Saturday, September 23, 2006

Live, In Concert

All right, so I didn't mention The Blues Brothers in my last post about movies set in Chicago...let's see if I can save face and make amends. I am all about atonement.

Chicago is an outstanding city to see music. There are tons of great local bands, in fact Stagg's best friends he grew up with, in Catholic boys school (how hot is that?) have a band called Dolt 45...and we saw them one night in a strange Czech bar with three other punk bands. They pound! The evening was a lot of fun for me partly because it was the first time I met his ol school buddies, and I felt like they were really kindred spirits and that was such a good feeling to feel like I fit in with people who are a little like an extended family.

Last night Stagg and I went to Buddy Guy's Legends. Any discussion of Buddy Guy invariably involves a recitation of his colossal musical resume and hard-earned accolades. He's a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a chief guitar influence to rock titans like Hendrix, Clapton, Beck and Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago's fabled West Side sound, and a living link to that city's halcyon days of electric blues.


But Guy's incredible story actually begins in Louisiana, not Chicago. Born in 1936 to a sharecropper's family and raised on a plantation near the small town of Lettsworth, located some 140 miles northwest of New Orleans, George "Buddy" Guy was one of five children born to Sam and Isabel Guy. His earliest years were marked by the all-too-familiar characteristics of the Jim Crow South: separate seating on public buses, whites-only drinking fountains, and restaurants where blacks—if even served at all—were sent around back. But the social order of the day notwithstanding, it was tolerance, not bitterness, instilled in the young Buddy Guy.


One of the things I like about the bar, Buddy Guy's Legends , is that it doesn't feel touristy. The club is a typical black walls, comfy chairs and lots of tables set up from the stage on back to two bars. There is memorablilia everywhere. Guitar lovers could spend an hour or two just looking at the first wives of Lennie Brooks and Eric Clapton, among framed gold records, vintage ensembles of blues performers...but without the corporate feel of Hard Rock Cafe.

And the food is great. We had cajun wings with blue cheese dip, deep fried okra and mustard sauce, chicken fried steak with collard greens, cole slaw and gravy, Staggs stacked with garlic mashed potatoes and even more white gravy. White gravy is usually a sausage based milk sauce and so good! South of Fargo, almost any where in America you will find a variation of biscuits and gravy as a staple on a menu. At Buddy Guy's we are talking food. The kitchen must use condors to make their wings, and corn bread, deep black chocolate cake with kahlua, and pecan pie made with bourbon. We were camping out for the night.

The opening act was Diamond Jim Green, who told several stories and sang a lovely warm mixture of tunes he's collected. One song was "my girlfriends got a girlfriend"...ending with, "my girlfriends got a girlfriend and just found out her little girlfriends got a boyfriend too". A real crowd pleaser. I could see three amazing guitars, one a wood and metal dobro, another a twleve string, and he sang just simple and micced...but a full sound.

Next a local band kicked into a rockabilly feel for two songs before their singer came on stage. Blues Angels had a pedestrian sounding band name, but turned out to be really fun and tight. Lots of energy. The guy who plyed stand up bass turned out to have gone to art school with Stagg, so they said hey after the show. Well, take a listen to them here.

Headlining the evening was Guitar Shorty. Guitar Shorty grew up in Florida and Texas. After playing with Ray Charles for a year, he moved around to Canada and eventually Seattle where he met his wife, Marcia. Marcia Hendrix. He met her family which included her brother. That's right, Guitar shorty taught some shit to Jimi Hendrix!!!! Guitar Shorty's band were so tight I couldn't believe, talking to them after the show, they had just met a month ago. Guitar Shorty made some beautiful sounds just really incredible to believe.

I don't see as much live music as I used to. But it's been a pretty good year. Concert highlights include Lucinda Williams (in Nashville with Stagg, Tuffy P and Mister Anchovy, at the Ryman Theatre, music buffs will know that is the original Grand Ol' Opry). Williams had a suberb goth-a-billy band backing her...which, I can not remember the name of right now, sorry guys. It was a year ago, and so very close on the edge of the floods in New Orleans where Williams and her family hail. so she was very senstive to the times and in a delicate story telling mood, raising awareness of the circumstances of families outside New Orleans as well as the city.

Gwen Steffani, a really fun night. She had a great set of costumes and dancers and was a lot of fun. There were masses of ten year old girls and this was a source of entertainment itself as I have never been to a concert where little kids were a large part of the audience. This was also funny, because Steffani swears liek a pirate. Ha ha silly parents you didn't know she had punk roots with sublime, did ya?

Audioslave in October was the concert of concerts though. I was a diehard Soundgarden fan, saw them in 1989. Which now sounds like a century ago. Yikes. I LOVE Chris Cornell, he is among my top ten list of all time greatest rock singers. Tom Morello is a god. Rage was THE band although so short lived. This show was like seeing three bands in one. This might be among best concerts ever in a lifetime.

GWAR is always a good time. I've seen them about 5 or 6 times. Paid my dues with the red paint. This was a fun night last December, and I got a pair of GWAR underwear. How cool is that?

(and Madonna in June!!!)

