Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Race and Gender Blues

Last Saturday is International Women’s Day and the Madison Blues Society seizes the nomenclature to use as a fundraiser. The Brink Lounge hosts the event featuring Chicago based blues guitarist Sue DeBaco followed by Canadian born, now Austin based Sue Foley. Lola and I agree this is a good opportunity to hear Ms. Foley for the first time so we pay our $30 and order drinks.

Sue DeBaco puts on a Chicago Blues performance. Adequate vocals and frantic guitar work combined with an overbearing obsession with audience banter. It’s a stage show perfected for suburbanite crowds out to have an adventuresome night downtown in a big city Blues Club. Clap with me, sing along, have some drinks, tip your bartenders. Let me play you something in the style of Hendrix.

At intermission I slip into the lounge to watch the end of the Wauwatosa East v. Madison Memorial Wisconsin Boy’s State Basketball Championship game. Madison has victory in hand until Wauwatosa ties the game with a three point shot sending it into overtime. Alas, Memorial finishes second again. Lola tells me I miss Kathleen Falk give her Guest Speaker presentation. Kathleen, allegedly, says she wakes up every morning thinking about Rosa Parks. Every morning? That’s just absurd unless it's part of a specific meditation ritual upon rising. Just saying.

Sue Foley begins her time on stage with solo acoustic songs before bringing out her band to finish the acoustic set. It’s all very polished and sparkling. It’s the kind of mastery that a smoke free room of affluent white people appreciate. The electric set that follows is decidedly good but I can’t help thinking this would be much, much better if the room was much darker, hot and hazy, and scarred by the wear and tear of time.