If the blues is your genre of music then the Upper Deck Sports Lounge is the place to be on the weekends, as it hosts a variety of talent just waiting to entertain.
Walking into the lounge, the first sight to see is the small stage next to the entrance, occupied by the Deb Rhymer Band. It’s hard to fathom how such a small space can hold such a big sound.
The next thing you’ll notice is dozens of people already there, covered in smiles and bursting with conversation, or on the dance floor jamming with the band. It seems that no one is a stranger when they come to the lounge.
Deb Rhymer, the lead singer of the band, is also the director of the Victoria Blues Society. Her band hosts the Sunday Blues Jam at the lounge where blues players from around the community can come and pick up instruments and jam with people they may have never even played with before.
Rhymer is also starting a new monthly venue in May at the lounge: Saturday Night Juke Joint.
Juke joints were created in the South by African Americans to play blues music where everyone could dance and have a place to enjoy music and became the voice of the blues, says Rhymer.
“(The) Saturday Night Juke Joint is a great way to show the image of the venue we want,” says Rhymer on why she is helping to create the event.
“We want intimate, dancing and great music,” she adds.
There are at least 15 blues bands in Victoria and others up Island that Rhymer hopes to recruit for the Juke Joint.
The blues seem very popular within Victoria, and events are always busy, she says.
Rhymer is hoping for the first Juke Joint event to sell out. So far a third of the tickets have been sold for the first show, which will be host to Suzie Vinnick, a Juno Award nominee and Maples Blues Award winner.
The first show will be held 8 p.m., Sat. May 4, at the Upper Deck Sports Lounge at 229 Gorge Road. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. You can buy tickets at the Sunday Blues Jam at the Upper Deck Sports Lounge or at Lyle’s Place at 770 Yates St.