September 12th, 2011
Loopster Live: Sideshow Tramps’ The Revelator CD Release at Fitzgerald’s
Three hours before show time, we hit Fitzgerald’s getting in a few early, unfettered drinks and a longish “where were you when…” and “what’s the deal with…” conversation on the brick back patio of the venue. The Friday night CD release party for Sideshow Tramps‘ Revelator is the reason we were there, but unbeknownst to any of us, we were also there on an important societal/sociological mission as well.
“Where is the Houstonian pride?” That’s what my friend asked the rest of the group. Forgive him. He doesn’t know. He’s been removed from Houston for the last three years, toiling away in a New York City law firm. “Nobody seems to be proud to be from here,” he continues on. “I love this place. I’m coming back as soon as I can. I just don’t get it.” Neither Richard nor I – nor our better halves, for that matter – had an answer for the pointed question. Thankfully, the night’s entertainment answered it in full.
“You had to be there,” is inappropriately used to avoid conversation under most circumstances. The phrase serves a better purpose when it comes to Friday night. From the variety show put on by Kiki’s Sordid Sideshow (with members of Dem Damn Dames) as the opener to the surprise stage appearance from various Houston musical luminaries. Most of the night defied definition. A lot of “What the hell is going on… Oh, I don’t give a shit… This is awesome…” moments flowed through my head.
The set was filled with old hits for the most part. Not one person in the audience seemed to care at all. None of us were there to be wooed by a new song, we were there for the party. The Sideshow Tramps provided the atmosphere, the rest of us took on the hootin’, hollerin’ and hotdamnin’.
On occasion I’ve seen Fitzgerald’s more packed than it was for the Revelator release, but it was the crowds gleeful pride and whiskey-fulled energy that fills up a room more than any number of tickets sold. For three hours that bled into the early Saturday morning, the upstairs venue silenced my friend and gave him a little hope that Houston could carryover some pride into the national landscape. Maybe one of you Sideshow Tramps fans will run into him on Broadway and exclaim your love.
Random Note #1:
At some point during the night, I was wandering around trying to find the best possible vantage point for my camera when I saw a tally, straggly- quaffed gentleman on the outskirts of the crowd. I ended up sidling up next to him. The man definitely looked like one Hayes Carll. By the time I got close enough, and in an attempt to remain unassuming, I convinced myself that it wasn’t the musician — “Looks too young,” I said to myself.
Random Note #1A:
Obviously, I couldn’t have been more wrong (see photos above and below). He ended up sharing the stage with the Sideshow Tramps for two songs. So much for investigative journalism… At least I was able to pick out Asli Omar of The Tontons to redeem myself a little bit.
Richard’s Note #1:
I came away pretty damn impressed. After missing the Gong Show on so many occasions, it felt wrong to pass up last Friday’s The Revelator CD Release Party. I think, so often with the weekly shows and local music in general, it’s easy to push the, “they’ll be here a while” button and snooze on through Houston’s Music alarms. Course corrected.
Richard’s Notes #2 through #5:
-The burlesque show was a tad awkward for everyone in the room—I’m not sure if that was the intention. They’re new to the biz, give ‘em time. Burlesque and the Tramps makes a hel-of-a-lot of sense.
-The crowd that showed up, and they did, in droves, was as excited to be there as the band was.
-The Tramps celebrated ten years last Friday, I’ve listened to them for two. Shame on me.
-Finally hearing “Lady Vodka” was worth the $10 for admission.
Check out another 40 photos on our Flickr account. We had trouble paring down to the eight chosen for the article.