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Music scene will miss musician; Midtown Live changes hands
by Marty Racine
Houston Chronicle; Houston, Tex.; Feb 28, 1985

The fluctuating Houston club scene fluctuates one more time with last week's sale of Midtown Live to businessman Michael Holliday, the English chap who also owns Richmond Arms, the Ale House, Park Lane and Rudyards. Midtown, which opened at its 5245 Buffalo Speedway location only last November and was booked by local pianist Ezra Charles, was taking its time drumming up crowds along the busy local club circuit. But the building, recently renovated and centrally located, is a jewel. Holliday plans no major changes beyond the booking, which should now turn away from blues and R&B to more dance-oriented bands. Holliday says he wants to attract regional and national rock acts, and he will, for the time being, keep the cover charge to a minimum - just to get people in the door.'' The original March calendar, partially completed, is now being revised.

THE CRITIC'S CHOICES: Houston trumpet man Calvin Owens, who blows the licks out of that horn, stages another in his series of Jazz & Blues Concerts at 9 p.m. Friday in the Grand Ballroom of the Adam's Mark Hotel (2900 Briarpark at Westheimer; 978-7400). Owens, whose credits include B.B. King, has formed a 16-piece band for the occasion, which also features Arnett Cobb, the Fifth Ward Express, Martha Turner, Eddie "Cleanhead'' Vinson and Jabo. It's a KUHF presentation, 10 bucks at the door . . .

OK, metalists, Iron Maiden is at the Summit tonight. 'Nuff said . . .

Dancetown, USA runs another bash Saturday night with Telstar doing the C&W footwork . . . More in the way of country might be had at Gilley's, with the Whites Friday night and Johnny Rodriguez Saturday. Rodriguez has emerged with a second chance in the biz, having apparently overcome a few personal problems . . .

Fitzgerald's hosts the long-awaited ARMS of America Benefit tonight, on behalf of ex-Small Faces founder Ronnie Lane, who's fighting a nine-year bout with multiple sclerosis. Lane recently moved to Houston for treatment and volunteer work for ARMS-America, which has its headquarters here. The organization was established late last year with the help of nearly $1 million raised from the celebrated 1983 ARMS tour of the States featuring Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Ron Wood, Rod Stewart, Bill Wyman, Jimmy Page, Charlie Watts and others. Former Small Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan will show tonight, in addition to a Who's Who of local talent: Dr. Rockit, The Natives, The Bedbugs, Michael Heyman and Little Screamin' Kenny. The critic happened in on a rehearsal Monday night at the club, and Lane, with Little Screamin' on bass and Heyman on guitar, sounded just fine on his song, April Fool, which appears on his Rough Mix album with Clapton and Peter Townshend . . .

Said club will do all right Friday and Saturday with the king of blues harmonica, James Cotton. Cotton, along with fellow Chicagoan Junior Wells, is considered a standard-bearer of his little reed instrument.

POP NOTES: Heard that Dr. Rockit is replacing the Sisters of Mercy with a new duo. Former sisters Cindy Hoffmeister and Lisa Williams are said to be leaving for New York and California, respectively . . .

The Texas music scene looks pretty nifty in the new magazine, XTRA, published out of Dallas (2906 Maple Ave., Suite 210, 75201) and available at selected newsstands. Whereas rock journalism in Houston is splintered among a number of small weeklies and monthlies, most of them no more than fanzines or radio station hack sheets and unable to properly compensate their contributors; whereas the music industry in this state is in dire need of coverage; and whereas Texas is known for high-quality publications in other fields - XTRA serves to gather all our resources inside a colorful, glossy format utilizing top-rate writers. The new March issue features Joe Ely on the cover (a scathing report, at that), plus book, album and film reviews, fashion, video, news shorts and interviews. Now why did they have to start that in Dallas?

 

 

 


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