Written by James Killen
On Fridays the Shakespeare’s Pub on Memorial Drive’s west side of town, a patron can enjoy happy hour with Houston blues guitarist, the Mighty Orq. On the last Friday of the month, patrons get an even happier hour as the Orq is joined by Barry Deepen (keyboards), Jeremy Pierce (drums) and Westside Johnny on the bass, otherwise known as the unusuals.
The show starts at 6 PM or thereabouts in a room that is as dark as a cave, that plays classic blues-rock between sets, and displays some classic rock photos and posters on the wall. There are dart boards and pool tables for entertainment after the show and a clientele that ranges from middle aged to middle aged plus, a welcome respite from the millennials. Shakespeare’s along with The Big Easy is one of the sanctuaries for the blues, offering a stage for area blues performers, of which The Mighty Orq certainly is one.
This Friday, the Orq kicked off the show with a lively instrumental. He pulled heavily from his last two discs, “Love in a Hurricane” and “Soulful City”, hitting on “Carry Me Home”, “The Possum Song” and “Love in a Hurricane”. The band waxed a bit country, covering Hank Williams, “I Saw the Light”. The dance floor filled up as the band touched on the old Ventures instrumental, “Tequila”.
The band didn’t always stay behind the Mighty Orq’s blazing guitar work. Both Barry on keyboards and Westside Johnny on bass stepped forward to deliver some real boogie solos. The band went on to play “Houston Blues” before the rest of the band stepped from the stage long enough for the Orq to put down some fine traditional acoustic blues. The band retook the stage in time to do a unique cover of Paul Simon’s “Graceland”.
The band went full tilt big sound with “Boogy Man” featuring some fine guitar and keyboard distortion. By this time the dance floor was staying full as patrons danced off the stress of a work week and the band just drove on. Finally, the Mighty Orq picked up his three string cigar box banjo and a slide to deliver “John the Revelator” as his finale for this happy hour performance.
Folks this fun reoccurs monthly for a good old fashioned knock the week’s dust off happy hour. The Orq and the Unusuals presiding over the festivities, makes Shakespeare’s a preferred destination for these special Fridays. Hope to see you there soon.