When R.L. Burnside played a show recently at Bethesda’s Twist & Shout, owner-manager Marc Gretschel saw that the old-time bluesman, who has recorded and toured with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, was surprisingly popular among the college set. So he had an inspiration: Why not do even more to introduce generation Xers to
the blues heritage they missed out on?
“It’s true that John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley are doing
TV advertisements,” Gretschel says. “But that does not mean that people are buying well-annotated boxed sets of Mercury
or Chess sessions.” So Gretschel decided to go one step further: He’s inviting anybody under 30 to three of his club’s blues concerts
“The last few times we’ve had R.L., there’s been a lot better mix of ages, because Spencer draws an alternative audience,” Gretschel said. “As much as I like R.L., there are plenty of other deserving bluesmen who young people don’t know aboutand I think if they did, they’d enjoy them, too. So the basic idea is to try out some of these acts with no risk to the customer. I guess it’s kind of a weird spin on a ladies’ night promotion.”
The first concert in the series was by Sonny Rhodes last Saturday. The two remaining ones are on Friday, June 20, with Anson Funderburgh and Sam Myers, and Saturday, June 21, with Mem Shannon and the Membership. Both shows begin at 9:30 p.m. All that’s needed is a valid ID showing that you’re under 30.