Got the Blues? Good for You!

There’s no better place than Las Vegas for a fun night out, even when you have no one to party with. I landed here five years ago not knowing a soul and now I actually prefer to hit the town by myself — I can go where I want, talk to whoever I want, and leave when I want.

It’s probably fair to say that women are less apt to go out by themselves than men and, ladies, I understand your reluctance; occasionally even I have to push myself. Sometimes I lack confidence for whatever reason (usually related to my weight or my hair), or I’m simply not up to the lengthy beautification process required to make myself presentable for the club/lounge scene on The Strip.

The Sand Dollar Blues Lounge
Sand Dollar Blues Lounge on
Spring Mountain at Polaris

But instead of staying home and singing the blues, I suggest you go out and listen to the blues. I’ve discovered some cool, safe places to make the scene — places where you don’t have to hold in your stomach all night and nobody cares how trendy your clothes are.

One of my favorite haunts is the Railhead, the showroom in the Boulder Station Hotel and Casino on Boulder Highway. It’s a great venue, and every Thursday night Boulder Blues features national touring blues performers. And yippee — there’s never a cover charge! Can’t stay out late on a school night? The bands start at 8 p.m. sharp — you can catch the first set and still be home in time for the 10 o’clock news. Ladies, if a dapper gentleman named Chuck asks you for a spin on the dance floor, go for it. He’s quite the hoofer and he’ll politely escort you back to your seat just like he learned in Saturday-morning dancing school.

Lucille’s, in the District at Green Valley Ranch, is another one of my favorites. They have jumpin’ blues in their bar area every Friday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. The night is still young when the music winds down around 10, so afterward head on over to the Sand Dollar Blues Lounge on Polaris at Spring Mountain. Sand Dollar’s bands are always top-notch and between sets you can kick some butt shooting pool. Like all the folks in the blues clubs, the people are friendly and authentic. I once met a neat guy there who went simply by “G,” thoughtfully saving people the trouble of pronouncing his entire name: “Gene.” Pretty considerate, huh?

Scoundrels Pub
Scoundrels Pub on
Decatur north of Tropicana

One recent Saturday night I struck gold, thanks to Rockin Billy, my virtual MySpace friend and the lead singer and guitarist for The Shakers. At his suggestion, I checked out the Las Vegas Blues Society’s open jam at Scoundrels Pub on Decatur, just north of Tropicana. This is something I definitely wish I’d known about long before now. Once a month, local blues musicians perform together at different venues throughout the valley and the best part is, it’s free and the music starts at 5 p.m. (Are you catching on that I can’t stay out as late as I used to?)

A word about the Las Vegas Blues Society — it’s a nonprofit organization with a mission to “preserve blues music and its history and to promote blues music in the Las Vegas community.” In addition to the monthly open jams, they sponsor a “Young Guns of Blues” program, which showcases the talents of under-21 musicians. Also, one of its members offers a free workshop every Thursday night for aspiring acoustic guitar and harmonica players at the Valley View Recreation Center in Henderson. Sign up on the Blues Society’s Web site to receive a weekly e-mail listing show dates for local blues artists or, better yet, become a member and support this wonderful organization.

I had a blast at Scoundrels that night! The music was fantastic and I got to meet Rockin Billy in person, along with lots of other interesting, down-to-earth characters I never would have met had I stayed home catching up on “Guiding Light.” So don’t be afraid to explore the neon nightlife by yourself; it’s a lot easier to make new friends when you’re not already sitting with one you already know.

The band may be playing “I Drink Alone,” but you certainly won’t be!

Comments

22 responses on “Got the Blues? Good for You!

  1. Linda, great article. I predict it will be a winner.
    Darlien (talk about aging nymphs)

  2. I enjoyed your column my talented friend. Your are terrific at whatever you do. I’m still your number one fan!!!
    Nina

  3. Nothing like slowdancing to a Hot Blues tune at the Railhead. Makes you want to grind your feelings right into the person your dancing with. Hopefully I’ll get another chance at it .
    Since reading this article I think i’m going to have to go to all these other establishments to experience other types of musicians and how they perform the blues. Great article hope to read more from this columnist.

  4. Great first column, Linda. Keep them coming. I often kid around about it being tough to be a “geriatric sex symbol,” but as long as those heads keep turning aging nymphs rule…it’s not about getting older…it’s about getting better. Love the column. MORGAN (somewhere between 50 and won’t tell!)

  5. Just had a wonderful chuckle. You have the best taste in music. . . especially the Blues! Wish I was in Las Vegas to hear some of the bands with you. I know your readers will soon be dependant on you for knowing “where it is at”.

