Aug 3, 2010

Landmark Houston Music Venue Changes Hands

-FUPPETS- had many fond memories of making the drive to Fitzgerald's, in the Heights area of Houston TX, to go catch shows, both upstairs in the big room and downstairs at Zelda's. Fitzgerald's has been running for 33 years and is known in local lore as the first spot REM played in when they first toured for the Murmur album way back in the day.
Over the last few years, the decaying structure, the overworked and outdated sound system, and the proliferation of other venues have made Fitzgerald's focus mainly on the High School heavy metal band crowd. The time is ripe for a change. Omar Afra, the bad motherfucker/managing editor behind the Free Press Houston, the now-defunct Westheimer Block Party, local veggie restaurant and nighttime concert venue Mango's Cafe, and the ever-more-popular Free Press Summer Fest concerts, has teamed up with Jagi Katial (of Pegstar Concerts) to purchase, renovate, and re-imagine what Fitzgerald's can be for Houston.
-FUPPETS- is very excited.

Here is a short Q&A with Mr. Afra done by the Houston Chronicle Blogs.

Why was this something you felt you wanted to undertake (alongside so many other things on your current to-do list)?

Besides wanting to honor the fabled tradition of Fitz, Jagi and I decided it was high time for a good, medium-size venue -- right about the time we turned away 200 people to the Local Natives show (at Mango's in April). We want to do bigger, better things and reinvigorate the local scene.

Can you go into a few of the changes you'll be making once it reopens?

Booking will completely change. Bigger, better, cutting-edge acts alongside great locals is the focus. Sound system will change.

What about some of the "aesthetic changes?"

The aesthetic changes are very similar to putting lipstick on a pig. A little bit of paint and a whole lot of antiseptic.

Give me something, anything on the "grand reopening" event. Something juicy.

Grand opening will be free. That is all I can say.

Is there anything Fitz has done in the past that you definitely will NOT be doing?

No more pay for play. No more bands that end with 'osis'.

Ideally, what would you like to see the new Fitz become?

I envision Fitz being a cornerstone of the music scene that not only showcases great national and local music but pushes locals to aspire to bigger things.

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