Monday, September 22, 2008

Amos Lee says, "Listen Up Houston!"

And I completely agree with him!

Last night's show at Meridian was...well...there aren't words for it. Amos Lee is truly an amazing musician. Last year I saw him at ACL and it was one of my best experiences of the weekend. Me and my fest crew were exhausted from the heat, so we found a shady spot under the trees, layed down on the grass and watched Amos from afar. We sang along and tapped our feet...and although it was perfect for a Sunday in the park, it was NOTHING compared to what I experienced last night.

Before I go into detail about the show, here's my rant. It never fails that every concert that I seem to go to in Houston (at a small venue), I'm next to the obnoxiously drunk idiots who want to talk loud while the artist is performing. If you want to do this, stick to the shows in the Woodlands, Toyota Center and Reliant. The musicians that pick the smaller venues are passionate about their music, and so are their TRUE's very disrespectful. During one of Amos' songs, he started jamming and freestyling a bit...then he said something along the lines of: I know you probably have something important to say but so do I...and how we had been cooped up inside without power so he understood the rowdiness but to listen! Awesome! Way to go Amos!!!! Seriously though, I wanted to have these people escorted...

Enough negative energy...I'm speechless about the show. He played all of his, old, covers...and it seemed every time we would say, "What's left?", he would hit us with another one of his musical masterpieces. I think he was reading Mandy's mind because right after she said, "I really want to hear 'Arms of a Woman' and 'Shout Out Loud'!!", he played them consecutively. He mentioned that he wrote the former ballad when he was 19 years old! That just makes it even sexier!

Speaking of sexy...the man played some serious baby-makin tunes last night. Nothing like what I had heard at ACL. Apparently he likes to "get down" for the late night song damn near made me blush!! The guy who opened, Mutlu, was surprisingly entertaining. He looks like a hippy, but sounds like Stevie Wonder or Michael McDonald! The last song of his opening set was "My Cherie Amore"...and it was a quality cover. For Amos' finale, he brought Mutlu on stage to sing some funky cover about caramel and gettin' it on...yep, speechless.

After the show, I got to meet him and he was so humble and truly grateful for the support. I had him sign his very first album...what a great night!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ike Ike Baby

Last week Houstonians and everyone else along the coast watched the approach of Ike and his cones of uncertainty. The path shifted from Houston, to Brownsville, and slowly creeped back towards the northern Texas Coast by Thursday. We all left work early to start stocking up on things, hoping that it was all for not. The hardcore Texans kept saying that we were overreacting and it wouldn't be more than a 'gust of wind' by the time it hit.

Thursday night everyone went out because of the day off of work on Friday...bars were packed and I even went to see Delta Spirit and Dr. Dog at Walter's on Washington, which was a terrific show. When they sang, "The Ark", it was especially eerie because we all knew what was coming. There was a glimpse of hope before I went to bed that night showing Ike as a Cat One at landfall...but four hours later while I was getting ready for my 12 mile run, Ike was forecasted back to a Cat 2 and maybe a 3.

Friday we gathered at Francis' for a hurricane party and to watch the feeder bands roll in. Water was rising in New Orleans and the power was out at my parents' home they had to evac to downtown NOLA for some comfort. Francis and crew cooked up an amazing pre-hurricane meal...since we knew that we would be out of power for a while...complete with champagne, champagne of beers (High Life...that is), wine, pizza, duck, fried rice, guacamole, and an "Ike" was like a high-falootin' buffet! After the feast, I headed back to my place to get ready to 'hunker down'.

Speaking of 'hunkering'...I decided that it would be a good idea if every time someone said "hunker down" to drink. After champagne and hurricanes...and LOTS of mentioning of the h-word...I apparently passed out on my sofa around midnight. I woke up at 3am (on my sofa and wondering "WTF?") to loud whistling coming from the windows and front door....and no power, or water. I stayed up to watch the 100+mph winds blow through Houston...and I realized that I had never been through the eye of a storm before and that I would NEVER do it again.

The next day, once the wind had ceased around noon, the Daily Grind opened for business. Unbelievable! They were running off of a generator, providing hot coffee, good comfort food, and television to the weather weary. We ordered a couple of coffees and plates of whatever the chef decided to whip up, while chatting with others about the force of the winds and damage they had seen. It was so comforting...thank you Daily Grind, you saved my life :)

Dinner for the next couple of days consisted of grilled sandwiches, soup and Veuve champagne. I had been saving the bottle for about a year for a special occasion...this definitely was it!

Eventually Onion Creek opened back up, Memorial Park cleared the downed trees (which is pretty sad by the way) and I was able to go for a run, my power came back on, the bayous overflowed and receded, and now we are all trying to return to our blissful state of normalcy. Many friends are still without power and it is always amazing to see how people step up to take care of their loved ones in times like these. It shows that in the midst of chaos, there is a silver lining. Every report I have received from friends and family have been positive...minor damage, no power...but everyone is safe and has a home to return to. Thank goodness!

Other things to make you smile: Interstate traffic is non-existent for the time being, hot coffee and cold drinks, being forced to do nothing for a couple of days and slow down enough to spend time with friends, talking to random strangers about the storm and giving words of support, this beautiful weather that we have been seeing since Sunday...

Things will be back to normal before we know it! Until then, let me know if you need anything...

Here are some helpful post-Ike links:

Places that are open:

Important phone numbers:

Gas Stations (stay patient and keep your cool...we are all going through the same thing):