The next cab off the rank in our jam feature series is … WE BUMS JAM!
That’s the West End folks — on the 2nd Friday of the month.
It’s at a place called “Hope on Boundary Cafe” at 170 Boundary St West End.
That’s in Boundary Street, just up from the Vulture Street intersection heading towards Highgate Hill.
It’s licensed, it sells coffee and food, and it’s got a relaxed pleasant décor.
What else could you ask for? Music of course!
The WE BUMS jam is not new. It’s an oldie. It was started by a couple called Geoff and Francesca (everyone calls her Cesca) over 8 years ago at the Blackstar Café in Thomas Street, West End. It ran there until 2017, when they decided to move to the current address in Boundary Street.
The current venue has an interesting history, which also provides a little insight into some previous confusion over where the jam is, which is why I highlighted the name and address.
This café itself was started by a not-for-profit organisation called Micah Projects, which provides hands-on work opportunities in the hospitality industry for those facing barriers to employment. The original café was set up in Hope Street, South Brisbane. But the organisation also opened up this second café in Boundary Street, West End.
I don’t know about you, but the word “serendipitous” comes to mind about a café to help the unemployed starting up in Hope Street.
WE BUMS jam has a history of being small and intimate. It also has a record of running with a theme for the night, for example “rain” or “sea”. Cesca said it was a great way of learning a new repertoire of songs.
Anyway, Geoff and Cesca needed a break, so they came to see Max – I think it was about a year ago. Geoff and Cesca still have their fingers in the pie, and are happy to step back in and give Max a break if he needs one. I think Max has set up a roster, and you risk getting a big slobbery kiss from our Presidento if you offer to lead a WE BUMS set.
But, hey, why not? Give him a call.
So, WE BUMS is an acoustic jam, set up in the outdoor area in front of the café. It’s a delightful venue with a (wait for it) casual tropical feel again. You come straight into the jam off the street, so it attracts the odd passer-by.
There were about 20 people there on a balmy summer night for my visit in February. You can tell from the shirt that Max is wearing that it’s not a black tie affair.
The good thing about a small group like this is that you don’t have to follow a script … and guess what … we certainly didn’t. Many’s the time we said let’s skip that for now, that’s too hard, we’ll do that one later, or let’s stop to get a beer. Steve Sandilands was there to help us keep rhythm, sing in tune, and add a bit of fun and devil-may-care to everything we did.
What did we sing? (What didn’t we sing, more like it.) The Beatles, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Janis Joplin, Blame it on the Bossa Nova, Sway, Love Potion No. 9, Mac the Knife, Everly Brothers, Fleetwood Mac, Harry Belafonte, Hank Williams etc. It was a good old singalong. We all sang lustily, and had a good time. It’s a great way to finish a hard week’s yakka. And surprisingly, I didn’t have too much trouble getting a park there.