London blues fans and musicians are being called out to gather Saturday to help one of their own.
Robbie Antone, a harmonica player and blues songwriter, suffered a heart attack over the summer and will go into hospital Oct. 17 for a triple bypass operation.
Saturday, a benefit is being held from 4 to 8 p.m. at 765 Old East Bar & Grill, where Antone hosts a weekly open mic, to raise funds to help him financially while he recovers.
Antone will be at the benefit.
There will be an open mic format, complimentary appetizers and the bar has a full menu that is getting rave reviews on social media.
“This is the blues community looking after its own,” said London promoter Brian Mortimer, who books many of the blues acts into city clubs.
“Robbie’s been around for 30 years and I think he deserves our support. Robbie always turns out to help other people in need and it’s going to be quite a while before he’ll be able to play that harmonica again. He’s a good guy and a great player and he writes some great songs.”
Robbie Antone’s Blues Machine represented the Great Lakes Blues Society at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in 2012, reaching the semifinals while competing against some of the most talented up-and-coming blues musicians in the world.
The Society’s Greg Simpson, chair of publicity, urged members to attend the benefit, which will be the same open mic format as Antone regularly hosts.
“Robbie Antone has been an integral part of the London blues scene for a very long time and we encourage London blues lovers to support this show,” said Simpson. “And, speaking personally, as a survivor of the same procedure, I wish him nothing but the best,”
Wayne Mann, a London drummer and editor of the Blues News for Mortimer’s Karma Productions, said London’s music community regularly turns out to help their own in similar circumstances and urged others to bring their instruments and play.
“As we all know, musicians do not have sick pay or disability insurance to help them through illness or an extended recovery period so we are coming together to offer our help,” said Mann.
“Hopefully people will come out and make a donation. Needless to say, Robbie’s scared and anxious as we all would be in such circumstances. He doesn’t have a steady income.”
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IF YOU GO
What: Fundraising Benefit Open-Mic Blues Jam for Robbie Antone.
When: 4 p.m. Saturday.
Where: 765 Old East Bar & Grill, 765 Dundas St.
Admission: Free, although donations accepted.
Have a good time