January is known as a wasteland in the entertainment business. After New Year's Eve, the attendance at bars and music venues drops off - the Christmas bills hit in January and inhibit the impulse to party, I guess. Mr. G and the Mystery Band tried to break through these doldrums on Friday the 13th with our first gig as headliner at the Morseland Cafe. It was a dead scene.
The Morseland is a hipster joint in the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago. It is a nice room with a large stage and a huge sound system/DJ booth. The food they serve is outstanding and the servers/bartenders are all young and friendly. We hit the stage at about 10p.m.; the crowd was pretty small. It didn't get much bigger as the night progressed. We played our hearts out, but the crowd didn't respond much. It is a little deflating to play a high-energy piece through to a big finish and hear no response from the house. I guess this counts as a lesson in humility for me. We still had fun, but we could have had as much fun playing in my basement.
A night like last Friday reminds me that it is a good thing that blues harp is my hobby, not my vocation. I ended up paying the band with my own money - another night of losing money on a gig. It is close to impossible to make a living as a blues harmonica player - there might be 100 guys in the world that survive on a blues harmonica player's wages. There is an old joke - "Q: What is the difference between a blues harp player and a large pizza? A: A large pizza can feed a family of four."