Tucson Jams: A jam session with Deacon doesn't always live up to the hype

Tucson jam power hour at Chicago Bar is a total hit-or-miss, especially when Jam Session with Deacon takes the stage

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Alex McIntyre | The Daily Wildcat

Dave Mick strums his guitar and sings during Deacon's jam session at Chicago Bar on Tuesday, April 12. Other performers at Tuesday's jam session inculded Yamica Peterson, Paul Kalmen, Ricky Lee and Bryan Dean.

The evening started as it ended: inconvenient and confusing.

The entrance to Chicago Bar is around the building and through a crowd of smoke and outdoor guests. Don’t expect a reward for your efforts.

Deacon, who didn’t want to reveal his last name, "because everyone knows him by Deacon anyway," led the jam session.

“It’s amazing the talent you get out of here,” Deacon said.

He then quickly defaulted to insulting the bar, calling it an “upholstered toilet.”

The music started playing and instantly each musician struggled to take the lead, hungrily turning up their personal volumes at the expense of the group. Dave Mick, a guitarist and singer, stepped to the front and yelled out chords when the changes arrived, but each musician selfishly fought for the spotlight, so the chords sloppily changed over three or four measures.

They were aiming for a bluesy-rock, but landed somewhere among pimply-high-schooler-buys-a-guitar-and-amp-to-unsuccessfully-woo-other-pimply-high-schooler. 

Mick, wrapped in a tight, stained Marilyn Monroe tank top and garnered with a puka shell necklace, fell out for a few measures to fiddle with the settings on his amp.

“I don’t like coming to these things,” Mick said, with beer-fueled spit flying out at each consonant.

Mick doesn’t like being paired with people he doesn’t know or, as some musicians call it, attending a jam session. Deacon stepped up after a few songs and directed a new group to take the stage, alleviating the audience from the noise of jam session number one.

The audience was granted a few moments of respite when Yamica Peterson and Paul Kalmen individually took the small stage. The bands became seamless when they begin singing and played together as they should. Sadly, neither Peterson nor Kalmen stayed long.

In the midst of the music, a man walked in front of my chair, spread his arms wide and “cawed” like a bird. Ten minutes later, Ricky Lee was singing on stage. Lee later told me I’m “pretty cute for a he-she,” smoothly melding the worst aspects of “creep” and “offensive jerk.”

Lee quite incorrectly referred to himself as “the King of rock ‘n roll” multiple times throughout the night.

The second group of jammers almost made up for the terrible company and tunes that arrived that evening. Bryan Dean, local musician from the Bryan Dean Trio, sat down on a stool and helped carry the group. The group sounded smooth, professional and the members sounded like they were having fun. It turns out this gig is completely hit-or-miss and the bar has a few jam session fans.

Jean Rojo comes every Tuesday night to dance.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” Rojo said. “I love the talent and I like the vibe.”

And what is this so-called vibe Rojo talked about?

“Smoke dope in the parking lot, make music in the building,” Deacon said.


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