“Welcome to Susie’s Saloon…” The words are sung, not spoken, in a warm drawn-out rasp like honey over sandpaper. Blondie Chaplin has a voice that can fill arenas ‘til the furthest rows feel like he’s singing just for them, but on the evening of 11th April 2012 the performer showed that he is equally at home in a grassroots venue. Amsterdam canal-side bar Susie’s Saloon was packed to capacity for the first anniversary celebrations of ArTicks Gallery and Art Consultancy, with the performance of legendary singer and guitarist Blondie Chaplin as the high point.
Rock ‘n’ roll jam session
Only two days after playing Amsterdam’s Melkweg venue, Blondie treated the smaller but perhaps even more enthusiastic crowd to a semi-acoustic set featuring his original material and a “proper Sixties rock ‘n’ roll jam session”, as one audience member enthused. As a former Beach Boy who went on to play with The Rolling Stones and The Band, Blondie Chaplin is certainly a performer who knows how to make a jam session as dynamic and enjoyable for the audience as it is for the participants – certainly a rare talent and sure sign of a consummate professional.
Loyal locals and major names
Joining Blondie on bongos and bass respectively were long-time session drummer Johnny Contini, and Franklin Madjid, formerly of Dutch psychedelic rock heroes Tee-Set. Susie’s Saloon hosts occasional spontaneous jam sessions and informal live music evenings, but seldom featuring such major names. Though tourists are welcome, Susie’s has a fiercely loyal clientele of locals, and this was partly the reason that ArTicks Gallery owner and e-business expert Joe Spencer chose it as a venue.
Party as thanks for support
“We’ve had a lot of support from friends and neighbours in Amsterdam during our first year, and we wanted to party with them!” he cheerfully explained, before being pulled to the mike by the aptly named Big Franky for a few words to the cheering crowd. Blondie Chaplin’s warm throaty croon fills the air again, and there can be no doubt that everyone in the bar definitely feels welcome.
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Visit the Blondie Chaplin Homepage for news, tours and music.