Sometimes, your friends go through nasty breakups, lose their jobs, or just have a run of bad luck. When this happens, don’t join them in a pity party. Instead, embrace their blue mood by treating them to an evening of live blues music. It’s the perfect way to remind your broken-hearted brother that the rough times will pass, and brighter days are just around the corner.
To catch some of the best blues in Chicago, make your way to Buddy Guy’s Legends. You may have to venture off the beaten path to get there, but it’s worth the effort. After all, this soulful spot happens to be where The Rolling Stones kicked off a major American tour by playing an unannounced set with Muddy Waters. So yeah, it’s pretty special.
Walk through the doors and pause to take in the atmosphere of this 25-year-old concert hall. Bottles of liquor and guitars donated by musical legends line the wall behind the see-through bar. Order an extra-dry martini for your friend as you look at the photos of past greats that sit beneath the glass. Then take a table near the back and close your eyes while you listen to the sound of the mournful guitar and saxophone filling the room, bringing the pain and sorrow to a cathartic crescendo before ending on a lighter, more hopeful note.
If you’re lucky, you may convince your bummed-out buddy to eat something here. The Louisiana-style smothered catfish and andouille sausage jambalaya both have enough heat to get you sweating. But then again, the catfish po-boy might be just the thing to get your poor little boy to crack a smile at the irony of it all.
If you’re visiting in January, get tickets to one of the shows that Chicago blues legend Buddy Guy himself plays during the month. His brain-peeling guitar riffs and notorious onstage banter is bound to bring out a smile. At any other time of year, the famous Chess Records staple and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee will still make an impression on you with his live blues booking prowess.
Whether you see Buddy himself, or an act deemed worthy enough to grace his stage, you’re in for a treat with the emotionally-rich punch that only live blues can deliver. No matter how you feel walking into Buddy Guy’s, it’s impossible to leave without feeling a whole lot better.