Mighty Blue Kings

Continental Club

Sunday, July 28 Ross Bon, singer and leader of the Chicago swing ensemble Mighty Blue Kings, is on the Left Coast, "out and about trying to do our thing," but the important question is where can you get a decent Polish dog in the Second City?

"You got the Maxwell Street Polishes or Ukranian Village," says Bon. "That's one thing about Chicago, so many restaurants."

When they're not chowing on the Windy City's unbelievable food, Bon and the rest of the septet travel the country, turning folks on to this simple fact: Swing's the thing. Their thing. Since a very well-received showcase here during SXSW, the Kings have established what amounts to an unofficial residency at the Continental Club, bringing some of that Chicago flavor to the heart of Texas.

"A lot of people say the Windy City has a lot of influence on the whole swing scene which is probably true," he says. "People are just looking for something new and exciting, an alternative music to what's happening. It's a celebration style of music instead of protest. When people come out to our shows, one of the compliments we always get is we look like we're having a good time."

Dixieland, big band, a little bit of blues, all are things found on the band's indie debut, Meet Me in the Uptown, where tenor and baritone saxes meet stand-up bass, piano and hollow-body guitars, and everything comes out smellin' like a rose and soundin' like a good night in 1939. Last time they were in town, Bon and Co. wound up on the Continental's stage with members of Casino Royale and 81/2 Souvenirs for what amounted to a swinging extravaganza. The Kings are certainly sold on Austin, that's for sure.

"I sense a good vibe about it," he says. "People really appreciate good music. That's something I've seen in Austin -- people are good musicians and entertainers. That's one thing I think is lacking today, is that sense of entertainment. [Music] is just trying to connect with people."

-- Christopher Gray [Mighty Blue Kings also open for Ronnie Dawson at the Continental Club, Saturday, July 27]

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