01/26/17 11:15am

WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL’S OUTDOOR SOUNDMAKING CAPPED UNTIL TRIAL IN MAY White Oak Music Hall Lawsuit Map, Near NorthsideThe judge judging the lawsuit filed by some Near Northside residents against White Oak Music Hall has issued another temporary injunction this week, this time limiting the venue to no more than 2 events on the venue’s outdoor Lawn area between now and May 15th, according to a document filed with the county clerk’s office. That means the Pixies show recently announced for April will still happen as planned (though the venue will have to pay for sound monitoring to prove they’re not passing city decibel limits, or cranking up the bass more than the order allows). Chris Gray writes that outdoor shows at the Raven Tower aren’t affected, as long as they comply with the volume and vibration metrics; a press release from the venue says all the indoor shows at both venues are still on as well. [Houston Press; previously on Swamplot] Image of map submitted in Theresa Cavin et al v. White Oak Events, LLC: Harris County District Clerk’s office

01/18/17 2:30pm

Spire Houston in former First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002

Spire Houston in former First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1720 Main St., Downtown, Houston, TX 77002Steeple-themed nightclub and Swampies also-ran Spire is now up and running in Downtown’s converted First Church of Christ, Scientist at 1720 Main St., following last winter’s covert purchase by the group running Clé bar. The remodeled Mod space officially opened last weekend and is currently advertising upcoming events on a marquee along Jefferson St., including a Playboy-sponsored pre-Super Bowl party (scheduled against the Taylor Swift concert at temporary 3-story nightclub Club Nomadic, among other goings-on).  Other upcoming Spire events include this weekend’s Waka Flocka Flame concert and the VS vs Fredericks Lingerie Contest scheduled for next Wednesday.

Some promotional photos from the club provide a few views of the former altar (above, with a view of the original for comparison), as well as the added balconies and new seating arrangement possibilities in the main sanctuary:


Downtown Conversions
12/20/16 12:30pm


Proposed Opera House, Rice University, Houston, 77005Rice University announced this week that the opera house it plans to build in the parking lot next to the Shepherd School of Music will, in fact, be designed by the classic-leaning architecture firm of Allan Greenberg — and formally released what appear to be a couple of the same renderings that Swamplot posted back in June, after a reader’s encounter with the above presentation materials on campus. Like the Baker Institute, the design looks to be covered over in classic-ish details more or less reminiscent of Rice’s older buildings; the towers on the south side of the opera house also roughly match the one on the Humanities building, which Greenberg also designed.


West Lot U-Turn
12/15/16 12:30pm


A lawsuit filed yesterday by a group of 9 residents of the area around White Oak Music Hall asks for both a temporary and permanent stop on the construction and permitting of the permanent outdoor stage planned for the venue, as well as its required entourage of new bathrooms. The suit also asks for a stop on all other amplified outdoor events at the complex (including those on the other smaller outdoor stages by bar-on-a-stick Raven Tower), and for damages related to noise nuisance issues — allegedly including sleep deprivation and bass-fueled vibrations strong enough to rattle windows and picture frames. (There’s also an affidavit from a schoolteacher in support of the plaintiffs’ contention that a neighborhood child diagnosed with a specific condition has been suffering panic attacks directly related to the noise.)

The map above of the area around Little White Oak Bayou‘s I-45 crossunder was included with the group’s filing. The map shows the 2-part venue’s stages in red and Raven Tower in its signature blue, along with some quarter-mile radius circles drawn over the sea of orange residential land; pink is for parking lots, and yellow shows the venue’s Lawn area.


Stage Fight
11/30/16 11:00am

Rendering of Club Nomadic at 2121 Edwards St., First Ward, Houston, 77007

A 62,500-sq.-ft. structure going by the name Club Nomadic is now being put in place in the empty lot next to the Shops at Sawyer Yards, for 3 days of concert use during the week leading up to the Super Bowl. As for what happens to the site after the planned Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift shows wrap up: Permits for foundation and site work at the Edwards St. address issued earlier this month refer to the building as temporary, and Corey Garcia says the building will be packed up and taken elsewhere at the end of the short Houston run. The folks at Connecticut-based Nomadic Entertainment plan to set the building up at a series of future events elsewhere — but the Super Bowl lead-up week will be the club’s first gig.

