About 15 to 20 years ago, pre-Alex and pre-Marcus, one of my favourite things to do was check out the live music scene in Houston. Back then, one of the most popular bands in town was a group called Beat Temple -- a rock-funk band that used to play in venues all over town, and were amazing enough to be invited to open for renowned groups whose tours found themselves here in the Space City. They were really incredibly fun, and for a while there, I would literally find out where they were playing each and every weekend to make sure I was in the audience. Naturally, since I was always around, I became friends with the members of the band, usually staying to listen to their entire set, and then often hanging out with them afterwards for 2 a.m. Mexican food at some hole-in-the-wall restaurant.
(Okay, fine: I believe the technical term for my role with the band is "groupie." Don't judge me.)
Anyway, as I said, I was friends with the band, and was even responsible for the love connection between one of my best friends, Trish, and their bass player, Carl. But as is often the case, the band split up, and the members went their separate ways -- members got respectable day jobs and settled down (even Trish and Carl married, became parents, and are, by this point, part of my extended family).
But one member, the lead singer, Ralz Mathias, continued to make music, and last week, I got an email from Trish letting me know that he was getting most of the Beat Temple band members back together to celebrate his new CD release at the dive-y-est of dive bars, Dan Electro's Guitar Bar. I'm not sure I finished reading the email before searching for a babysitter. Thee was no way I was going to miss it.
Ralz's new sound is really nothing like Beat Temple's -- where Beat Temple was rollicking, original funk/rock, Ralz is now more mellow R&B ballads -- think Curtis Mayfield meets D'Angelo meets Maxwell. His voice, a rich baritone, remains strong and pure, and Carl, Rick (keyboards) and Leland (guitar) are still gifted musicians -- and goodness did they have fun:
They played to a full house, and many of the people in attendance were also musicians and singers, folks who I knew well back in the day, and were all part of a sort of musical family. They were there to cheer Ralz on as well, and during the last song of the night, ended up jumping up on stage with him to help him out.
So by the end of the night, when Ralz pulled his sons up on the stage with him, I don't think he could've been prouder.