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The narrow, beer-stained cavern on the ground floor of an unassuming canal-side property is in fact a rock and blues venue of international renown. Acts have included Joe Cocker and the Blasters and walls are covered with photos of famous blues icons who have played there, but on a day to day level expect roster of minor touring acts from the US and Europe, the dirtier side of the international rockabilly scene, rootsy singer-songwriters and punk poets.
As you enter, there was the old familiar long bar run by Patrick, the son of the proprietor, Jur Scherpenzeel. When I inquired about his father’s welfare, he nodded toward the heavy double doors of the inner sanctum, where they play the music. As I opened the portal, there was Jur, as usual, on the left manning both the bar and mixing board console. He looked a bit older but his vestigial jelly roll with accompanying D.A. was still perfectly coiffed. He immediately recognized me and my longtime significant other and motioned for us to sit down. In fact, so glad he was to see us, he wouldn’t take any money for the drinks. Since it was already 10:30, he told us that the jam would kick off soon with his other son, Marcel, performing solo. I was already familiar with Marcel’s incredible string bending talents having been given one of his CDs on a prior excursion to Amsterdam. But to hear his brand of Texas blues up close and personal was a rare treat. But his mini-concert was merely the first of many top notch blues players, including woman guitarist, who was very determined to hold her own against the predominantly male rivalries.