House Of Blues Grand Opening

The grand opening of the Houston House Of Blues was quite the event. They had the street blocked off to traffic as spotlights lit the Houston sky. The line of invited guests circled the block, waiting to get into the event.

the evening began with a performance by Wanda King which was followed by a choral peformance by a choir based out of New Orleans. Then Deb Eybers, president of The House Of Blues came out and toasted Houston as the latest member of the House Of Blues family.

The crowd was pretty worked up and ready when The Blues Brothers hit the stage. Jim Belushi did a fine job in his role and was not a distraction in the least.

The rest of my pictures from the evening are here.

Rubber Biscuit

Dan Aykroyd

Dan Aykroyd

View On Black

There’s a lot of buzz around Houston surrounding the opening of our very own House Of Blues. I was lucky enough to tag along with one of my music cohorts and photograph Dan Aykroyd who’s in town to promote the grand opening which will feature a performance by the Blues Brothers.

Say what you will about The Blues Brothers not being the original band due to the death of John Belushi, the show promises to be pretty spectacular. They’ve rounded up some of the most legendary musicians around and all expectations are that the show is to be one for the ages.

Sadly, the event is invite only. You can possibly score tickets through the Ticketmaster auction. Also, The Houston Press is giving away a few pairs.

The Dedringers

The Dedringers

The Dedringers

Saw a band called The Dedringers at Shoeshine Charley’s Big Top Lounge on Friday night. These guys are quite remarkable. Reminded me of a young Rolling Stones. Definitely worth checking out if you have the chance.

This is also a personal favorite in terms of my concert photography. The lighting in The Bigtop is challenging to say the least so a little more effort, even desire is needed to squeeze something usable out of the venue.

This shot embodies everything I love about this kind of photo op. Great (if relatively unknown) band in a small venue playing to a small but appreciative audience.

Good times!

Houston Press Music Awards 2008 – The Results

HPMA 2008

HPMA 2008

After receiving 2 e-mails and one phone call from the folks at The Houston Press that indicated they would REALLY like to see us at the award ceremony on Wednesday I had a strong suspicion that my band may have actually won this year.

At the risk of fatal disappointment, I asked my co-hosts on Technology Bytes to cover for me while I attended the award ceremony just to be on the safe side

There was a lot of buzz about The Tontons who were nominated for Best New Act. They even performed during one of the intermissions.

HPMA 2008

HPMA 2008

The Tontons did, in fact, win Best New Act

some of the other winners that evening:

Best Neo-Folk: Sideshow Tramps
Best Miscellaneous Instrument: Geoffrey Muller (Sideshow Tramps, Umbrella Man, Pistoleros de Tejas)

Medicine Show

Medicine Show

Best Bassist: Nick Gaitan (Umbrella Man, Billy Joe Shaver)

Nick Gaitan and Roberto Rodriguez

Nick Gaitan and Roberto Rodriguez

Best Punk: Los Skarnales
Best Rock en Espanol: Los Skarnales
Best Male Vocalist: Felipe Galvan (Los Skarnales)

Felipe and Los Skarnales

Felipe and Los Skarnales

And did I make the right choice abandoning my cohorts to attend the ceremony?

Jay Lee, Felipe Galvan and Mykel Foster

Jay Lee, Felipe Galvan and Mykel Foster

I can has Houston Press Music Award!

Unfortunately my bandmates could not attend the event so I celebrated for the five of us.

The complete winner’s list can be found here.

The rest of the pics are in the 2008 Houston Press Music Awards Gallery.

Basking In The Afterglow

Flying Fish Sailors/photo by Brigitte B. Zabak

Excerpt from HPMA Aftermath: Flying Fish Sailors, Umbrella Man, Wayside Drive, Born Liars, Poor Dumb Bastards and Young Mammals:


Folk music might be an acquired taste for some, but Flying Fish Sailors have found a way to bring that traditional sound to the masses, with lively melodies and clean, unencumbered harmonies. No subject is too small for the likable quintet, whose songs Sunday touched on themes ranging from death and war (“The Flu Pandemic”) to cats (“My Big Cat”).

The Sailors’ songwriting is very witty and smart; it’s not easy to write about things like mythical creatures and have it appeal widely to an adult audience. The band’s showcase performance drew a sizeable number of people, equal parts devoted fans and newcomers. The group’s commitment to its music really came through onstage, especially during “Loch Ness Monster.” The set was instantly contagious, and by the end, there wasn’t a non-smiling face in the crowd.

2008 Houston Press Music Awards

My band, The Flying Fish Sailors, has been nominated in the category “Best Traditional Folk Band” so please take time to go vote for us. You can find the ballot online at

We’ll be playing at the Awards showcase on July 27th from 4:00-4:45 pm at Dean’s Credit Clothing located at 316 Main St. in downtown Houston if you want to come see us play live.


Trish and Darin Murphy’s current musical project “Skyrocket” performed at the Houston Continental Club on Friday night to a packed house. The group is made up of a fantastic batch of Texas musicians and the performance is nothing less than spectacular.

Of course you must like 70’s and 80’s cover tunes because that’s what they play, and they play it remarkably well. Trish Murphy sang Heart’s “Crazy On You” in the first set and it was spot on. Other songs for the evening included “Rock and Roll All Night” by Kiss and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds just to give you an idea of the repertoire.

Their song list is available online here.

It’s an amazing show and I highly recommend checking them out if you have the chance.

Pics from the evening are here in the Skyrocket gallery.

Tom Waits Glitter And Doom – Houston

Tom Waits - Glitter And Doom

Tom Waits - Glitter and Doom

The Tom Waits show was literally fantastic. Not only the performance, but the cast of characters in attendance. I got to see many current friends as well as people I don’t tend to run into except every so often when an event like this rolls around.

I struggled with the idea of not bringing a camera and I knew that cameras were technically verboten but I really wanted to get some shots of this once in a lifetime show.

It’s been many many years since I smuggled a camera into a concert. The last time was at a Frank Zappa concert in 1984. I pondered tucking a camera as I could not imagine the staff of Jones Hall patting people down or scanning anyone with metal detecting wands. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do that so I opted to bring my Alpha 100 with the good old 50mm lens for a low profile shoulder bag “hope they don’t make me go back to the car” casual walk through the front door and what do you know? It worked. In hindsight I should have brought the new camera and bigger lens. Ah well, live and learn.

Once the show was underway point and shoot cameras as well as pocket video lit up the audience and the staff at Jone Hall did nothing to stop any of it so I snagged a few shots of my own.

The set list from the show:

Down in the Hole
Falling Down
Dead and Lovely
Lie to Me
Day After Tomorrow
Hoist that Rag
Get Behind the Mule
Cemetary Polka
Trampled Rose
Jesus Gonna Be Here
Lucky Day
Tom Traubert’s Blues
House Where Nobody Lives
Innocent when you dream
Make it Rain
Murder in the Red Barn
Come on up to the House
Dirt in the Ground
Eyeball Kid

Goin’ Out West
All the World is Green

For a recap of the show itself you can check out the story at The Houston Chronicle

Tom Waits - Glitter And Doom

Tom Waits - Glitter and Doom

The above two photos are my favorites of the evening. The rest are here in my gallery.