Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Goodbye Blue Sunday - was it something I said?

So the Prez called me today to tell me that the Sunday blues jam session at the Chinese joint up in north Seattle is now on life support. The owner told him that he's going to hire Prez's band only from now on, and if the crowd doesn't increase dramatically in the next four weeks, he's pulling the plug.

Gee, what a surprise! Here's how Midnight Movers' only gig at this place went...

As usual, I arrived about one hour early in order to set up the PA system. As soon as I get out of my car this Asian guy walks up to me and tells me I've got to fill out the IRS W-9 form he's waving at me. He never introduced himself, but I assumed he was the owner. I filled out the form and gave it to the bartender, a tall, good looking gal that seemed to be wearing a piece of black shag carpeting for a top.

I quickly discovered that there were no stage lights. The stage was as dark as a bat cave. I asked the bar manager if she could help me out, and she produced a single light tree that was apparently removed from the karaoke room. The hard-wired controller for the four lights would either blink all of the lights in rapid succession, or blink them slowly. I chose the slow setting where a single light would come on for a few minutes then switch to a different light. One problem - several times during the night the yellow light wouldn't come on at all, so the band played in the dark until the next light blinked on. A nice effect that no one in the club seemed to notice.

Only three jammers showed up, including a really wretched drummer and bass player, plus one really good drummer (thank you Jesus!). Two blues fans that we knew hung around for a little while. The other 10 to 15 denizens of the deep that were there looked on listlessly.

Well, I've got to hand it to the owner - he did advertise the gig in the local Blues-To-Do newspaper. He even had our promo photo displayed in the hallway next to the Top 40 bands' photos (Femme Fatale played there before us). And we did get paid in cash.

But some gigs just have the smell of death on them, you know what I mean?


Phil Chesnut said...

It's sad that the Seattle blues scene has such a hard time keeping viable blues venues alive. It goes much deeper than a lousy band venue at some Chinese dump. There are joints in this town that actually call themselves blues clubs, yet they are not involved in either the local or national blues scene and are certainly circling the drain. It's amazing that 175 miles south, in Portland, there is a hugely vibrant blues scene with many fine blues clubs a huge blues society and a giant, blues savvy fan base. It's an unfortunate fact of life for blues musicians to have to deal with asshole vlub owners that don't have a clue.

Mike Lynch said...

I hear ya, pal! You'd think that some of these characters would try a little harder - after all, it's their dough going down the drain.