Renderings released yesterday by Nomadic show 3 tiers of stage-gawking space:


Swift Setup in Sixth Ward
10/28/16 10:15am

WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL TRUCE: REBUILD TEMPORARY STAGE TEMPORARILY, GO PERMANENT IN FEBRUARY Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009The city and the developers of White Oak Music Hall have hammered out an agreement over the outdoor stage situation, reports Erin Mulvaney: the temporary stage can come back up for the shows that have already been booked, and stay up through February. Then the freshly-permitted permanent stage will start going up — and a bunch of other conditions will have to be met, as detailed in a letter from the city to W2 partner Will Garwood on Wednesday. On the list: the construction of “38 bathrooms and 9 lavatories” (also permanent), and the use of a sound monitor at all outdoor events, which (other than next Wednesday’s planned outdoor Pet Shop Boys concert) will have to be on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of original outdoor stage plans: White Oak Music Hall

08/19/16 2:45pm

WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL READY FOR FULL OPENING, NOISE CITATION HEARING Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009This week marks the official opening of White Oak Music Hall’s 2 indoor stages, writes Erin Mulvaney. Construction on the permanent concert spaces has wrapped next to the temporary-but-indefinitely-employed outdoor stage where the venue has been holding concerts since April. Per Jennifer Ostlind of the Houston Planning Department, all required parking for the venue is in place, though Mulvaney notes that “the temporary stage, which the partners plan to use in perpetuity for roughly 30 shows a year, did not require a permit or parking to accommodate the crowds.” Mulvaney also writes that the developers are getting ready for a September hearing on the noise ordinance citation the venue received in May; a study by hired sound scrutinizers on the night of the citation reportedly shows that sound at the venue didn’t pass 75 decibels. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of White Oak Music Hall complex: Shau

07/25/16 5:15pm

FREE PRESS HOUSTON TO SHIP DAY FOR NIGHT TO THE FORMER DOWNTOWN POST OFFICE Barbara Jordan Post Office, 401 Franklin St., Downtown Houston The former Barbara Jordan Post Office at 401 Franklin St. will be the new host of Free Press Houston’s Day for Night music festival, Matthew Ramirez reports today. The 16-acre campus (including anything left of its train station ruins) sits on the north bank of Buffalo Bayou (across from Sesquicentennial Park and east of the University of Houston Downtown). The property was bought last year by an entity connected to Lovett Commercial; by mid-December the site will have to be ready to hold 3 music stages and the festival’s associated experimental art installations. [PaperCity; previously on Swamplot] Photo of former post office at 401 Franklin: CRBE

05/09/16 12:30pm

RAVEN TOWER’S TOWER TEMPORARILY CLOSED, BUT THE SHOWS WILL GO ON Raven Tower Bar, 301 North St., Northside, Houston, 77009The blue bar-on-a-stick at the northwest corner of the White Oak Music Hall complex temporarily shut down last week so W2 Development Partners can add more railings and make the space more physically accessible. The elevated 1970s former bachelor pad reopened as a bar and rooftop patio in January, 3 months before the first show on the semi-temporary main stage next door; a set of concrete stairs wrap around the elevator shaft leading up to the main space.  The non-tower sections of the Raven Tower venue, including the downstairs bar and the outdoor patio and performance space, are scheduled to stay open and host concerts as planned. Across the parking lot, White Oak Music Hall has another lawn concert scheduled for tomorrow night. [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Photo of Raven Tower: Swamplot inbox

04/13/16 3:00pm

THE SHAKEUP AROUND WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL’S OUTDOOR STAGE Rendering of White Oak Music Hall, 2915 N. Main, Houston, 77009The permanent outdoor concert stage suggested by renderings of N. Main St.’s newest music venue, Erin Mulvaney writes this week, wasn’t included in the building permits approved for the venue; for now, it appears that the blue-roofed temporary stage used for the music hall’s first concert this past weekend will be covering the outdoor gig indefinitely. Meanwhile, Houston police documented at least 17 noise complaint calls from the immediate area on Saturday night, and 1 during the leadup week; multiple residents near the spot tell Mulvaney that their homes were vibrating to the music of French electronica group M83. Area resident Kerry Whitehead remarks to Swamplot on her observations from her home nearby: “I recently read a quote in a 1983 Texas Monthly article about our stretch of Main Street . . .  seeing I-45 in proximity to Hollywood Cemetery (an ‘old, lush place’ then, as it is now), the author remarked that he imagined ‘the bones of the nineteenth-century dead rattling in resonance with the vibrations from the freeway.’ Well, if those bones resting in peace hadn’t been rattled yet, they were rattled on Saturday night — as was I.” [Houston Chronicle; previously on Swamplot] Rendering of White Oak Music Hall complex: White Oak Music Hall

04/11/16 5:00pm

Raven Tower Bar, 301 North St., Northside, Houston, 77009

Raven Tower Bar, 301 North St., Northside, Houston, 77009

The bluest bar-on-a-stick in town gives a 360-degree overview of the area around White Oak Music Hall, which held its first concert Saturday on a temporary stage next to the still-under-construction main building. Renderings released last year for the concert complex, next to the already-in-action Raven Tower at the crossing of I-45 and Little White Oak Bayou (above), showed plans for 2 indoor stages and a 3rd outdoor pavilion, with a 3,000-person events lawn between. Developer Will Garwood told the Houston Chronicle last week that while he would still like to add a permanent stage someday, the temporary stage would be getting reused in the meanwhile — possibly requiring special event permits (like the one issued for Saturday’s concert) multiple times each month.

