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Houston's clubs hoppin' for holidays
by Marty Racine
Houston Chronicle; Houston, Tex.; Nov 14, 1985

THE holiday front must be fast approaching. Every other album release is a greatest hits package - deceased artists have never been more popular - and tours are piling up as acts scramble to get in dates before our wallets are bled dry and the weather turns inhospitable.

So for the sake of art and all that, we critics press even further into the nightlife this time of year, missing balanced meals, Hitchcock reruns and even a little prime-time sleep. Such a noble mission, and where's the restroom, anyway?

Last week I checked on the new Fool's Gold, formerly Nite Moves, formerly Fool's Gold, where John Anderson and his band did their best to fill the intermission between disco sets. Poor ol' John, competing with the club's high-tech sound delivery system and sandwiched between never-ending grooves of recorded dance music. Conclusion: nice-looking room, good sight lines, great disco, but not very sympathetic to live music. As for Anderson - great voice, good tunes (except for too many cry-in-your-beer weepers) and a band barely a cut above any honky-tonk outfit you might find on some Saturday night in Deming, N.M.

So we hoofed it to Fitzgerald's and caught the last of Design For Living, Ezra Charles' latest incarnation. Very impressive. Three-piece horn section, rollicking piano work, interesting rhythm and blues/jump material arranged smartly. Let's hope this design holds together long enough to make an impression.

After the Replacements debacle Saturday night at Lawndale Art Annex (for those who missed the review, the Minneapolis band, known for their flippant attitude, came out drunk and aroused such negative audience vibes the police shut down the show in mid-set), we shoe-horned our way into Fitzgerald's for the second Fabulous Thunderbirds show. The same old groove, but inspired, due no doubt to an upcoming new album to be produced by Dave Edmunds. It was the largest Fitzgerald's crowd I've seen in years. People were being turned away as late as 1 a.m. If the club had had adequate bar help, it would've made a mint on drinks.

Also caught a glimpse of the new Caribana on Bellfort this week for Toots & The Maytals. The club is far superior to the old Caribana in the Rice Village. It's roomy, classy and the sight lines to the stage can't be beat. It's also a boon for live music on the southwest side.

CRITIC'S CHOICES: Teen oglers of teen idols will have to do without the first Houston concert appearance of Jack Wagner (AllI Need), the Frisco Jones character from General Hospital. Wagner is having to work his singing career around the taping of the daytime medical melodrama, and he decided the scheduling was just too tight to allow him to get to Houston for the concert originally set for Friday in the Music Hall. He was going to fly to Houston directly from the set. What TV giveth, TV taketh away.

But we do have the original Three Dog Night suddenly sprouting on the Rockfeller's calendar for Sunday, and the following: Dio, 8 p.m. Friday at the Summit: As in Ronnie James, big noise for metaloids.

Bobby Womack, 8 p.m. Saturday at the Arena Theater: A fresh start for Womack, touring on the successful ``So Many Rivers'' LP. The first Arena show in moons.

INXS, 7:30 p.m. Monday at Cullen Auditorium: Tough and tested rock band from Australia in a supreme bill with the Cruzados, hard-rocking Mexican band from East Los Angeles.

Three Beats Off, Saturday night at the Ale House: Good reports on this relatively new Houston group.

Townes Van Zandt, Friday and Saturday nights at Anderson Fair: Said to be, uh, moderating his ways, which means he should be charming. With old pal, Micky White.

Fab Motion, Friday night at Chelsea's 804 Club: Another promising new Houston band.

Lee Roy Parnell, Saturday night at Chelsea's 804: The ingredients are there - Texas rocker on a Saturday night in the ol' bar.

Trudy Lynn, after 9 p.m. Sunday at the Delhi Club: Houston lady belts the blues with sass and authority.

The Zealots, tonight at Fitzgerald's: ``Another'' Houston hotshot.

Moe Bandy, Saturday night at Gilley's: Without Joe, and in his element.

True Believers, Saturday night at Midtown Live: One of the critic's favorite Austin new-breed bands.

Son Seals, Friday night at Rockefeller's: Contemporary Chicago blues guitar.

Design For Living, Saturday night at Rockefeller's: Ezra Charles' latest and perhaps greatest.

POP NOTES: If you can tear yourself away from professional college football Saturday, or even if you can't, Misty's on Taft is throwing a live-music bash, certified by the Ooze Brothers, from 2 p.m.-2 a.m. Outdoors in the afternoon will be the Cruzomatics, Brave Nature (with former members of the Couch Kings and Noisy Neighbors) and Fab Motion. Later, the scene shifts inside for sets by the Footnotes, the Pack and Until December, the San Francisco trio which used to be based in Houston as first the Usuals and then Metrosensuous. Until December will then hang out and play Misty's Nov. 21 and the Ale House Nov. 23. . . The Action into Research of Multiple Sclerosis concert, which was scheduled monday, will be postponed until Dec. 8 at Cardi's. Performers include Ronnie Lane, co-founder of the old British group Small Faces and an MS victim, and Joe Ely. . . Heard about another blues club in the Fifth Ward, the Silver Slipper, at 3717 Crane. The Essential Blues Band and others will play there tonight. KUHF disc jockey Bud Jackson will host. . .

Those keeping up on the hip-haps in the entertainment industry are directed to a new syndicated radio show on KRBE, ``Hollywood Hotline'', at 8:10 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Reporter is James St. James, a 20-year vet of entertainment writing. Speaking of KRBE, a small plug for yours truly, guest on this week's ``Saturday Night Blues'' (8-10 p.m.) hosted by Catfish Crouch. . . Houston's Dishes, buoyed by a bumper beet harvest and the enthusiastic reception to Carl Schmal's relaxo-leisure wear line, are getting radio airplay on their ``Hot Diggety Dog!'' EP in Austin and Dallas, while their video of ``Beep Beep!'' is in rotation at local music channel TV 5. The corniest band in the world also is working up a video of ``Girls With Glasses'' and plan a full-length album for the first of the year.




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