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– “Moustache Single’s Bar” – Shane Porter

October 22, 2012

We have a new regular gig. I don’t even know where or if I’d be able to find a job like this in Kentucky. I’d heard a few different things about “Moustache Single’s Bar” before we went there to play.  That it is a strip club, then hearing it was brothel, then strip club again.

The truth is that it’s not either. On the way there I pictured in my head a place back home called “Shenanigans” and I figured a place with a comparably ridiculous name would be similar, and I wondered why they wanted a jazz group to play.  But “Moustache” is really more like a Burlesque scene, with an expensive cover charge, wide varieties of whiskey, girls in fishnets and leotards and waiters in fancy vests who hold a tray up with one hand and keep the other tight against their back. The only thing that didn’t remind me of Vegas club in the fifties was the music; it was usually either pop dance music or hard blues. I suppose that’s why we were called for our services.

What surprised me more than getting the job was the response from the patrons and workers. It was meant to be gangster-themed night, and we were instructed to play music from the golden age of American gangsters. They also specifically asked us not to play any bossa; at a club in Brazil, we were prohibited from playing Brazilian music. But the shift from Stevie Ray Vaughan to the American Songbook went well, as “The Godfather” began playing on the television sets and we launched into old jazz tunes. But our repertoire began to shift to other eras, and the crowd went with the flow.  Girls would dance to everything from “After You’ve Gone” to “Chameleon”. I mean, I suppose they’re paid to, but I’d say that dancing in a conga line to Herbie Hancock goes above and beyond the call of duty. Not all the girls there are dancers. Prostitutes would come in, sit down at tables and wait for men to talk to them. Standing around outside, we saw one, probably a few years older than me, leaving with a middle-aged man. She dropped something off in her car before they drove off in his.  We noticed how nice her car was.

This job is definitely an experience, lacking the sterility of a wallpaper gig at a restaurant, or the formality of a recital. It almost felt like a place from the 40’s until I remembered that no one was speaking English. Anyway, it was interesting, or at least interesting enough for me to write a whole blog entry about it.

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