My stepfather is a guitar player for a local blues outfit called Big Mike and the Perpetrators. Last night, they played at a local benefit concert and, having nothing better to do and having been a delinquent fan of late, I went. It was so great see so many locals greats in one place, many of whom have known me since tweendom and were shocked to see I'm a real-live, grown-up, almost-married lady. I discovered that, if it's possible, I think I love the blues more now than I ever have. I'm a better dancer now, so it's more fun to get out on the floor and shake a tailfeather during the faster numbers. I had forgotten what a comfortable place the dance floor at a blues show is. Unlike the rock fans I'm used to seeing at Brooklyn clubs where my fiance's band plays, blues fans are unabashed about dancing; they don't care how they look, they have got to move, they don't have a choice. These are my people and on the dance floor with them is where I belong.
I realized I have taken the blues for granted. Maybe that's appropriate. It's the blues, it's used it, it will be there for you when you come running back after a long time away. In my life, it's always been around, but in the real world, all the local bands have trouble getting gigs and finding places to let them play such great music. Anyone who is fortunate enough to see a local live blues band play should appreciate what a great show they are getting for the small price of a cover charge. These guys don't play for the money (what a joke!), they play for the love of it and that's what makes them great.
So the next time you see live local blues advertised and think "That sounds cool. I should go to that," and then forget about it, don't. Make a note. Put it on your calendar. Invite some friends to come out and do something different for a change. Tell your favorite local haunts you want to see a blues night fit into their calendar. You and they will be amazed at the crowd it draws. These guys deserve to play great music and you deserve to enjoy it.
Some great local North NJ blues bands: