2013-11-02/30 Monthly LOVIEE

We’re back. More details coming next week. Right now these are the only two events I have full info for but I will be adding others in the next few days.

Saturday 11-02

Extra Life Gaming Marathon, Microsoft Store, The Galleria, 6pm-6am. $25 (free for registered Extra Life gamers who have raised at least $200). Returning for a third year at the same location. Extra Life is primarily a video game marathon benefiting Texas Children’s Hospital locally. Food and drinks will be available, as well as a live musical act as the night wears on. Come join us, it’ll be a great time for all! 13-M11-1

Saturday 11-23 and Sunday 11-24

Via Colori, Hermann Square at City Hall, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm, free admission. Street art festival benefiting the Center for Hearing and Speech here in Houston. 13-M11-4

Beginning Friday 11-22

Ice at Discovery Green, $12. See website for times and further information. 13/14-IADG


Recap: Selkie, a Sea Tale (13-M03-9) / Guus Kemp: Premier Cru (13-KEMP)

Never in the history of this blog has there been an event that I have anticipated attending to this degree. For many reasons, I almost didn’t get to make it. The Tuesday night, 2013 March 26, that all changed, as I won the last ticket giveaway and from that point forward I knew I would be attending.

And since I won two tickets, it would be just plain silly to attend alone. So this makes the second such event I’ve recapped for this blog where I have attended with my mom, who, like myself, needed a really good reason to get out of the house for a while and have fun. And have fun we did, believe me.

We arrived relatively early (barely after 7:30pm for a show starting at 8pm). This, despite several wrong turns on the way (I’m terrible at giving directions sometimes). The house was opened at around 7:45pm or so, and the crowd began filing in. We got seats in the second row on the right; the “reserved” spaces in front of us were quickly filled resulting in our view being somewhat obstructed by the heads of the gentlemen in front of us. Unintentionally, of course; though it would have been a nice touch if we had been offered the front-row seats as it appeared the parties for whom they were originally reserved were no-shows.

At right around the stroke of eight o’clock Misha Penton began introducing the show. Part of this introduction included a mention of the original 2010 performance of Selkie at Obsidian Art Space, which I did mention in this very blog in a monthly LOVIEE as event 10-M11-1. Unfortunately I was unable to attend and recap that one; looking back, I wish I had been able to attend that performance as well, so I would have a better idea of what to expect. If nothing else, it would have made for a very interesting compare and contrast.

Which brings me to my next point. I’m putting the finishing touches on this article four days after the show, and thinking back, I’m still not entirely sure just what I was expecting. I had listened to a couple of tracks from the performance; I already knew this was something special. I’m not even sure my words can do it justice; suffice it to say that the singing talent of Misha Penton and the musical talents of her accompanying musicians (Patrick Moore on cello and Kyle Evans on piano) far surpassed any reasonable estimation I had. The show transcends most attempts description using ordinary words like “amazing”, “spectacular”, and “breathtaking”; this was easily the best-spent hour of my life in at least the last year.

As much as I had heard about this work, I was curious about the actual storyline. By the first couple of songs, that quickly changed, and I thought to myself, “I’m not going to try to figure out the storyline, I’m just going to immerse myself in and enjoy the show.” In retrospect, that turned out to be a brilliant move, as it was easy to just get lost in the spectacle and let the hour just fly by.

Partway through the set (right near the end of a song, I want to say it was after the fifth or sixth of the nine songs), there was an ambulance siren audible from within the performance hall. At least one reviewer felt it was a well-timed coincidence; to me, it was more like an unfortunately timed distraction. Of course, I’m not faulting anyone for this; I realize it’s Just One Of Those Things That Happen. (Yeah, I looked at other reviews as I was wrapping this up.)

The dancers (Meg Booker and Yelena Konetchy of Thel Dance Theatre) added a dimension to this performance I wasn’t expecting, complementing the superb musical talents. Not to say that the music stands on its own quite well–I did purchase the CD and have already rated at least one of the tracks 5 stars in my media software.

This was billed as an intimate venue, and that it definitely was. I think there was room for an audience of about 60 to 70 (I didn’t count chairs, this is just a guess from memory). The piano, cello, and of course Misha’s voice were easily audible from our spot in the second row. In fact, about my only minor quibble is that there were at least a couple of points where Misha’s voice actually overpowered the accompaniment–something that I definitely was not expecting. (Maybe this was on purpose?) The front row was a good ten feet or so from the nominal “stage” area; as there were points were Misha went back into the audience, it could be said that technically the stage was the entire room. This was an artfully shrewd use of the venue and the seating layout, which added greatly to the performance.

The show concluded with a showing of the music video for “Softly over sounding waves” (the fifth of the nine songs). After which came the curtain call, and a solidly earned standing ovation for the performers. I wouldn’t have minded one bit being the only person standing in the audience, regardless of how out-of-place I might have looked in that situation. For the record, I am definitely glad I wasn’t.

We stayed for a little while for the afterparty, during which we were invited up to the Zoya Tommy Contemporary Gallery in the building by the featured artist, Guus Kemp. This was a nice addition and we were waiting for the afterparty to fill up anyway, so we spent about ten to fifteen minutes or so admiring Guus’s art and making conversation. Guus has on exhibit a set of twelve abstract expressionist paintings in his own unique style. I might add that three of the twelve paintings in the exhibit have already sold, so if you see a painting you want to buy (that hasn’t already sold), don’t wait too long.

If you weren’t able to make it and still want a copy of the music, the physical CD and digital downloads are both available on Bandcamp for minimums of $12 and $9 respectively. The physical CD is a limited edition, so if you want it, get it before it’s gone.


