SOMOGYI at Andys in Denton, Texas 07/22/2022
Denton is full of musicians and places to play. Andy’s is a great place to play. Good stage lighting and an adequate ( but not overwhelming ) sound system ). The club is three stories, with a basement lounge ( the Paschall ), a showroom on the ground floor, and a full bar on the third floor. Parking is generally easy and free. Denton is a college town and has a safe feeling ( even very late ) that is not present in Dallas’s Deep Ellum. The night I was there I saw three acts, one called Somogyi . It was composed of a lady singer with a guitar (Ashley Symogyi), a lead guitar, bass, keyboard, and drums. The music was all original and not bad. I would call their music “alternative ” rock. I don’t think I heard a future hit, but these folks could do it. With good material, they could go far; most of the vocal was that of the Ms. Somogyi. A good backing vocal would add a lot. The general musicianship was young and needs a little polish, but it will come with time. Unfortunately, the group used what I call a rolling start which is not good for audience attention or stage presence. I admire original musicians for their dedication to achieving their end, whether it is stardom or just adding to the American music scene. Keep an eye on Somogyi.
122 N. Locust, Denton TX
BY WAY at Andy’s in Denton, Texas July 22, 2022
During a recent Friday night stop at Andy’s on Denton’s city square, I caught a local group called BY WAY /female singer/guitarist, lead guitarist, bass, keyboard, and drums. The lady was the principal singer and the music was all original. Now, I may not like all original bands, but I do admire their dedication to creating new music. I would classify this group as “indie rock”, young and working hard. I understand the constraints of small clubs, but since working in DFW I have noticed a distracting trend among almost every band I see. I call it the “rolling start”. The band members first bring all their equipment to the stage and then proceed to tune, retune, and sound test and generally waste the audience’s time for about 15 minutes. They almost never announce their name or give any indication when their performance actually begins. I’m not picking on this or any other particular band as almost all do it. I’m old, but I’ve been around, and I can assure you that a good stage presence is part of any successful act. Do your sound check before the show, or get a sound tech who knows how to get the sound you want. A good one is worth as much as any musician in the band. Get the tuning done backstage and go on stage ready to play. Then introduce yourselves, tell the name of your opening number and get to it. Make eye contact with the audience and play to them. These simple moves will significantly improve your performance every time. The band ( By Way) played all original material and show some signs of talent and enthusiasm. The lady singer was a rather good guitarist. The keyboardist added little, at least to the material I heard and a good backup singer would add a lot. These folks are young and truly driven by a desire to play music, if you get a chance, go see them.
122 North Locust Denton, TX
BLUE CAPRICORN at Andy’s in Denton Texas July 22, 2022
On a very hot evening, I decided to get out of Dallas and head to Denton. Denton’s daytime temperature is about the same as Dallas's in the summer, but it is significantly cooler at night. I stopped off at the town square at Andy’s. An odd sort of place with three stories. The Paschall Lounge is a great gathering place for friends in the basement. Above the Paschall Lounge is a stage and an open floor on the ground floor. There is a full bar on the third floor. I saw three acts that evening, including “Blue Capricorn” (Rodrigo Caraballo-Marin). Not exactly what I’d expect, Blue Capricorn is a one-man show with occasional accompaniment by the various players; this particular night, a tenor saxophonist. The Capricorn ( Rodrigo ) plays an electric keyboard, a single electronic (snare) drum, and sings. The sax player performed on about half his songs. This player and his compositions are not going to appeal to everyone and, to a large extent, is suggestive of “performance art “rather than a strictly musical act. The music is free form, the melodies are ill-defined. It is interesting and gives me the impression of a work in progress. If I were to criticize, I would say the music fails to lead the listener anywhere, rather like progressive jazz. I’m certainly no expert, but I think Blue Capricorn is interesting and seeking a statement. It’s a hard road for acts like Blue Capricorn, but with persistence and experimentation, some succeed quite well. I would not be surprised if, in time, Blue Capricorn gains a following. Contact/Booking: Caraballo.Rodrigo@Yahoo.com
Andy’s 122 North Locust, Denton
The Double Wide has been tough for me. I’ve been there twice before; once when the band didn’t show and once just as the band ended. Figuring out the third time will be the charm, I go down there again. The Double Wide is where Canton and Exposition streets come together, and there is usually free parking within a block or so. It is a ramshackle building with a bus-shaped bar, a patio, an entrance, a socializing area, and a performance room accommodating about 150 people (give or take a few). I arrived just in time for Mimmo Morreale and his “friends,” whose names escaped me but consisted of a lap steel player, a female backing vocalist, and a drummer who supplied very creative percussion with his right hand and played some manner of an electronic instrument with his left. He also sang back-up to some songs. There was no bass. Mimo, himself sang most of the songs (originals) and played an amplified standard guitar. The group had an excellent stage presence that showcased their talents. Mimo’s songs reflect his life experiences, and the performance was flawless. The players (his “friends”) added flavor to the Americana / folk music (my term). They are entertaining and well-rehearsed. If you get a chance to see them, you’ll not be disappointed.
