I was in London (Marble Arch) on Wednesday night, staying over for a conference on Thursday. Looking for something to do, I took a walk along Oxford Street looking for a bar that was supposed to have an open mic night – I’d hoped to be able to sing a few tunes. When I got there, the night had become a Smooth jazz night at £10 a ticket – not for me. Returning briefly to the hotel to use the facilities, I checked Facebook and saw that I had a message from Jamie Hailstone, friend, music writer, reviewer and more. Although he had never been, he recommended the Charlotte Street Blues Bar, as it was fairly close to where I was staying. A quick squint on google maps pointed me in the right direction, and off I went.
Every Wednesday there is a blues jam session, and, if I’d been aware of it earlier, I might have got there in time to get my name on the list (next time!).
As it was, I got there just after 10 and stayed till the music stopped around midnight. In that space of time I saw 5 or 6 different collections of blues musicians – some from the house band too – playing a wide selection of blues. The standard was really very good – the house band obviously tight and well skilled in backing other musicians, and there were 3 or 4 good vocalists, as well as quite a few excellent guitar players.
As well as the blues jam, there are shows too by travelling UK & US blues musicians, so I’ll certainly try and get there again the next time I’m in London. The website is here.