Satellite Houston: Your Friendly, Neighborhood Dive

Josh Cobb

The most iconic venues, the CBGBs and Bowery Ballrooms of the world that came to be legends, created their legacies by providing a vibe that catered to the unique feel and needs of their cities. The lasting impression and feel of the venue are often just as important and memorable as the show itself, providing the environment necessary to let loose, enjoy yourself, and give in to your more base desires. 

The pioneer spirit is crucial to any artistic pursuit, and the creation of the perfect vibe is the holiest of pursuits when establishing a venue. 

Satellite Houston breaks the traditional mold of a music venue. It sits comfortably on the edge of DIY and professional, catering to a wide array of genres and crowds, and hosting a range of bands from the most experienced nationals to the obscurest locals. The now iconic building located on Houston’s east side —right next to the Whataburger on Harrisburg— has come to be a regular site for locals to see the hippest up-and-coming bands currently on the road today.

What the venue has achieved now is a far cry from what it was at its inception. Before it became Satellite Houston, it was known as The Shop, hosting straight-up punk and DIY shows, without a stage or any real sophisticated live sound equipment. After that short-lived venue folded, it changed hands and rebranded, and the rest was history. Satellite Houston never left it’s local roots far behind. At its heart, the venue bleeds the local scene and catered to local shows for many years before making the leap into a venue hosting more national acts. 

What makes the place is the homey and comfortable ambiance. Unlike other venues that may kick you out after the show, Satellite Houston encourages the party. In many ways, it comes off more like a house venue that grew up and got its shit together. This very feeling is what draws in the crowd, making the venue a place for casual gatherings, killer shows, and great memories. 

Like in many other cities, the lifespan of a venue in Houston isn’t ever certain. This means that there is often a lack of infrastructure to host bands that are within a certain sweet spot of artistry, primarily those who aren’t massive legacy acts or your uncle’s new side-project playing at the bar down the street. 

Satellite Houston came in clutch, in true Houston fashion, to fill that much needed gap. Making drastic moves to showcasing bands like Beach Fossils and Wavves, the venue became a hotspot for diehard fans of indie darlings that probably would have skipped Houston entirely and just made the trip straight to Austin. 

Like a lot of other venues across the country, and particularly in the city of Houston, Satellite Houston is looking for new ways to keep afloat during the coronavirus shutdown. Staff at the bar have recently pulled together to make sure that they can make rent for the space and provide at least some type of wage to their workers during a hard time for the live music industry by creating a GoFundMe campaign. Satellite Houston is a special place that deserves the love. In the end, we can only make it out of this alive if we pull together for the greater good. 

Make no mistake: Satellite Houston is here to stay. It’s a great spot providing a much needed service to the local music community in a way that is all its own. As the venue continues to grow and change, it’s exciting to look back and see where it came from and imagine where it’s going to be in the coming years.

As far as venues go, Satellite Houston is one of the best in the city. I don’t have enough hands to count the number of great nights I can’t remember at Satellite Houston, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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