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Robert Johnson sold his soul for prodigious skill on the guitar. B.B. King was already pretty good, so he ended up with... a Midtown mega club? Just kidding, don't worry about B.B. King's soul, it's fine. B.B. King's Blues Club and Grill actually plays host to plenty of great shows than span a variety of eras and genres. Occasionally, forever-awesome names play B.B. King's (like, say, Al Green) and if you can navigate the block from Times Square without having a panic attack, perhaps you'll appreciate the club's weirdly unifying allure. Said charm earned the "Best club to sit with tourists named Sven and see forgotten bands" from this very publication. Due to its proximity to the teeming, glowing epicenter of NYC-tourism, the venue was conceived to endure a constant barrage and thus provide a steady stream of musical entertainment. The day-to-day talent involves cover bands, soul-tributes, and Beatles-themed brunches. Since it's in Midtown, B.B. King’s is expensive, oversized, dripping in neon, and the attached restaurant-venue Lucille's doesn't serve the most "authentic" BBQ. However, the Harlem blues and gospel revues play the best regular gigs, and just because the longhairs have become gray hairs doesn’t mean they aren't still killer performers. The namesake guitar legend is in his late 80s now, but he still performs and occasionally drops in on his club. --Alex Spoto
Forty-three years after forming ZZ Top, Billy Gibbons is trying to unlearn almost everything he knows about music. Everything except the psychedelic foundation he laid with his former group, the Moving Sidewalks, long before the famous beard... More »
If the Diplomats—for tonight’s purposes that’s Harlem rappers Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones, and Freekey Zeekey—celebrated every anniversary, they’d be performing shows like this every week. For half a decade, the group’s music, filled with... More »
When it comes to dancehall dons Beenie Man and Mr. Vegas, few have been so good for so long. The former was still a child when he released his debut, The Invincible Beenie Man: The Ten Year Old DJ Wonder, and scored his first international hit... More »
ZERO STARS!!! My wife and I went to see what looked like a great avant garde jazz show featuring Cassandra Wilson as the headliner with an under card featuring James Blood Ulmer. James played only 2 songs and left due to a loud, persistent buzz in the PA. system. After a delay, 2 entertaining bands from the Delta, Tawanna Shante and the Paper Clip Scientists played a rousing but curiously overlong set.
Sound quality was unprofessional to say the least, and there was a very lengthy break before the "headliner" Ms. Wilson came to the stage. We were shocked and disgusted by what then transpired. The group that was supposed to be backing Ms. Wilson, "Harriet Tubman", glibly informed us that they had barely rehearsed with her - on Skype - and proceeded to loudly overplay her to the point where she just stood by and watched them. They did four uneven, lousy songs and left the stage.
I'm a native New Yorker, and I must say I felt absolutely suckered by the debacle. Combine this musical disaster with slow service, overpriced food and drink and the false advertising done to promote the show and you have a pair of music lovers who will never set foot in this venue again. Buyer beware of this tourist trap - it's a disgrace to its namesake!
OK, I know you might have that Disney- Times Square bug-up-your-ass thing, but believe me, good times can be had at midtown monster B.B. KING BLUES CLUB & GRILL, with its eclectic choices of bands, from whatever-happened-to acts like the Zombies and Animals to Mr. King himself. Watch over martinis, at a table shared with a guy from Holland. More »
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