The Chickenheads sure clean up nice

When we last checked in with the Chickenhead Blues Band around this time last year, they had just laid to rest their long-standing Thursday night gigs of electric blues at DÆ?ÂŒrty Nelly's, which had grown over the years to become one of Charlottesville's standbys. A year later, they're still ticking, but their surroundings look remarkably different.

"We're staying quite busy," says bassist Vic Brown. "We're always taking on weddings and private functions and whatever else comes up. I guess we thought it would drop off after Nelly's."

But when it didn't, the Chickenheads found themselves in the land of corporate gigs and wine tastings, where the expectations tend to be a little more highbrow.

"We play a lot of songs," says Brown, "so usually we can reach in and play something that's a little more suited for the occasion." Sometimes the clients will have special requests, but Brown says any changes to the set list are short-lived: "After we do that, we can go back home and do what we do best. When you get the Chickenheads, you know what you're getting."

This weekend is no exception, even with a high-profile gig like Fridays After Five on the schedule: "This is going to be an exceptionally busy weekend," says guitarist Aric van Brocklin, "because we're playing Fridays After Five, then we're playing Fellini's the same evening, and then Wintergreen Winery the next day."

It's hard to imagine the former DÆ?ÂŒrty Nelly's staples swishing merlot between sets with pinkies raised, but Brown says they've managed to rise to the challenge. "We have to put it on a little bit every now and then," he says, "but nothing huge, just a little more presentable. We don't all come in wearing tuxes."
The Chickenhead Blues Band performs at Fridays After Five on July 4. The Rogan Brothers open.