You go out on the town without any real expectations, stumble across a “hole in the wall” and quickly realize upon entering that you have discovered something special. A night at Louie Louie’s Piano Bar is one of those nights.
Albeit, while Louie Louie’s is somewhat of a larger (400-person), community-designed venue, its nightly show of “in-your-face” entertainment combined with “real” music is as intimate and unique as it gets.
For the audience-driven, interactive portion of the show, think bachelorette meets engagement party, meets 21st birthday, meets convention group, meets ladies’ night out, meets weekend visitors popping in for a night cap. And, what you get is a motley crew united by a love of music, great sense of humor and willingness to go where the night takes you. And for some, that could mean right up on stage.
Throughout the six-hour program (starting at 8pm) four leading musicians (born and/or raised in Texas), Joey, Jeremy, Chris and Mark will invite (and convince if they have to) dozens of brave souls on stage to belt out a tune, compete in a dance-off or simply stand awkwardly still while being serenaded by someone they just met.
“Louie’s brings the audience together to have fun and act like they’ve known each other their whole lives,” says Joey. “But what really makes it great is the people. As the owner Ronnie ‘Wilson’ says: ‘It’s the only place besides church where you see complete strangers singing along together. It’s like church with beer.’“
That is unless you have a taste for 64-ounce cocktails mixed with Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum, Mango Rum, Blue Curacao, Blue Island Pucker and Lemon Lime Soda. Then it’s a moment with Louie Louie’s signature “The Fish Bowl”.
The “real” music —and what is ultimately putting Louie Louie’s on the map in Deep Ellum, in the heart of Dallas‘ arts and entertainment district – is the fact that Joey and co. are highly-talented musicians. All play a range of instruments — piano, drums, base, guitar, trumpet, saxophone, accordion and fiddle to name a few —and each night they play rap, country, hard rock and heavy metal and cover a repertoire of songs, including Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), The Devil Went Down To Georgia (Charlie Daniels), a Michael Jackson medley and many more favorites.
Many nights include a military tribute with an A cappella version of the national anthem to honor the active duty military and veterans who are often in the audience. “It is a nice moment in the middle of all of the crazy,” Joey says. On Monday nights, they host a blues jam, which attracts some of the best musicians in Dallas and brings together a twelve-piece band.
“Our musicians are some of the best in the field, so when we get up together as a band, it’s the closest you’re going to get to being at a concert,” Joey says. It also makes the $5 to $7 coverage charge feel like a gift.
Images courtesy of Louie Louie’s Piano Bar.