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Monday, November 05, 2007

Mystery Band Hits Buddy Guy's Legends - 11/4/07

So E.G. McDaniel called me at 9:15 PM on Sunday night. I was winding down from a pleasant day with the fam, thinking about hitting the sack. E.G. is one of the "go-to" bass players in the Chicago blues community, an absolutely awesome musican, and he anchors the Mystery Band for most of its gigs. So E.G. opens with, "Mr. G - we can play Buddy Guy's tonight - the band that was booked didn't show up." Whaaaa!? Now why on earth would a blues band blow off a gig at Buddy Guy's Legends? This is the top blues joint in Chicago, probably one of the best in the world - you don't want to mess with these guys. Getting black-balled at Legends is not a positive career event for a blues musician.

Well, it turns out the the booking agent for Studebaker John & the Hawks made a little boo-boo. He booked the band at Legends at the same time as their European tour. Studebaker John was in Belgium Sunday night - a bit too far away to allow him to make the gig at Buddy Guy's place. I hope Studebaker John can make things right with the Legends folks...he is a great performer.

This snafu provided an opening for the Mystery Band. All the cats were available; E.G. whipped them together. E.G. on bass, Cool James on drums, DC on keyboards and vocals, the Fretburner on guitar, yours truly on harmonica and vocals. We hit the first tune at around 10:15 last night - the debut of the Mystery Band at Buddy Guy's Legends!! I was stoked!! Thank God I have an understanding family that didn't freak when I went dashing out the door on a Sunday night.

Legends is Mecca for blues fans and blues musicians from around the world. Even on a Sunday night in the face of a busted booking, there was a decent crowd in the club. And the folks that come to Legends on a Sunday are generally knowlegeable, not casual, blues fans. We did our best to give the folks their money's worth. The sound mix and size of the club caused some problems for the band - our volume crept up and my harp was getting squashed by the rest of the band. The amp I brought along was too small for the task at hand - the cherry old Princeton wasn't cutting through, even when miked to get into the PA system. I shifted to a larger house amp. That allowed the harp to be heard, but served to bring the volume up even more. But the first set was pretty successful; the crowd seemed happy.

E.G. had also called a guest star for the last-minute gig - Wayne Baker Brooks, the son of the great Lonnie Brooks. He came up for the second, late set. WBB is an awesome guitarist, can hold his own with my man, Anthony "the Fretburner" Palmer (most guitarists pale when compared to the Fretburner). But WBB comes from the School Of Maximum Volume. Yikes! It is now 34 hours after the WBB set and my ears are still ringing. I am a fan of restrained volume and dynamic variety. But, hey, I am a grumpy old man, what do I know?

So I heard from E.G. McDaniel again today - Buddy Guy hisself heard our set on Sunday night!
Glad I didn't know he was in the audience - I would have shit my pants in fright. He wants us to come back and play again. Huh! So I have the mobile number of Harvey (aka "H-Bomb") the house manager at Legends. I am going to call him today.

Maybe I need to get a little more serious about this blues hobby of mine.....


Joe said...

How freakin' cool is that! WBB is one serious bad ass guitar player. I met him when he was in CA several years ago. He's a really nice guy, too.

Mr. G said...

hi Joe -

WBB is a very approachable, big-hearted player, and he has got mad skills. Love the gu.


Mike Lynch said...

Good on ya for the Legends gig! I saw Lonnie Brooks there once while in town for a convention.