Hurricane Harvey ravaged Houston just weeks ago, but for some it probably feels like months since the category 4 storm was in the public consciousness.
Luckily for the people of Houston, not everyone has forgotten them, including local-Richmond band Clair Morgan and its frontman and namesake, Clair Morgan.
Morgan created First Fridays in November 2016 at The Camel, a local restaurant, bar and concert venue in Richmond, where the proceeds for each Friday concert go to rotating charities.
This month, Morgan chose the Houston Food Bank.
The band's T-shirts read, “Clair Morgan is and is not a band,” referencing the lead singer's original solo venture as a musician that has since grown to a six-piece, self-described, “tiny orchestra.”The debut First Friday took place after last year’s presidential election, which Morgan said didn’t go the way he had preferred.
“Immediately I just felt uncomfortable with the idea of promoting myself or playing and promoting our band without doing something good for someone else," Morgan said. “It just didn’t make sense to be just self-absorbed or promoting our own agenda.”
Friday’s concert featured Clair Morgan as the headliner, with Big Baby, The Pauses and The Wimps as opening acts.
Big Baby, a Richmond-based group, debuted their first EP, "Sour Patch," in July. Members of the Pauses used to be in a band with Morgan. The Wimps is another local act, whose lead singer, Brent McCormick, said the band members must wear suspenders to perform.
The Camel feels intimate — just a small bar in the first room with a stage and open floor space in the next.
Morgan hooted and hollered throughout the entirety of the Pauseses set.
He told me after the show he used to be in a band with the Pauseses guitarist, Jason Kupfer, and lead singer Tierney Tough. The group used to live in a house together in Orlando, Florida, before Hurricane Charley effectively disbanded the group, Morgan said.
“Being in the house together were some of the best times ever,” Tough said.
The Wimps performed next, singing about high school, Rubik’s cubes and always being in love. McCormick’s performance involved constantly sticking out his tongue, throwing off his prescription glasses and grinding on the bassist.
“Maybe we’re like, channeling Urkel?” McCormick said about the group's nerdy style. “The Wimps is like a place where I don’t have to be so serious all the time.”
Clair Morgan finished the concert well after midnight, with a set full of frequent breaks between songs that weren’t simply to change guitars and tunings, but aimed to address the crowd.
Morgan asked the audience not to forget about Houston, even though the devastated city was out of the news cycle. He added that November’s show would be dedicated to helping the devastation in Puerto Rico, as the island was just hit by Hurricane Maria in September.
Morgan graciously thanked the audience for coming out and supporting Houston after a blistering closing performance of crowd favorite, “Rogue Island.”
“If we’re gonna keep on playing then we need to do things,” Morgan said. “Like do something good and stand up for what we believe in and help causes that we believe in.”
Contact lifestyle writer Conner Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.