[Harp-L] New Suburban venue

(Note: I also posted this to my weekly music digest and to the Yahoo Bay
Area Blues Group, forgive any duplication.)

Saturday night we attended what I believe was a "first" blues show at a new
venue here in the San Francisco East Bay 'burbs, upstairs at Back 40 Texas
BBQ in Pleasant Hill. It featured Tip of the Top with special guest Andy
Santana. Santana and Aki Kumar engaged in a "harp duel" and it was a great
show, with no cover (Back 40 derives its main income from bar and restaurant
and there were LOTS of folks


Whether this will continue only time will tell, but the venue is great, has
a nice dance floor and folks were gettin' down. The upstairs has its own bar

and because they serve food, too, you can bring your minor children. There
was one group of folks with their kids and the kids were having a ball
dancing. One

of the younger boys, no doubt a future guitar player I'd guess around 10 or
11, had an animated conversation with John Lawton, TipTop's guitar maestro.
Nice to see. Oh, and the BBQ is great and not too pricey!

The band hopes to make this a once a month thing with an emphasis on harp
guests and the crowd was enthusiastic about that. This is welcome news since
the future of the quarterly SF Bay Harpers jams is uncertain. We do still
have the blues (and other) jams at Armando's in Martinez and I believe
there's a jam in Antioch (never been because it's a 30 to 40 minute drive
from my place). Roy Jeans has a door charge at his jams, but his bands get
paid in addition to the tip jar, so it's for a good cause. Tip of the Top
had a tip jar out but I don't know whether they also got paid by the Back 40
owners. I saw several other Bay Area harpers in the audience, including
Grant Walters and Paul Palizzolo.

My wife and I had dinner and a bottle of wine for ~$52 including tip, not
too steep these days. Forgo the wine and knock ~$22 off that. Plus you could

cheaper than we did ... soooo, we got dinner, wine and a show (that started
at 7 and was continuing when we left around 10 after the 2nd set because our
friends had early morning things happening today) for around $26 each. Check
the prices at other venues for comparison.

A big plus for us is that Back 40, like Armando's, is close to home. The
South Bay's Little Fox is a bit of a stretch for us as we tiptoe into our
70s. There was a big crowd of all ages for this show, perhaps indicating
that there's truly a market here in the 'burbs. Plus there was guitar and
harp duo playing in the bar

downstairs, which was very nice.

As to cover charges, I don't think it's unreasonable to charge a
cover, especially
when your venue doesn't serve food and mixed drinks. I'm willing to

pay for the travel convenience and save some gas bucks and wear and tear.
I'd attend more Little Fox shows if it wasn't a one-hour drive each way.

I'm hoping this venue and Armando's continue to thrive. Armando's has
been closed
for some work on the premises, but reopens with a jazz jam tomorrow

night. I hope any of you players who're into jazz as well as blues will
attend. Great to have these two venues nearby and drawing good audiences!

And the usual disclaimers apply, I'm just a big fan of local music scenes
and trying to help make people aware. I think one reason jams succeed or
fail has to

do with advertising and publicity. Lots of venue owners like the idea of
live music and think it will increase revenues, but they don't want to pay

performers or lay out any cash for promotion. That's a recipe for

Tip of The Top at the Little Fox on YouTube:


Back 40 Web site with entertainment tab:


Armando's Web site:


Cheers, Bob Loomis

Concord CA USA

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.