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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Squeeze

Here in the Chicago area, gas prices are very high - between $3.99 and $4.19/gallon. Of course, the pump price seems to bump up a few cents almost every day as oil trades ever higher due to intense worldwide demand, tight supplies, a weak U.S. dollar and rampant speculation. If these prices hold or continue to increase, the level of waste and inefficiency in the U.S. economy will decrease over the long haul - people are already cutting back on unecessary travel, using mass transit more often and buying smaller, higher MPG cars. So in the long run, this spike in prices will lead to innovation and a reduction in our dependence on fossil fuels. But in the short run, there is pain. For example, one of the trips people don't seem to be making is the drive to local blues clubs in the Chicago area.

The Mystery Band played at the famous Harlem Avenue Lounge in Berwyn last Saturday. We had a great band, and we even had decent promotion for a change - the Chicago Sun Times wrote a positive blurb on the show in the weekend section last Friday. Despite this effort, the show was sparsely attended. OK - it was raining - but I think gas prices are having a negative impact on nightlife. Most blues fans are members of the middle class, and they are now flinching over the cost of a night out - gas is the biggest issue, along with higher prices for food, drinks and almost everything - and they opt to stay in with a DVD and a meal from Pizza Hut.

I felt bad that we didn't draw - our last show at the Harlem was pretty full - and it hurts in the pocketbook for both the band and the club owner.

But hey - the Mystery Band rocked out anyway. It doesn't matter if we have 10 people or 10,000 people - we are going to burn as hot as we can.


Joe said...

A couple of friends and I were discussing this last week. Last night, I went out to see Steve Freund and the place was jam packed. It's sort of hit or miss.

Mr. G said...

Hi Joe -

Yeah, it is definitely hit or miss. We play at a joint near the El tracks in Rogers Park (northside Chicago) that is almost always full. Most of the folks that go there take the EL or walk....

Ricky Bush said...

Yeah, it's not just in Chicago. I see the same thing at times when I travel over to Houston to catch someone that I think for sure should be drawing more off the couch.

See ya--