Here’s what the scene looked like on Wednesday evening, as crews continued working past sundown to get everything in line for the weekend:


Hatching in Near Northside
03/23/16 5:15pm

Biskit Junkie at former Mango's spot, Taft at Westheimer Rd., Avondale, Houston, 77006

Up top is a fresh snap of the former home of veggie-friendly-cafe-turned-music-club Mango’s, where Biskit Junkie’s new not-quite-I.P.A.-standard signage is in place over the now-grey entryway. The all-biscuit restaurant, from the starch-centric folks who started Jus’ Mac, closed its Oak Forest location at 2925 W. TC Jester in mid-December to focus on what was then revealed to be a move to the corner of Westheimer Rd. and Taft St., rather than the opening of a second location as previously announced.

The building’s current flat grey exterior hides all traces of Mango’s full technicolor exit at the end of 2014, shown below:


Spelling It Out
02/05/16 11:30am

Fitzgerald's, 2705 White Oak Dr, Heights, Houston, TX 77007

Trashed interior of Fitzgerald's, 2705 White Oak Dr, Heights, Houston, TX 77007

Cleanup and updates are planned over the next month for Fitzgerald’s, as owner Sara Fitzgerald returns to management following the previous operator’s recent eviction. Fitzgerald told the Houston Press that the venue at the corner of White Oak Dr. and Studemont St. will be redoing its back patio with an eye to making it food-truck-friendly, as well as painting and cleaning the space. Fitzgerald also says the venue will have to get its liquor license reinstated, and that the bar might have to “give something away” during shows they hold in the interim; the venue will likely not fully book until the cleanup and changes are complete.

The venue’s newest former management team left the space earlier this week, kicking up a cloud of photos purportedly documenting the satanic-graffiti-and-toilet-paper-heavy aftermath of a farewell gathering of the former tenants the night before their planned exit date.  The termination of the tenants’ relationship related at least in part to a rent disagreement: Freshly-ex-GM Josh Merritt told the Houston Press that the rent rates being charged were unfair given the building’s condition, while Sara Fitzgerald maintained that the rent was merely unpaid. Merritt emphasized that the former tenants wouldn’t have done anything to the building that would jeopardize their $50,000 security deposit.


Party Like a Rock Star
01/27/16 3:45pm

Tin Hall Sign at 16614 Spring Cypress Rd., Cypress, TX 77429

Cypress’s Tin Hall has found a new place to set up shop, according to an announcement posted to the venue’s Facebook page this morning. The 127-year-old dance hall will move its operations and its building to a spot at 16614 Spring Cypress Rd., just over 2 miles from its long-time location off Huffmeister Rd. to the east. The new property is across the street from the Cypress post office, next to Cypress Woods High School.

The venue writes that an auction, to be held this Friday at noon, will help finance the move and the building’s preservation. Tin Hall posted a subject-to-change list of the items up for grabs, including most of its interior decor and equipment, 5 “vintage” urinal troughs, and “all taxidermy, including the buffalo.” (The building, included on the posted flier, is not for sale.)


Dancing On in Cypress
12/03/15 10:45am

Tin Hall Dancehall, 14800 Tin Hall Rd, Cypress, 77429

Cypress may be losing a piece of its history: 126-year-old Tin Hall, Harris County’s oldest and largest country dancehall (and perennial first listing among area attractions on the Cypress community’s Wikipedia page). The venue is slated to close its doors on New Year’s Day.

The 24,000-sq.-ft. facility sports a 4,400-sq.-ft. dance floor on the second story, and sits on 40 ac. of wooded land surrounded by suburbs on two sides and the Longwood Golf Club on another. The property was sold last December to an entity that shares a Woodway address with McGuyer Homebuilders.

A New Year’s Eve bash is billed as Tin Hall’s last public gathering — at least in its current locale. A spokesperson for the dancehall said on Facebook that they hope the hall can be moved in pieces and rebuilt:


Dancehall Blues