Big Mike & the Blu City All Stars

St. Louis Blues, Memphis Soul, New Orleans Funk

Michael “Big Mike” Aguirre (“ah-gear-ray) is an American guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and bandleader from St. Louis. From a young age, Aguirre set out with his electric guitar and an ambitious goal: to learn the blues by playing with musicians from all corners of St. Louis, from his native East Side to haunts along Natural Bridge and West Florissant, where he supported artists such as Big George Brock, Boo Boo Davis, Blues Boy Bubba, Barbara Carr, Oliver Sain, Willie Johnson, Willie “Al” Green, Arthur Williams, Charles Hunt, Roland Johnson, Eugene Johnson and many others.

Determined to earn the respect of the musicians he idolized and shared the stage with (not to mention the savvy and discerning audiences accustomed to excellent live music in St. Louis), he relentlessly honed his craft night after night, year after year, before eventually fronting his own band. Not content to limit himself to playing with a handful of musicians, he formed the Blu-City All Stars (the name itself a shout out to its initial residency on St. Louis’s historic Delmar Boulevard in U-City), a vehicle to showcase the immense breadth and depth of talented musicians in St. Louis. In doing so, he developed his own talents as a passionate and engaging vocalist, guitarist and bandleader.

He has since developed a reputation as one of St. Louis’ most dynamic live performers on club stages and music festivals in St. Louis and abroad. These days Aguirre is most often found on that fertile strip of South Broadway, where he holds down the Sunday night social at the Beale on Broadway. His weekly gig with the Blu City All Stars shows his fluency in the various tributaries of blues music, but his bandmates — some of the most versatile players in the rock, rhythm and soul community — aid Aguirre in navigating our city’s wide musical waterways.

After 18 years in the game, Aguirre has his sights set on exporting the magic and spiritual power of St. Louis music around the world. In 2017 he finally ventured out of St. Louis and completed 5 successful Caribbean tours, bringing the soulful sounds of St. Louis to the idyllic sunsets of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, Tortola as well as the inaugural Rendezvous Blues and Folk Festival at Bankie Banx’s otherworldly Dune Preserve in Anguilla.

The future is bright, with the upcoming release of an EP of original music alive with the influences of the Mississippi river: St. Louis blues, Memphis Soul and New Orleans Funk. Moving forward, Big Mike is looking forward to sharing the soul and spirit of St. Louis all over the world.

 

Photographer: Jillian Temple

Musician: Michael "Big Mike" Aguirre

Venue: Broadway Oyster Bar, St. Louis, MO 2017