Blues IN a chair: Branded entertainer BB King is the thickening agent in the BBQ sauce, as Ribfest comes to the corporate gazebo of the Pee ‘N See Arts Center this weekend — a weekend that further features some intriguingly affordable options to hear The Blues, whether real or imagined, in all its myriad hues.
Let us tell you ’bout The Blues. Actually, don’t listen to us — as much as we live the blues every hour of every day, we’re in no position to tell you what The Blues IS any more than the legion of po’boy-wearin’ poseurs who purport to purvey the Real Thing, three sets nitely.
All we can tell you with any certainty is what we like (anything by Howlin Wolf, older Fat Possum, newer Slim Harpo, The Stooges, Captain Beefheart…us and Jon Huntsman…plus Shore goodguy Gary Wright, who recently blew us away with a brief but astonishing set of solo folkblues right here at the historic house where we hang our hat). That and the fact that Asbury Blues is Temporarily Closed like Venice is temporarily sinking.
THAT, and the fact that John Lennon said “the blues is a chair.” Can’t argue with that.
This weekend, like so many other weekends up and down the Upper WET Side and all around the calendar, offers a shipload of opportunities to get a handle on this inscrutable commerce we call The Blues — from old-timey victrola back-porch scratch ‘n skronk, to matching jacket/union-card casino showband clam ‘n pomp. From barely-blues classic rock repositioning, to beyond-blues jam culture mixology and everything in between all those things, which, this being blues, ain’t a huge patch of turf.
What makes THIS particular weekend extra relevant is its almost cosmic confluence of events that illustrate the very State of the Blues in 2011: the tightly controlled and vetted museum-piece kind; the thinly veneered showbiz kind by which soulless suburbanites get to live with themselves one more day at premium-seating prices — and the intimate, almost underground vein that points most directly to the amazing past AND hopeful future of the form. It’s a tour that begins with a freebie festival on Saturday morning, and a kid-gloves flip of the vintage 78…