July usually brings out the worst in me, primarily due to the heat, and I’m not crazy about driving. However, a friend tells me there is a band to perform in Arlington, featuring various stunts, including a guy willing to have meat hooks pierce his back and be hoisted into the air by said hooks all while playing guitar. Well, I would certainly be remiss to skip this one, so off I go.
The Maverick in Arlington is not associated with similarly named franchised clubs in Dallas and Lewisville. It is on Main Street in Arlington, but the Main street is a stop and jump a few blocks road affair, difficult to follow and dotted with railroad spurs and warehouses. Nonetheless, I found it and at least the parking was free. The club has the usual concrete floor and a full bar. It’s large enough to hold about three hundred people. There is an elevated stage and house sound system. I met the band prior to their performance. These were Mike Sanders ( bass guitar ), Robert Rubio ( guitar and back hooks ), James Walpole ( drums ), Kane Williams ( singer, growler ), Bell Nolber ( clown ), Microphone Killer ( rapper ), and a number of scantily clad ladies including Toshi, Serenity, Lacresha, Nancy, and Mary. There was also a man in a black Mexican cowboy suit and hat who neither played an instrument nor sang. They took to the stage and began what some would describe as “Death Metal”. The bass was a bit too much and the drums were hard to hear. As it turns out, there were to be no meat hooks ( I’m told the venue ceiling would not support the weight ). Then the clowns and girls appeared, tossing towels and some sort of homemade cigarettes toward the audience. Honestly, I don’t know what to call the performance. However, it was either Death Metal with extras or performance art.
Well, it’s June and hot. I think it’s time to get my Tejano fix. I head out to New West, the best place I know where is plenty of cold beer, cold air, and great Tejano bands. The management ( Mr. Robert Hildalgo ) and I get along, so I drag all my gear up to New West at about 8 PM. There is a line of folks at the door into the parking lot. Apparently, a lot of people had the same idea. The band starts at 9 PM - Ramiro (“Ram”) and the Outlaw Band. Ram and his six-piece band are the real deal, having been nominated twice for a Grammy and in 1999 Ram was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Tejano Music Awards. The music and each of the musicians were energetic, versatile, and just plain good. The crowd loved them. Many gathered at the front of the stage while others danced. Ram and the band played for almost two solid hours. Tejano and a few straight country songs. In short, I had a great time, saw a great band, and enjoyed the fellowship of patrons who enjoyed the evening as much ( if not more ) as I. Dallas is really fortunate to have a venue that hosts the best in Tejano music.
The ISIS Theatre, located in the Stockyards area of Ft Worth is 108 years old this year. Built in 1914 it burned in 1935 and then suffered extensive flood damage again in 1942. Throughout those years it remained in operation but closed finally in 1988. It was in awful condition when, in 1998 it was purchased by Dr. Jeffrey and his wife Debbie Smith, who undertook a long and expensive renovation opening in 2017 as one of the finest entertainment venues in Fort Worth. It currently hosts live musical events several times per month and daily shows classic movies at bargain prices. The main theatre seats 400 persons in roomy period-type wooden fold-up seats. There is a lounge and bar upstairs for those whose tastes run in that direction. There is even an elevator to make the transition from venue seating to lounge easier. The interior of the theatre, the lighting, and the sound system are first-rate. The management is cordial and dedicated to making the ISIS experience a “can’t miss” part of the Cowtown stock yard experience. The theatre is at 2401 North Main Street about one block from the heart of the Chisholm Trail Stockyard on Exchange Street, the longhorn cattle drive, the White Elephant Saloon, and the rodeo and convention center. If you live in North Texas or just visiting, a trip to the stockyards and the ISIS theatre is one of those memorable life events. There are very few places as much fun with as much history.
Isis Theatre, Technical director: Ms Kathryn Fullbright 2401 North Main Ft Worth, Texas 76169 (818) 808 6390
LORENA LEIGH live at the ISIS on June 9, 2022
Being a dedicated old-school rock and roll fan, I came across Lorena Leigh quite by accident. Trade papers describe her as a former New York City dancer, singer, and acrobat. Over the past 2 years, she returned to Texas and performs in a one-woman show. It’s not so much country music as it is stories set to lyrics and sang by a Texas girl. She describes herself as the “cowgirl-mermaid” as a reference to her love of water and also to her 2019 album release “Water Therapy”. She draws about 800 followers per day on Spotify and has a couple of videos on www.Youtube.com. Certainly, the term “up and comer” would be a little late. She has paid her dues and has arrived. When I learned she would be doing her show at the ISIS theatre, I knew I had to go and try for some video. I emailed her and received a gracious invitation to attend and try for a decent video. I was met with open arms and introduced to her band and the management staff. I was given a very good place from which to record. Her accompanists were: Dylan Welch ( guitar ), Chill Hill ( drums ), and Ryan Bradebich ( double bass ). Ms. Leigh herself plays an electric ukulele. The electronic sound board was managed by Mark Odel.
