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When compiling this list of things to do, on the cheap, around Chicago, I threw the question out there on my Facebook page.  A variety of answers came back, many of which made the final list, but two friends mentioned The Hideout.  One simply recommended the venue as a great place to see live music acts, and one friend specifically suggested Robbie Fulks. Turns out I should have done more research before I published my list, because Robbie Fulks only plays at The Hideout on Monday nights. Well I am booked up babysitting every Monday night in February, so no Robbie Fulks for me.

However, while looking over the shows they had scheduled for this month I came across one that I thought would either be hilariously awesome, or hilariously terrible: The 2nd Annual Hideout Harmonica Hoedown (how’s that for some alteration).


I knew next to nothing about what this night would entail other than there would be Harmonica’s and the tickets were only ten bucks each.  It wasn’t Robbie Fulks, but it would be something new to try and it would get me to an event at The Hideout, which meant I could cross item number eleven off my list.  It’s kind of a cheat on my part, but in the land of BlairSays I am the boss and I can do what I want.


The venue’s exterior is rather nondescript, with nothing but an Old Style sign and some white Christmas lights to distinguish it as a bar, let alone a live music venue.  The actual performing space feels as if you are in the basement of your friends parents house.  1970’s faux wood paneling with large wall mounted fish above the windows (and a little Disco ball hanging from the ceiling for good measure).

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The program consisted of a variety of acts from solo harmonic performances, to a harmonica backed by a quartet of irish singers, to the most adorably-amazing, fantastically-entertaining, extremely-talented Bud Boblink and the Windy City Harmonica Trio.  Watching them was the highlight of the evening.  Dressed in cherry red polo shirts and navy blazers it was like watching your cute Grandfather and his two best friends onstage.  If your cute Grandfather and his two best friends were amazing harmonica players.  At one point Jürgen looked at me and said “these guys are a treasure.”

They totally are.


What I walked away with from the evening was a newfound appreciation of just how remarkably dynamic the Harmonica can be.  An entire bands worth of sound can be created from one palm-sized instrument, and it takes incredible skill to do just that. Oh and I also walked away with two of my very own Hohner Harmonicas.  At the start of the evening they told us to hold onto our programs because they would be doing a “Golden-ticket type giveaway.”  After intermission concluded they asked us all to flip our programs over to see if the Hohner logo was printed on the back.  Lo, and behold…there it was.


I never win things! I felt just like this:

Who knows, maybe next year I will be a featured musician at the 3rd Annual Hideout Harmonica Hoedown. A gal can dream…