Blues gigs are always the same, aren’t they? Heavy smoke fills the room, geezers sit at small tables, tapping their booted feet. Sometimes, a tear falls into the stale beer or the whiskey chaser.
Well, that’s what I thought. Used to think, that is.
You see, the whole genre has passed by mid-40s midlife crisis junkies and has reached the crème. Or whatever floats on top of the pond. Or rather, enjoys sitting in orderly rows reminiscent of the local philharmonic orchestra. And if there’s only a limited choice of seating, well, that’s what you carry your portable stool with for, isn’t it?
(No, not that kind of stool. Albeit I have to admit certain individuals appear to have the contents of their bowls compacted to nigh-diamond density which might actually work as a makeshift chair. But I digress.)
So, yeah, the new geriatric target audience of Swiss clubs – or as in this case, cantinas – asks for certain adaptions to the tried-and-proven formula of the Blues: No smoking. No whisky. The beer is sold by a caterer whose green logo starts getting on me nerves. And them damn bloody seats in rows that remind me of a Punch and Judy show.
And then, the proverbial Blues Police makes an appearance, too. You know. People who are very concerned about 12-bars patterns and I-IV-V progressions. People who develop hives or syphilis or whatever when there’s, say, an additional chord. Because that’s not “true” or something.
They don’t have much trunk with the elderly audience, godsblessem, but nowadays often arrive in the cloth of the rabid “progressive” metalhead. You just realise they don’t like Blues per se, they’re only interested in technicalities. To brush over “bass dude can’t even play syncopated 32nds! And he doesn’t slap or tap at all!” drivel no mentally sane person is interested in, they employ abovementioned Blues Police approach. Because they talk music, you know. Who cares if you don’t get Blues, can’t see behind the structure. You know what them black dots on the sheet mean, so who cares about emotions? Bugger having fun! Bugger being touched by the lyrics!
But hey, at least you can impress pimply band mates with “Descent gig last week, but they included a VII!” You will also receive knowledgeable nods from your fellow musical automatons. Nothing says “binding” more than bitching about that band that dared to deviate from The Blues as given to Moses on mount Horeb. True, true.