Who did you see at a small club gig that blew you away?


Silver Supporting Member
The Tubes.
I also saw the Tubes in a very small club around 1980. They just rocked the place to the ground! What a great show!

Another that comes to mind was the Ohio Players. They were fantastic as well...


Senior Member
The James Gang in a bar/dance club in Youngstown, OH. Ditto for The Bob Seger System. Sam and Dave in a bar, Iron Butterfly in a bar/dance club in Kent. Some others back then.

Hot Tuna, Moby Grape, Asleep at the Wheel at The Inn of the Beginning in Cotati, CA.

More modern, Albert Collins in small clubs in Berkeley and Oakland CA in the late 80s. Also Stanley Clarke.

Government Mule in a bar in Arcata, CA


The first time I saw Mike Stern at 55 bar, the waiter came over to get us some beers and he asks if we can scoot our table back a few feet because Mike likes to stand here.

No sh!t, if you got up to take a piss, you had to duck under his guitar neck and he would just kinda pull up and out of the way. We basically sat at one of those cocktail tables and he was like the fourth cog in the wheel.

He was as good as it gets, I had seen him before with Miles and at another venue, but this was like having the guy in your living room, you’re sitting on the couch and he’s playing on the far side of the coffee table.

Anyone who’s been to 55 bar know’s what I’m talking about, I think my bedroom as a kid was bigger than the whole bar.


Silver Supporting Member
One of the more interesting ones was at the Double Door in Chicago .. I was enjoying the main act but an older woman in leopard skin pants kept dancing in front of me and bumping into me :rolleyes:
I just wanted to see the guitar player ( whose son was also in the band)
When she realized what’s happening she apologized and offered me a seat at her reserved booth... introducing herself to me as Linda. I asked her what brought her to see this great ( but not exactly mainstream known) guitar player. She said “ oh that’s my son in the band.. and oh yeah ( rolling her eyes) my ex-husband..LOL
And that was how I got a birds eye view and personal introduction to Richard Thompson:)... and yes.. he was fantastic in a way recordings don’t do justice.


Rick Derringer, 1993. Hung out with us after the show, great guy.
Pete Anderson and his band, around 2009. A great player and a nice feller.
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Platinum Supporting Member
Michael Schenker
At a tiny place about a mile from my house.
Got to take my son, who also plays, and had heard of him, but didn't know about his music.

50 people there max, with Doogie White singing.
They did all the old UFO stuff, some Scorps, MSG.
It was amazing, standing there with Michael 5-6' away, on this little 1' high stage watching it go down.

For a guy that grew up in the 70's, listening to force it, stangers in the night etc. it was a surreal experience.

I can't even count how many concerts I've been to over the years....this one will always be the "special" one.


Starcrawler, John Lee Hooker, Racer X, Living Colour(and Soundgarden), Eric Johnson, I Mother Earth, The Scream, Meshuggah(and Animals As Leaders), Lynch Mob, and a whole bunch of other bands.


Gold Supporting Member
I saw X at a small club in LA shortly after Los Angeles was released. They rocked hard, and I’ll never forget Billy Zoom’s perpetual grin.

I was recommended to see Ian Moore by a friend at a small restaurant/bar in my neighborhood; I’d never heard of him, but what a great show. This was late 80’s.


Silver Supporting Member
Chris Whitley in a TINY club in Indy not too terribly long before he passed. He had a frail, yet powerful presence and was gracious, even though playing to about 8 people.
I remember more than eight people but tell me he broke a string that night and I'll tell you I was there, too.



Gold Supporting Member
John Lee Hooker in 1997 or 1998 at a smaller hotel in Sacramento, California.
Bill Frisell in 2008 or 2009 at a venue in Evanston, Illinois.

I can't say that Hooker blew me away, as you say, but the man was in his 80s, so I was glad just to see him play. Frisell, though, was other-worldly.


Miles Davis (Agharta/Pangaea band) - Keystone Korner
Talking Heads - Kresge Coffee House UC Santa Cruz
Germs/Dead Kennedys - Mabuhay Gardens
Nico - Mabuhay Gardens
NRBQ - Last Day Saloon
Living Colour - CBGB
Sonic Youth - Old Knitting Factory
Last Exit - Old Knitting Factory
RL Burnside/T-Model Ford/Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - The Cooler
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