In my never ending quest to find things to fill my time, I have stumbled across a gold mine. Well, it’s dark and kinda dank but its not really a cave, more of a dive. I speak of a place called JJ’s which is right down the street from where I live. Awsome little dive where the blues rock every night of the week. This little hole-in-the-wall bar is located in a generic strip-mall on Stephens Creek Blvd in San Jose. Sandwiched between a matress store and a sporting goods shop is a blues emporium that will surprise you.
I hit it Sunday night for a couple of hours and was blown away. When I got there 5 old white guys (and that’s important only because you don’t normally think of 5 old white guys when you think of blues.) were turning up. Since the show hadn’t actually, started, I hit the free Sunday BBQ and sat down to wait. Soon enough, they started picking. They had a tight sound. (well, ok, as tight of a sound as you can get playing blues) To my untrained ear, they sounded like they were a bunch of guys that got together every week and picked for a while. Imagine my surprise when I asked the Sound Engineer what band this was and he replied that they were just 5 guys that showed up with instruments. (Yes, Love, like Amy and the Total Strangers but with facial hair)
They spent an hour running through some of the classics. At one point the guy playing lead actually looked at the others and said “let’s play something in G”. And with the practiced ease of national acts like “Stewie and the Cow Tones” the launched into a song that I assume was actually in G. Of course, they played one of the few blues songs I recognize, “Sweet Home Chicago”. (I sang along but now, reading the words, I butchered it. No wonder people were snickering.)
Long about 9:00 PM, Alvin Draper hit the stage. Alvin looks a lot like Morgan Freeman but sounds nothing like him. He and his band (at least one of the pickers from the Jam Session) let lose for a set that was pretty damn good. For an old guy, his boney old fingers can really pick.
So for the price of a couple of drinks, I was fed, entertained and left with a warm feeling in my stomach. (Which was either the alcohol kicking in or the polish sausage, not sure which)
If you are ever in San Jose and looking for some place nice and quiet to just kick back and relax, JJ’s is probably not the place you want to go. but if you are looking for dark and dank with killer blues and decent drink prices then yea, JJs is the place you want to hang.
Until next time, It’s lonely exploring out here by myself,