Over the years Poor David’s Pub has hosted numerous musical celebrities, recording releases, and celebrations of Texas music and writers. Currently in its third location since opening in the mid-70’; on the Botham Jean extension of Lamar street and across the street from the main Dallas Police Station in the Cedars section of old downtown Dallas. The club is roomy, clean with seating for roughly one hundred persons, perhaps a bit more. There is a full-service bar and friendly bartenders.
Of course, Poor David’s real attraction is the line-up of quality musicians that perform there, which brings me to Mike Freiley and the Lava Bomb Band. Mike says they are “the best band in town that no one has ever heard of”. I’m forced to agree. However, Mike Freiley and his group have been around for several years and have appeared at Poor David’s more than once. He was a runner-up in the B.W. Stevenson Music Writers’ competition held yearly at Poor David’s. Mike writes his own songs and only occasionally plays something by another writer. His songs are what I would call Texas or southern rock.
His songs are good, and ( I believe ) some deserve to be recorded and published. The musicians include Mike Freiley ( guitar and vocals ), Michal Giriland ( lead guitar ), William Boyette ( Bass guitar ), and the newest member, Loren Thomas (drums ). The band works well as a musical unit and has an appealing stage presence. These guys are good and all business. Now, at least I and you have heard of this group, and I will make it a point to see them again.
May 22, 2022
Sunday morning and I had a craving for blues music, and motorcycles. Well, that was easy; have to go to Strokers. I’d not been there for about a year and I heard the call. On this day, the Texas Blues Machine with Leo Hull was playing. (Leo Hull, Guitar and vocals, Danny Sanchez guitar, Dave Stammer Bass, Todd Kennedy drums, and Thomas Conley on
The Sunday crowd was moderate size for a place this large, but always well behaved. I took my time and wandered about essentially to try to show the enormity of the place. I would estimate that with the open-air entertainment area, the stage, the retail store, and the ice house, the place covers a square city block. The band, the food, and the cycles were exceptional. This is truly a place that has to be seen firsthand in order to get the full experience. If you live in the DFW area go next weekend. If you are visiting, don’t leave without dropping by this one-of-a-kind bar, bike, and music palace. You’ll be glad you did.
We feel generally at home at the Free Man on Commerce street. Cajun food, Libations, and multiple bands each week. Many of these bands reflect the Blues-Cajun-New Orleans nexus. I was there on May 1 for the Saturday brunch; mudbugs and the Jack Allday Band. I’ve seen the band before and have had the pleasure of knowing Jack for a few years. These guys perform what they call “BE” ( before Elvis ) music. These are essentially big band songs performed by a small group. This is an extraordinary band in that each musician is a real master of his instrument. Even if "BE" big band songs are not your cup of tea, any music enthusiast needs to see what a really talented small group can do. On this particular Saturday, singer Emiley Rowley performed two songs ( I’ve Got You Under My Skin, and Route Sixty-six )
Let’s be honest. This is Texas and Texas is full of blues guitar artists, many with national prominence. I go back as far as Freddie King and the early days of Jimmy Vaughn. So, when I got an assignment to video and review, King Solomon Hicks, I wasn’t too excited. He was appearing at Sundown at the Granada, a club I like. I caught Mr. Hicks at the beginning of his show, a trio consisting of Hicks ( guitar and vocals ), Kirk Yano ( bass ), and Neal O'Brien ( drums ). “Impressed” is not a good adjective to describe Hicks and his trio. Wow is much closer to the experience. This was a polished show from well-experienced players of the type that don’t come along each day. The stage was dominated by Solomon who radiated joy in his music. His vocals were excellent and his guitar work ( using a Benedetto custom guitar ) was musical and perfect for each song. There was none of the shredding or scrubbing often heard from lesser players. The show was smooth as silk, with no excessive tuning or discussions on stage. Many of the songs were original, a few were Solomon’s interpretation of others. Some writers have referred to Solomon as “up and coming”. I say he has arrived but is still relatively new to the blues scene. I expect Solomon Hicks to become a real star in blues, if not blues and jazz. I advise he be seen at your earliest opportunity. Solomon has recently released his latest album: “Harlem”. Other albums include Embryonic ( Cotton Club, 2010 ), Carrying on the Torch of the Blues ( 2016 ), and Alive and Electrified ( the Iridium, New York 2018 ). Info and booking: www.Kirkyano@AOL.com