Channeling Sonny Boy Williamson via J. Geils Band with a bit of rock and rolling the Temptations on occassion to a biker bar audience at the Blue Bayou Club in Hillsborough, the Nighthawks were the perfect band for the crowd. The average Harley Davidson owner is between 35 and 54 (white male as you might expect) with an income of $78K/yr. I can find no source for the average age of a blues harmonica player and less about their average incomes. I can tell you that the show started at 9:30 as opposed to shows at the Cat’s Cradle which start close to 11 or midnight. The band, the Nighthawks, are very tight and very aware of each other, having played together for 30 years you might expect that. They were very casual as if they walked out of the same 50+(age) biker crowd to play with their tattoos, black t’s, old school lace up sneakers or heavy boots. Songs were mostly about women. Women, who dispite the bands superpowers, could not be gotten next to (“Can’t get next to you”) or couldn’t be called “Sugar” (“cause sugar ain’t that sweet”) or who shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (that is to say the band is past their glammor boy days) or were the sweetest thing in town, but had let them down. The band and the audience has put on a few pounds, but that stopped neither for dancing and getting down. It’s been a while since I was in a smokey club — the Blue Bayou which as a private club allows smoking as well as drinking and dancing is certainly smokey. I had forgotten how it gets in your hair and clothes even if you stand by the slightly open door with the draft blowing the cold night air in toward the bar.
It wasn’t the breeze that caused the band and the audience to get on their best guitar faces in reactions to some basic blues beats and some old school audio circuitry; it was the whining harp and smokey air burning our ears and eyes as should be true in such a successful venue.
Happy anniversary to the Blue Bayou.