2013-03-25/31 Weekly LOVIEE

It’s Easter week and the end of March. I’ll be adding to this list as the week goes on, but I want to make sure these three events get (additional) exposure before too much of the week goes by, especially since at least one is likely to sell out. Check back as the week goes on for more additions.

Closing Friday 03-29

Street Smarts, East End Studio Gallery, 708 Telephone Suite C, 6-10pm (Fri 03-01). The photography of Alex Barber is paired with original works from Houston’s street artists: 2:12, Ack!, Daniel Anguilu, Briks, Coolidge, Cutthroat, Dual, Eyesore, Jessica Pope, Red, Wiley Robertson, Michael C. Rodriguez, Shreddi, and Zen Full. 13-SMARTS

Friday 03-29

Chase Hamblin and the Roustabouts, Fitzgerald’s, 2706 White Oak, doors 8pm, $8. Pre-show party begins at 8pm with door prizes, tarot & psychic readings, magic, and gypsy swing. Opening act Bonneville Night Life at 9:45pm; Chase and crew at 10:45pm; The Trimms at midnight. All ages welcome. 13-W12-4

Friday 03-29 and Saturday 03-30

CD Release Concert: “Selkie, a sea tale”, 4411 Montrose, 8-10pm both nights, $20, tickets available online, sellout expected. From the online ticket sale page: “Performers: Misha Penton, soprano; Kyle Evans, piano; Patrick Moore, cello; and Shannon Langman Smith, mezzo-soprano; with early modern dance specialists Meg Brooker and Yelena Konetchy of Austin-based Thel Dance Theatre premiering new choreography to accompany the concert. Performance followed by an artist meet & greet with fizzy-licious libations and sweet treats. CDs and download cards available for purchase at the concert.” 13-M03-8 (Fri) / 13-M03-9 (Sat)


Recap: Runaway Sun at D&W Lounge (13-W11-4)

Well, it is time for my first recap post in nine months. Yes, it’s been that long since I’ve posted a recap.

While I was certain Runaway Sun would likely be excellent as usual, I had no idea what to expect with regards to the venue. I’ve been to every type of venue for local music from hole-in-the-wall type bars, to slightly fancier neighborhood bars like Crooked Ferret Pub, to more upscale places like the Mezzanine Lounge, to outdoor park venues like Discovery Green and Miller Outdoor Theater, to the House of Blues (my last major concert attendance here unfortunately pre-dates this blog), to the Arena Theater, to major arenas like The Summit/Compaq Center, the Astrodome (both non-Reliant and post-purchase of naming rights by Reliant) and Reliant Stadium.

D&W is either top of “hole-in-the-wall” or just over the line of “slightly fancier”. Which is not to say it’s bad, because it’s a pretty good little joint, and I had almost forgotten what it’s like to go to a non-smoking bar (my one big hangup with out-of-city-limits venues like BFE and Crooked Ferret). The music stage is almost an afterthought: there’s barely enough room for three guys with guitars, the effects pedals, the amps, and the drummer and his drum kit. But this is also what brings a show at D&W most of its charm.

I learned a lot about D&W that I wouldn’t otherwise have found out, chatting with Andrew Karnavas during one of the breaks. I’ll go ahead and share the weirdest factoid here: the bar is open from 7am to 2am, which I’m assuming is the maximum allowable opening times by TABC rules, and the early opening time is primarily for third shift coffee factory workers who want to relax after a hard day’s work. Relax? Okay, who am I kidding… is there anyone that would work in a coffee factory surrounded by the smell of slightly burnt coffee beans (and no joke, that’s what the surrounding area smells like), that wouldn’t want to head to the nearest bar that was actually open and get just plain tanked as soon as the whistle sounded? So if for some reason you can’t wait for your favorite bar to open at the obscenely late hour of noon, 2pm, or even 4pm, keep D&W in mind.

I don’t have a complete set list, but I do recall the following from the first two sets, probably out of order:

  • Lily (opening song)
  • Shoot It (alligator song)
  • Lovebite
  • Bad Bad Man
  • The Bridge (uptempo version compared to what’s on the album)
  • Let’s Run
  • Goodbye to You
  • Shake Rattle and Roll (cover)
  • Miss Whiskey
  • Blue Parade
  • Midnight Delta
  • Bright Idea

This is missing most of the covers and probably another song or two which I either did not recognize or forgot the name of.

“Shoot It” deserves a bit more detail, as it’s a call-and-response number which might be one of the band’s live-only songs (as are most of the cover versions of songs, but that’s primarily due to licensing costs). From Andrew’s intro to the song, it was written during one of many tours to “gator country” (parts of Florida). I hope this song gets recorded as a live track at some point, as it would be a shame for this one to not be preserved in some form.

Unfortunately my schedule did not allow me to stay for the third set. But what I saw tonight was more or less the same Runaway Sun that I’ve been a fan of since early 2009. (The band formed in 2008 April, so I wasn’t that late to the party.) It was good to hear some of the songs from Let’s Run, particularly the title track. Hearing “Goodbye to You” in the middle of the set was a real surprise; I think this was the first time I heard Andrew sing it as a solo (it was recorded as a duet with Clory Martin).

I’ve decided now, Let’s Run will definitely be in the next round of albums I purchase. The title track is a free download, physical CDs are at Andrew’s Storenvy store or you can get at least Let’s Run at a show for $10 (potentially a better deal, online it’s $12.50 after shipping).

Unfortunately, I don’t yet know when Runaway Sun’s next local show will be, but rest assured, I will definitely be announcing it when I find out.