Christian van hemert

This year at Houston Music

Exactly a year ago, everyone was rubbing their eyes blurry and hoping to say goodbye to the year most commonly known as a dumpster fire. At the start of 2021, things looked promising as more people were getting vaccinated and the number of COVID cases declined.

Live music around town quickly saw the benefits of declining cases as a sense of normalcy returned to clubs large and small around town. Personally, I haven’t felt comfortable going to indoor shows all year round, although I’ve been to a few. I look forward to the day when I can do that and hug my friends while enjoying great music without the fear of bringing the virus home.

The few shows I saw this year were amazing and I always felt grateful to be there. Seeing friendly faces, even those with masks, was a real sense of relief and joy. By far the most welcoming environment was the Continental Club’s outdoor stage where the fresh air and cold vibes always conquered all fears.

Seeing the rockers of the Flamin ‘Hellcats’ hometown burn down there was a beautiful reminder of the huge and talented bands in our city who made Houston their home. Spending the day at Luba Dvorak’s Brooklyn Twang Festival was another great reminder of all the music in our city and the bridges created with other communities through their talents.

Something that has held up throughout the pandemic is our city’s vibrant creative community and our concert hall’s abilities to keep up with the hits and adapt to keep the show going.

Whether it is places like Wonky Power or Mucky Duck which have constantly found ways to stream live performances live for those who wish to stay at home or the Heights Theater and Continental Club which have adapted their usual facilities to increase the safety of their employees and customers, the spirit of perseverance and respect is strong.

In a time when cases were on the rise, kind of like now, it is sad to think that live shows can be interrupted again, but in times like this we can still proudly watch the amazing albums that the Houston artists have come out.

Bands like Cactus Flowers and Velveteen Echo have succeeded with their moody, melodic and grungy albums. Dende continued to lead the way to stardom with two outings this year, including his latest outing Pregnancy Pack.

Say girl say Let go of my hair and that of Katie Rushing sparrow are two albums that I have turned to over and over again for the important and timely reminder to slow down and be true and kind to yourself and ultimately to each other during this (yet another) difficult year .

Watching national music coverage, there were three big names from Houston who have made headlines on multiple occasions; Megan Thee Stallion, Tobe Nwigne and Khruangbin. All of these acts shine a light on Houston and represent the diversity of our city.

A strange positive side effect of the pandemic is that it has allowed the city’s musical coverage and headlining groups to be largely local, as national acts are just not there to be competitive.

It was a huge source of pride to see a whole lineup of Houston performing over a full weekend at the Miller Theater’s Summer Mixtape series, which was only really possible due to bigger performances that were canceled during COVID. Hopefully the success of this weekend will allow the event to continue for years to come, pandemic or not, so that Houston can celebrate its thriving and diverse music scene.

Considering we’re ending the year with shows already canceled due to the increase in cases and the Omicron variant and an unfortunate sense of déjà vu, it’s hard to know what to expect for the next year. People seem to be tired of the virus, although, as officials repeatedly warn the public, the virus never tires of us.

Businesses and artists need to find ways to survive and all we can do is hope for the best and try to make wise choices for ourselves and our families while continuing to support venues and organizations. musicians in our city when we can and to support city legislation that provides assistance to those in need.

Whether people decide to go out or not, they can always try to make the best choice and they can always find some great local music to support. Because in Houston, we have talent.


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