Sunday night, we braved the elements and journeyed over to Blueberry Hill for an evening of Rock Band. Not to be confused with School of Rock, which is what it really is. The actor Jack Black first burst upon the movie scene with his captivating performance in the John Cusack vehicle, High Fidelity, but he really stole the show when he starred as a ne’er-do-well faux substitute teacher, who channels his passion for rock-and-roll and finds salvation, all the while dispensing a truly novel education. It is this educational experience that STL Rock Band attempts to duplicate. Our next-door neighbors Ethan and Gracie are both participants in this program. Hence our attendance.
The venue at the rock-and-roll bar Blueberry Hill was its downstairs black-box concert space called the Duck Room. Like the rest of this iconic U-City bar, the Duck Room is outfitted with lots of owner Joe Edwards’ eclectic memorabilia. In this place though there is only one theme, ducks, but I suspect that its name is really more derived from the “look out” connotation for that word, then with waterfowl. This was my first time in the Duck Room, although while dinning above it, I have felt its rumbling pulse before. Earplugs would have been a welcomed addition to this visit.
I have described Blueberry Hill as a rock-and-roll bar, but years ago, on a similar wintery night, our then 5-year-old son Dan cast aspersions upon the place and called it a cowboy bar. This occasion involved his visiting grandparents, my in-laws. I had just pulled up to the door with the intent of dropping off my carload of passengers, when Dan asked/announce in his little, yet booming voice, “You’re not taking me to another cowboy bar are you?” Both Anne and I were mortified. We later deciphered that his misinterpretation of our intentions was due to another one of Joe Edwards’s collections. Just inside the door was a display case full of Howdy Doody memorabilia.
For many of the bands it was a good thing that Simon Cowell and his buzzer were not present. Think elementary school recital, but with amplified electronic instrumentation. Some soloists turned to more volume, as a substitute for more talent, like up to eleven. Still, as the night wore on, the succession of rock bands increased in both age and musicality.
Of special note to us, Gracie was up first, with her all girl group, Girl Chat. Their set concluded with the seasonal Chuck Berry tune, Run, Run Rudolph, which was a nice touch, seeing that they were playing on the same stage that Berry had graced on many occasions and up to the last year of his life. Like him, Gracie played guitar. We took a break upstairs for dinner and then it was Ethan’s turn on stage. Fat Doug was the name of his group and Ethan acquitted himself well on both keys and bass. Then it was back out into the snow. It had been both an enjoyable and educational evening. Rock-on!