Standing Room Only: Thursday Nights at Blues City Deli

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Brian Heffernan
Miss Jublilee fronts the six-piece band with unlimited stamina for her Transatlantic-entertainer stage-smile while drummer Dan Connor directs the band through arrangements by the Oliver Sain Orchestra, Katherine Baker and Ruth Brown. He calls out, "High register! High register during the solo! Yeah!" to Lawrence Welby as the bassist slides his left-handed walk farther up the fretboard to sonically make way for clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Chloe Feoranzo.

They forego the usual 7 o'clock set break and make sandwich orders from stage -- Delta Bayou on a kaiser roll, some of that bread pudding. The crowd swings, tight-quartered up front, claps in back and Miss Jubilee spins and shucks through the audience, tip jar overhead, before wrapping this set up and driving off to their next.

Vince Valenza, the owner, receives as big of an applause as any solo tonight (and damn, Feoranzo had a few). He's been running these free blues sessions from behind the register for nearly five years, but he tosses the recognition back to the audience. "The crowd here," he says. "It's almost like a team. You put the right band in here--they throw it to the crowd, they throw it right back--it's pretty cool."

It's hard to find a seat with a crowd like that. Gotta get there early.

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Brian Heffernan
The view from outside Blues City Deli on Thursday evening.

Location Info

Blues City Deli

2438 McNair Ave., St. Louis, MO

Category: Music

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