For those of you just waiting on the edge of your seats to discern what i thought about Ms. Erykah Badu’s performance this past Saturday night, i’m sorry to disappoint you. As i mentioned last week, i decided at damn near the absolute last minute to take The Missus to my hometown of Chicago for the weekend. Naturally, i already had tickets to see the aforementioned Badu show, as well as tickets to see Garrison Keillor on Friday at Wolf Trap. So, yeah, i wasted those tickets. Had it not been so 11th hour, i probably would have given them away free here, but i didn’t, so let’s move on, shall we?
What prompted the last minutedness, you may well be asking yourself. Well, even though i had been debating going simply to watch my Blackhawks win Game One of the Stanley Cup, when i received an email from Buddy Guy’s Legends saying the new club was opening that night, the decision was made. As i’ve mentioned ad nauseum, i used to work at the original Legends back in the early- to mid-90s, so i felt obligated to attend the opening of the new one.
Sadly, it wasn’t quite all that and a bag of chips. Since i’m sure all our DC readers give a shit, let me tell you all about it. The club itself is quite nice. You can read the particulars here, but suffice to say, the designers did a fine job with the look and feel, largely mimicking the original, but on a much larger scale. The checkerboard floor still is there, but the first floor spacing is far more vast than its predecessor. The bars are bigger, the displays are more abundant and everything seems, well, larger. They even have an upstairs pool room now, complete with private rooms off to the sides.
Problem was, since the club apparently had approximately 24 hours to pull off the opening (never heard or understood why), things certainly had a rushed feel to them. First off, the club was half empty (if not more so). Secondly, Buddy didn’t even show, whereas he was a fairly regular feature at the old one. i think there were more bartenders upstairs than patrons.
Of course, you want to know how the music was, right? Well, i’m glad to report that Shannon Curfman is a blues artist that can hold her own with the best of the crop of up and comers. She’s got pipes that can blast you out of your seat, dazzling guitar skills and a back-up band that knew how to lay it down, pick it up and knock it back over again. Over the course of a couple of sets, they played a number of originals and covers. As any good bar band knows, the songs grew increasingly stronger as the night progressed. By the time she closed, damn near everyone in the joint was either clapping their hands or stomping their feet, appropriate accolades for the night. Sure, Buddy might have had better things to do (i think he’s actually on tour right now), but Shannon did not disappoint.
So the next time you find yourself in Chicago looking for the best live blues in the land, stop by Buddy’s and tell them CD sent you. 95 percent of them will have no idea who you’re talking about, but it will make me feel warm and fuzzy, so do that.
Ed. note: Since the club was razed on Tuesday, June 1, i really wanted to snag a piece of history for myself before i flew back to D.C. on Monday morning. Even though hardly anyone there remembers me and the folks working there now are somewhat less than friendly, it still was the greatest job i ever had and i obviously still gush about it like a smitten school girl. Well, there were some old wooden signs screwed into the side of the building, and after many phone calls, multiple visits and some haggling, i finally was given “permission” to buy one before it went into the trash anyway. Some time between my final call Saturday night and my arriving Sunday afternoon to pay and pick it up, “somebody” made off with the sign in question. No idea who it was, but if you happen to be reading this, a hearty fuck you for taking it. Not cool, whoever you are. Not cool at all. i find it odd that nobody took it before i asked for it, but what can you do? i mean, other than grouse about it on your own blog, of course.