  6. If you’re going to become our “About Town Guru” for the geriatric class, how about a series of articles with different genres of interest. For Example, Dixieland Music, Pool Halls with power chair accomodations, Night Life with easy, unblocked access to the “powder rooms,” and finally Geritol tasting and cheese nibbling parties that end at 9 pm.
    Seriously, you sure know how to get the old fogies off their butts and back into the fun.

  7. One thing I’ve learned in the nearly five years I’ve lived in Vegas — there’s something for everyone! Blues or ballet, you can find it within easy driving distance of your own home. I don’t know much about the blues, but I’m thinking about heading to the Railhead and giving it a try. With all due respect to Chuck and his smooth-dancing ways, I’ll probably go with my husband. He’s good company and always up for something new.

  8. I loved this article! Thanks for doing the kind of tough, investigative journalism we’ve come to expect from you. Your column is a real asset to the site. XOXOX

  9. Linda – when you’re ready, I’d love to see you provide this type of info. for us “friends of Dorothy”. You were helpful to me when I lived here and I’d like to share you with others. (You’re much too fabulous for just one genre of people.)
    xoxo, Chuck

  10. Perfect! This is just what I’m looking for. I used to go to clubs like these when I lived in L.A., but didn’t know where to find them here. I can’t wait to check them all out.

    Thanks!

  11. Linda – Very good article. I was one of the musicians who played at the blues association jam. I am always amazed at the level of musicianship at the jams and at the other venues in town. Vegas is fortunate to have some great talent. Kudos also to Charlotte, Rick and the other great board members of the LVBS for doing so much for live music in LV.

    I amy not be as good a hoofer as Chuck but would love to dance with you anytime.

  12. You’re on, Brew!

    I want to let everyone know that this month’s Las Vegas Blues Society open jam will be on Saturday, June 14 from 5-9pm at the Sand Dollar Blues Lounge. I’m going to have to miss it since I’ll be up in Albany, NY (another place with a lively music scene). But next month, for sure!

    Also, check out the Ovation lounge in Green Valley Ranch casino–starting June 20, The Michael Grimm Band will be playing every Friday and Saturday from 6-9pm. I saw this band there a couple of weeks ago–lots of fun! It’s a great showroom and a great scene.

  13. Hi Linda:

    Next time in Vegas, I will track down the Blues places you suggest!
    It’s wonderful to know where the locals go! Great column!

    Tom
    Atlantic Ocean Boy

  14. Linda:
    Great article. I am glad to see people taking in our live Blues scene here in Las Vegas. If you ever get a chance, check out my Blues radio program every saturday night on KUNV 91.5 FM from 5 to 9pm.
    It’s called “Nothin’ But The Blues”. I have been spinning the Blues there for 10 years now.
    Again, great article.
    Brian

  15. Great article Linda!

    Lucille’s totally jams. Getting there by 5 really beats the heat and the beer selection is among the best in Vegas.

    The Boulder Station shows rule too!

    Don’t forget Beauty Bar though. They have some good shows too!

  16. Is this really your first column? Fantastic! I’m glad you decided to write about the blues. I meet you the night of the LVBS Jam at Scoundrels Pub. It was great talking to you.

    In addition to a Bluebeat website, I’m working on the Young Guns of Blues project. And, with help of the Las Vegas Blues Society, hope to get more local youth involved. The website for Young Guns is: http://www.myspace.com/bluesyoungguns Check it out.

    With your permission, I’d like to reproduce the article on Bion’s Bluesbeat. Looking forward to future columns.
    Thanks, Bion

  17. A great article, Linda — how about an update? You perhaps haven’t tried King Tut’s on Jones and Charleston……great place, nice folks and terrific entertainment. My favorite local group is the Moanin’ Black Snakes, and they’re usually at the Sand Dollar on Friday nights and at King Tut’s on Saturdays. I go out on my own quite often, too, and these (as well as the Railhead on Thursday’s — hope they reopen soon!) are places where I’m quite comfortable. We’re so very fortunate to have our Las Vegas Blues Society here to support and promote such great venues and entertainers.

  18. Thanks, Patti! The Railhead is set to re-open in mid-November; in the meantime, the Thursday night blues series is in the Ovation Lounge at Green Valley Ranch–I’m going there tonight! I’ve been meaning to check out King Tut’s, and I’m overdue for a night out at the Sand Dollar. So much fun, so little time…

    For a complete run-down of what’s happening in the Las Vegas blues scene, go to the Las Vegas Blues Society’s website: http://www.lasvegasblues.org.

    Peace, Love and Blues!

  19. Being a bass player, I am looking for a good ( real ) blues band in need of a bass player. I really like the Mississippi Delta blues, not R&B. The old good stuff. Any bands, give me a call. Or e-mail.

  20. I have been looking for a site that will tell what Nite clubs feature live Blues Music in a particular city with links to the bars in that city that show me who is playing where. I am planning a trip to Vegas

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