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Monday, July 16, 2007

Nick's Beer Garden - Saturday July 14, 2007

I found out the regular guitarist for the Mystery Band, Anthony Plamer, was going to miss the July 28th gig at the Morseland. OSee Anderson was confirmed, so I had one hot guitarist - I wanted another player. I have been thinking about adding a keyboard player for some gigs, so I called my bass player, E. G. McDaniel, last Saturday for a recommendation. He mentioned Daryl Coutts, a young long-haired fellow who has played with Ronnie Baker Brooks for several years. And Daryl was appearing with vocalist Katherine Davis at Nick's that very evening. I resolved to go and check this fellow out.

Nick's Beer Garden is in Wicker Park, on Milwaukee near North Avenue. Wicker Park is one of Chicago's biggest party neighborhoods on a Saturday night. Traffic is miserable and the sidewalks are crowded. The three - way intersection of North Avenue , Milwaukee Avenue and Damen is the congested heart of the neighborhood, and Nick's is near that intersection. This is not a neighborhood that is generally associated with blues bands, and Nick's is a bar first and a music venue second. There is no stage at Nick's, and bands must bring their own P.A. systems.

But the crowd at Nick's comes to party.

Katherine Davis is a seasoned performer, in her early '50's I would say. Most of the folks in the audience were half her age, but she had them in the palm of her hand throughout the evening. As the evening progressed, some of the audience members became seriously impaired. The musicians were at risk of collision as drunken dancers lurched perilously close to the band. But no accidents occurred while I was there.

Katherine used the Jimmy Burns Band plus Dary Coutts. Daryl had two sets of keys - a piano/synthesizer and an organ keyboard. He brought out a B3 set up, with the spinning horn. Daryl is a killer player, and he did take the Mystery Band gig at the Morseland. I am very excited about adding this fine musician to the Mystery Band mix.

I sat in with Katherine and the band, using my little Fender Princeton amp. The Princeton was overwhelmed by the heavy firepower that the other players brought to the gig. It was LOUD! The crowd was even louder than the band. Whew!

I hope to get the Mystery Band booked into Nick's Beer Garden. I know we would do well.

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