny himself. Comedy show starts at 9:45 pm, customer appreciation starts at 10 p.m.

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Houston's 10 Best Places to Dance Off Those Holiday Pounds

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Photos by Marco Torres
Note: Because there ain't a whole lot else going on, today Rocks Off is revisiting some of our favorite stories of 2014. Happy Holidays!

Grooving to the beat is all well and good and all, but sometimes when the music burrows deep into your veins, there's only one way to unleash that energy...and that is to get down on it, shake your bombon and boogie. Houston is filled with a plethora of dance meccas, where our fellow citizens go to forget the stress of life and get sweaty on the dance floor, one club anthem at a time.

In order to create this list, we pulled from our own experience of covering the nightlife scene in the H, and also surveyed our social-media friends for their input in order to create a more well rounded selection.

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Houston's 10 Best Bars & Clubs Open Christmas Day

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Note: list is in alphabetical order.

CONTINENTAL CLUB
Beatles tribute band Beetle gets the Continental's Christmas night started at 7 p.m., followed at 10 by promising local Americana act Grand Old Grizzly, who in turn will share the stage with the bluegrass stylings of the Palisades. On their Web site, the Grizzly men also promise that some special surprise guests will appear, so make plans to head on down to Main Street to satisfy your curiosity.

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Inside Rising East End DIY Venue The Summit

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Photos by David Sackllah
James Vehslage outside The Summit on Navigation Blvd.
In the wake of last week's announcement of another storied Houston venue closing, it's a good time to focus on the growth of the city's local music scene, in part aided by the recent addition of The Summit. Located in East Downtown at 3536 Navigation Blvd., the venue/DIY space opened by musicians Mike McMullin, Alexander Coco and James Vehslage has been hosting events for a little more than a year now.

Since the trio began renovating the space in March 2013, they have steadily, organically grown as an integral part of the Houston community, hosting concerts for local acts like Fat Tony and Young Mammals, putting on shows for national touring acts like The Hotelier and The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, and working with local nonprofits such as Bootown, 86 Cancer and Houston Zine Fest.

Given the shows and events the owners have put on, it's a surprise to find that the original intentions behind The Summit weren't to build a music venue.


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