I have mentioned the House of Blues here before and how surprised I was that I really really liked the venue. Dan Ackroyd did a great job and the place always has amazing acts. Apparently, they take really good care of their touring musicians as well...and that is an added bonus to know. Maceo Parker ranks as one of the greatest shows I've seen and if you ever have a chance, you must go see The Architect of Funk. We danced for the entire three hours he was on stage.

I've had a pretty good year.

If you are reading this...go and see some live music. It's become an act of rebellion!

Jake: First you traded the Cadillac in for a microphone. Then you lied to me about the band. And now you're gonna put me right back in the joint!
Elwood: They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God.

Elwood Blues:You may go if you wish. But remember this: walk away now and you walk away from your crafts, your skills, your vocations; leaving the next generation with nothing but recycled, digitally-sampled techno-grooves, quasi-synth rhythms, pseudo-songs of violence-laden gangsta-rap, acid pop, and simpering, saccharine, soulless slush. Depart now and you forever separate yourselves from the vital American legacies of Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed, Memphis Slim, Blind Boy Fuller, Louie Jordon, Little Walter, Big Walter, Sonnyboy Williamson I and II, Otis Redding, Jackie Wilson, Elvis Presley, Lieber and Stoller, and Robert K. Weiss.

Are you the police?

No, ma'am. We're musicians.

13 comments:

Timmer said...

Buddy Guy's legends sounds so cool to me , I love his music and would dig checking out the bar some day. Chicago really is home of the Blues to me. Many Saturday evenings I listen to Blues FM on Jazz Fm(91.1) while I'm working at the studio. The Blues just feels so damn all right, I dance around with my brush in hand.

Timmer said...

The Blues Brothers is also one of my favorite movies. :)

Candy Minx said...

Tim, did you know that the Blues Brothers died in the box office...but grew by word of mouth and is probaly one of the most beloved movies. There isn't really much to compare to it is there?

mister anchovy said...

Live music IS a mission from God, especially if it is in more or less intimate setting (I recall seeing Van Morrison in To when he was so far away, he was this little dot in the distance...but they had TV sets so it was like we paid a hundred + canadianos to watch Van on TV.

I love Legends too. The first time we were there was to see the Buddy Miles band - fabulous stuff. They there was the night with Stagg when we were so tired after a long day walking around Chicago and Buddy Guy came in and Tuffy walked right over and asked him to sign my hat (I was being a shy anchovy). They also have awesome catfish there !

Great post Candy!

Candy Minx said...

Yeah, Stagg was telling me about that night where you panicked meeting Buddy Guy. Reemmber when I panicked meeting Patrick mcNee? heh heh.

Last night Stagg talked to all the musicians, which I was pretty impressed with how relaxed and comfortable everyone seemed in the room.

You know, it is a really terrific way to spend the evening. Sure it cost us a few bucks by the time the night was over...and we waited for a bus, but I have this head cold and I reached a limit, so we hopped a cab...but really, we were in the club ALL NIGHT, 9-10 hours. and it wasn't that expensive...and the whole line up was very peppy, high energy dancable music all night.

I'm just shaking my head right now thinking about the licks Guitar shorty played. Down at the bottom of the neck, like high sweet birds, all over the place. Remarkable musician! Plus, he also had half a dozen guitars! All worth the visit just to look at!

mister anchovy said...

listen to mister stagaroo....he wouldn't go up to talk with buddy either, just to set the record straight!!

Guitar Shorty has a good solid blues name....and that's important.

Gardenia said...

What a great musical year that sounds like! I also think you could start a new business as a tour guide to the fabulous spots there!

I went once to see one of my favorite female singers who happened to be gay. Tickets were a birthday present from my daughter who accompanied me - imagine my surprise to find the concert mostly populated by teen girls many definitely in gay couples - oh, would some moms have crashed!

I like Stefani - btw. And I miss easy access to House of Blues in N.O.

Anonymous said...

hey candy! Lucinda's opening act was swamp rocker CC Adcock!

Bridget Jones said...

YAY thanks for including that line!!! My very fave....

A-List said...

Wow lots of concerts this year eh...sounds like a lot of fun...too bad i've only been to ONE...i mean my whole life lol. Talk about green with envy ;)

Red said...

First of all: soul food... yum! That all sounds so good. I love what you guys call biscuits... When we went to NY, we were given a couple with one of our meals and liked them so much, we ordered them again at a BBQ place near Times Square (Virgil's). Little did we know that we would get served a bucketful of them!

The Chicago music scene sounds thriving indeed. (BTW, who is GWAR?) And I love that you got to see so much live music this year! Now that we don't live in London anymore, it's not so easy for us... and no bands come anywhere near our area.

But I'm holding out for Weezer! And I've asked * (asterisk) if we can take a month off work and follow Bright Eyes around the States next time he's on tour there. He agreed...

Timmer said...

Weezer rocks!

* (asterisk) said...

Candy Minx! You're back, and how! Hope you're feeling better. I fear you may have missed my review of El Mar, which fits perfectly in with our ongoing history-of-violence discussions. See my movie reviews dropdown menu.

I know that you'd probably expect this of me, but I really hated The Blues Brothers. Just didn't get it. Probably because I pretty much hate that sort of music. I know, I've got no soul. What can I tell ya?