I was approached by a very good friend, to come over to the Blue Velvet NightClub to partake in a "Grand Re-Opening, Special Open Event". It was being hosted by The Southside Syndicate (Venue Owners) in partnership with The Mancini Group (Organizational Gurus) and it featured The Mancini Group's own DJ, VeritasAblaze.
DJ Veritas is described as "Jazzy/Bluesey" so I was looking forward to hearing this 2 hour set. The Dress Code was "Loosely Formal" so I put on my tux, leaving my bow tie open, and Roxie was gorgeous, as always, in her latest Little Black Dress for the occasion.
The venue, is an impressive place, and certainly one that you can call "Uptown"! Its stacked stone and deeply tinted glass panels ooze opulence. When I entered I was struck by the blue coloured palette and theme of the place, complete with a raised dance floor of glass over water, and water fountain features on the walls on each side of the generous stage. The stage is raised an additional step or two above the dance floor. To the left of the dance floor, on that level, is a bar with a full range of drinks, along with a playable pool table. I think I actually whispered "WOW!" to myself as I entered the space for the first time.
I was there early and DJ Veritas came in shortly afterward so we had some time to chat a bit:
He has been a DJ in RL since 1998. Virtually speaking; in places like Utherverse and Second Life, he's been doing some DJ-ing since 2017.
He indicated, that this set he would be playing a mixture of classic style jazz, circa 30's through 50's, postmodern jazz (a mixture of jazz-restyling of modern tracks) and "Electroswing", his specialty.
He indicated his setlist was ready, with a good mix of the classics of jazz, some of the newer remakes of it, and... some "live drop" electroswing."
I took a break to tend to some other responsibilities and returned to the venue just before 3:00pm, the announced start time for the event.
Veritas started right on time with some post modern jazz and it sounded very good, although a severe departure from what I am used to :) There is nothing wrong with expanding one's horizons... so I was approaching the set with an open mind and ready for some great tunes. There were 13 people in the house to get things rolling and most became enthusiastic dancers from beginning to end.
Unfortunately there was a bit of confusion with the stream access and it took some time before a stream from the venue was made available. Veritas took things in stride and went to his own stream, got things running there and handed out the web address. After a few adjustments, we were back into the set and a short time after that, the venue made a dedicated stream available and it was a normal presentation. It took about an hour to get everything sorted out, but no one really noticed and when Veritas gave us the OK to switch back to the venue stream it went smoothly and there were no more tech issues after that. WELL DONE, VERITAS!
DJ Veritas' set started off with an eclectic lineup and he was playing some very good stuff in what I would call the 30's to 50's big band style, like you might hear from Benny Goodman or Glenn MIller. The audience swelled to 15 and there were reports of up to 30 over the 2 hours of the set, so it was a reasonable turn-out for a "reboot" of a venue that had been shut down for some time. A thought crossed my mind concerning the reason for the shut down, but was soon forgotten as the music grabbed me and I found it was difficult to stand still. Rather than fight the feeling I let myself be carried away to a different time, seeing the room filled with interesting characters with cigarettes in the corner of mouths and gorgeous "Molls" in "Glad Rags" effortlessly gliding around the floor with their "Brunos". I thought I caught snippets of their conversations about "Bean Shooters and Button Men and I was wondering why they would be interested in "Lightning in Chicago"?
The set continued with very few comments from Veritas about who and what he was playing, which I would have appreciated. The jazz/big band blues style continued for the entire two hours. It was a fun set and it kept the dancers in the crowd on their feet and enjoying the beat and tempo of the music (including Roxie and I). This whole atmosphere and sounds was definitely a different experience for me and I was thinking that it might be difficult to entice large crowds that want two hours of this genre, non-stop. But the folks that were there seemed to love it.
It seemed that, as things went on, the music changed a little and I suspect it was the presence of some of that "Electroswing" that Veritas had talked about earlier. It had a more modern feel to it and there were definitely more modern instruments used in the tracks that were played for us. If this had been interspersed with some classic blues from some of the old masters like Muddy Waters and his generation, and some more modern Blues/Rock by artists like Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gary Moore, Kenny Wayne Shepard, Beth Hart, etal, the set would appeal to a much larger audience. To have a live artist come in and do a LIVE set of older, "traditional blues and jazz" might be something for the venue to consider as well.
All in All, I think that an evening at the Blue Velvet, with a little more diverse set list, would be a great place to come more regularly. I would also go so far as to say what we saw and heard here was a great experience. If you are into a "period venue" complete with a few cool cats and gorgeous dames, and an upscale place to have some fun dressing to the 9's and dance up a storm, this place is the bee's knees!
A BIG THANK YOU to DJ VERITAS for an interesting set!
And Two BIG THANK YOUs: TO THE SOUTH SIDE SYNDICATE (Mr. Paine) FOR THIS AWESOME VENUE AND TO THE MANCINI GROUP (Mr. Vincent Corleone) FOR ORGANIZING SOMETHING VERY SPECIAL AND OFF THE BEATEN TRACK!
WELL DONE EVERYONE!
Honourable mentions out to Candace, Vendetta, Puddin', Arianna, Ling & all the Crew Members!