The Mystery Band played at Duke's Bar last night. The crowd was sparse; I guess everyone is saving their partying energy for New Year's Eve. Highway RickEY stopped by and sat in on drums for a few numbers. Big Alex also came out - he lives in the neignborhood. We had a "small world" moment - the Mystery Band's sax player, Mike Finnerty, was Big Alex's saxophone teacher in high school. Big Alex dropped the sax in favor of the harmonica.
Duke's Bar has an interesting vibe. It is a smallish joint with a long bar and a small side room where the musicians perform. This bar has been a mainstay on Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park (next to the El tracks) since 1968. In years past, Duke's was a place for hard-core drinkers and petty criminals (drug dealers, second story men, pimps and their women). In September of 2005, the joint was purchased by Neil Lifton and his wife, Mary. Neil is a New Yorker who plays a little electric guitar. He has run out the sketchy characters and Duke's is a bit more civil. I like Neil and Duke's is a solid Chicago neighborhood tavern.
I am sure this will be my last post of 2006. It has been a good year for Mr. G personally, but a very crappy year for the larger world. I'm glad to have 2006 in the rear view mirror.