“After our first gig wearing ties, it was amazing how differently we were treated,” recalls Olde Blue frontman Yeshe Jackson.
“People just parted ways when we were walking through, like, ‘Oh, you must be official.’ The bouncers waved us right through, the bartender said, ‘Oh, you guys are the band, you need some drinks?’ At the end of the night the owner got us our check right away … everything just went so smoothly.”
The three members of the Santa Cruz band now adhere to a formal dress code, but their commitment to professionalism extends beyond the uniform. “We’ve really learned how to work with club owners,” says drummer Marcus Thayer. “It’s not just about us, it’s a partnership; when we were teenagers it was like, ‘This is it! This is our show!’ But if we’re not playing in concert halls, we’re going to work with the venue—get people drinking and having a good time.”
Inspired by the Blues Brothers, their style and attitude match their classic sound. Influences include Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy, and any given set features several covers, but always with a twist. “We tend to play all the old blues covers with a little more energy. The slapping stand-up bass gives our songs a more upbeat feeling, an almost rockabilly vibe,” says Jackson.
Their own sets range from lively to laid-back, making Olde Blue a natural fit for restaurants and brew houses—or, as Jackson puts it, “Anywhere people are drinking.” Bassist Morgan Monticue agrees: “Exactly. There’s nothing too complex about the music we’re playing … It’s a good drinking, good foot-stomping time.”
INFO: Olde Blue plays every Tuesday night at Hoffman’s Bistro downtown. 1102 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz. Free. 420-0135.