One of my grandfathers disappeared on his wedding night. Not for good though, he arrived back shortly after midnight to his bride of less than 24 hours, and before she could say anything he poured a hat-full of gold sovereigns over her, enough to buy two blocks of land in Ivanhoe.
He was a gambler, and a good one. He stuck to games of skill, and apart from that really big wedding night win, kept to small stakes. Solo was a favourite of the family – sixpence a solo. It’s an old game now, doesn’t need extra cards like 500, and doesn’t rely on weird coded bids like bridge.
Games of chance, on the other hand, are always loaded in favour of the house – they never lose. You know the sort, they depend on spinning reels or little balls. They reel you in and then you find it’s all balls!
A Deakin statistician once told me that you can improve your odds of winning a lottery very, very slightly by buying a ticket. Roulette is probably the king of the ball games, but there’s one version of roulette where you can be sure of winning – Pistol Pete’s Blues Roulette.
Now, I’ve been seeing this entry come past me on the gig list for some time, and I figured it was time to get the details, and to do that I went along to Pete’s, ordered a Cajun Burger and a Southern Bay Lager, and quizzed the man.
This is one of Pete’s ideas for adding a swag of mystery and surprise to his line-up and to present some headliners in a tantalisingly different way. It’s a very interesting recipe.
First up, take a very seasoned back line as the basis of the event. In this case Pete has Ben Wicks on bass, and Scotty Bennett on drums. Ben “any gig not on a boat” Wicks is as much at home playing bass for 2,000 in Brizvegas as he is in the snug surroundings at Pete’s.
Scott Bennett has played around Melbourne and beyond with quite a variety of band and players. He even got a write-up in the New York Music Daily for some work he did with Sean Kershaw, Sweet Felicia and Justin Ridge: “The contrast between the echoey electric guitar with the brushy acoustic and the cymbals enhances the menace.”
Second, put these two together with a featured blues muso up-front, scramble together with minimal rehearsing, and stand back!
So here’s a roll call of the people who have featured in Pistol Pete’s Blues Roulette this year: Paul Slattery, Justin Yap, Nardia Brancatisano, Anna Sconti, Jules Boult, Matt Dwyer, Bill Barber, Zevon Hiltz, Michael Pollitt, and Mike Elrington.
You’d have to admit that this is probably the closest thing to a sure bet that you could find even if you trawled every RSL and TAB from one side of the country to the other. Pistol Pete’s Blues Roulette takes place every Thursday fortnight, take the gamble!
Written by John Lamp