Jewish Music Mecca in Teaneck Cafe

This week's Jewish Standard uncovers a Jewish Music Mecca in Mexicali Blues, a Teaneck Cafe:

...the acts that come through, said founder Eli Wells, are never intentionally Jewish.

"We are what we are — we’re a live music venue, we’re non-denominational," said Wells, who grew up in New Milford. "We just happen to be in Teaneck, N.J."

What’s most startling about the proliferation of Jewish fans at Wells’ club is that it took so long for somebody local to seize on northern New Jersey’s music-loving Jewish population. Clubs in Manhattan, particularly The Lion’s Den and B.B. King Blues Club & Grill, regularly feature Jewish stalwarts like Soulfarm, the Moshav Band, and Blue Fringe. Those concerts draw fans from the Jersey suburbs, as do the dozens of secular concerts performed nightly in New York.

When Wells moved his business from Cedar Lane to its current location a few years ago, he started booking a couple of bands a week. Booking agents and managers for Jewish bands started calling immediately.

"People realized there was a club in Teaneck," he said. "I didn’t search [Jewish performances] out."

Instead, Jewish acts sought him out. Yossi Piamenta, the ‘chasidic Hendrix,’ estimates that he’s played close to 10 Mexicali Blues concerts in the last two years. The Moshav Band recently played two well-attended concerts, and, as of last week, Soulfarm and Moshav were discussing a later-December Chanukah show.

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