The Front Row

Mini Kiss at Big Al’s McKinney Avenue Tavern
Photo by Chuck Cox
Rattle and Hum Sports

By Chuck Cox

Special Contributor

Of all the times I’ve been to two concerts in a weekend, the pairing of Mini Kiss and country legend Johnny Rodriguez has got to be the strangest. Especially considering the former was on Valentine’s Day.

But when it was all said and done, I came away with lots of entertainment.

First, Mini Kiss. I only knew about this show because I saw an ad for it in the Dallas Observer. I’m always a little apprehensive about going to a venue for the first time. It turned out, in the case of Big Al’s McKinney Avenue Tavern (MAT), to be for very good reason.

For starters, there wasn’t a start time listed for the show anywhere. I called the MAT on Friday afternoon to see what time the show was starting and was told between 8 and 9. As a result, I got there at 7:30. The show started at 10:30. A great way to get me to not consider coming back to your venue is to lie to me and have me stand around for three hours before a show that clocked in at less than an hour. No excuse for that, IMO.

Luckily, Mini Kiss was a lot of fun. While certainly not the most musically sound act out there (the band seemed to have trouble figuring out when it was extending and ending songs), the diminutive quartet was featured in a Super Bowl commercial with Kiss for Dr Pepper a couple of years ago. I really enjoyed seeing them play in Kiss regalia. Oddly, the band opted to include a couple of non-Kiss covers in the set — Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O’ Mine” and The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me.” I thought that was really strange and unnecessary.

I was also surprised at the number of couples who opted to spend part of Valentine’s Day with Mini Kiss. Pretty interesting choice. My wife opted to stay home after we went out to dinner.

I followed that up with a trip to another venue I had never been to — The Stagecoach Ballroom in Fort Worth. My parents raised me on country and western music, which was really pretty spectacular back in the 1970s. Rodriguez was always one of my mom’s favorites.

I still can’t believe I got to see him on Saturday night after all of these years. The venue was a good old honky tonk, complete with line dancing and cigarette smoke. But it was a really cool and interesting place with lots of history. And getting to see Rodriguez from about four feet away was pretty amazing.

After his band played three songs without him to start the concert, Rodriguez came out sporting a Doors hat, which was beyond cool. He played most of his hits, and even though I hadn’t heard some of them in a decade or two, I knew every word. He only did one verse of his awesome cover of The Beatles’ “Something,” but he followed that up with the Fab Four’s “Yesterday.” He also covered the Eagles’ “Desperado” and “Lyin’ Eyes.”

If you aren’t familiar with his music, you need to hear some Johnny Rodriguez. He’s got a great voice and some really cool tunes. I also got to meet him after the show, so it made the trip to Cowtown complete.

The aforementioned Eagles are up next for me on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center. Check back later this week for my thoughts on the show.

Mini Kiss photo album.

Johnny Rodriguez photo album.


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