Thursday, July 11, 2013

Jamming at the Fenix Supper Club

There's an interesting new venue up in San Rafael that opened earlier this year. It's a somewhat upscale supper club with live music. On Wednesdays they have a "Pro Blues Jam." My friend, bassist extraordinaire Michael Oliver Warren, is in the house band, and told me I should check it out sometime. Being so far way, and on school night, I hadn't yet taken the opportunity to do so. But then the first week of July arrived. Wednesday night was the 3rd, so the next day was a holiday. So I took the opportunity to throw a guitar in the car, pick up my fellow jam-hound Jeff Kamil, and drive north across the Golden Gate to see what was happening there at the Fenix Supper Club.

It was a bit of a strange experience. The music room is the dining room and it was completely full of people with reservations eating dinner. We had to wait in the bar, where at least we could see the band via the same camera feeds that were streaming the video over the ‘net. (Yes, it turns out they stream the shows at the Fenix and archive them after the performance. Here's the video with me in it, singing and playing on Bill Wither's song "Use Me." My appearance starts about 10:20 after the beginning of the video.) We each had a burger, a good one, if rather pricey, had a beer, and watched. Later we managed to be able to sit at the far back of the dining room, and that was an improvement.

The house band started about 8:15 (the Fenix website says 7:30). They have a “theme” each week. This one was “Stevie Ray Vaughan Night,” which I presumed meant the host band’s set this night would be culled from material associated with Stevie Ray Vaughan, as indeed it was.

The host band played about an hour, then opened the second set with an instrumental by the guitarist. Then they called up me and a drummer. (You can see the drummer in that video shortly before we started to play, expressing some consternation that we weren’t about to do a SRV song. I guess he thought the jammers were restricted to calling SRV tunes, which was reasonable based on the information provided.)

After that song, I left, the drummer remained, and Jeff got called up. He got one song too. Later there was a young woman that sang three jazz standards, followed by older gentleman that sang three soul songs. We left around then, it was something like 11:30. Not sure how much longer it went on.

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