Five is the magic number

Posted: Thursday, June 04, 2009

Juneau's first ever Juneaupalooza takes place this Friday at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, and is conveniently organized around the number five: June 5, five bands, five hours, $5 admission and $ 5 beer. But don't get carried away and show up at 5 p.m. The event starts at 9 p.m.

By Charity Green
By Charity Green

KXLL-FM program director Andy Kline organized the event, called Cinco de Juneau, in part to showcase local talent but also to fulfill what he sees as one of the missions of the station.

"It kind of seems like something we should be doing," he said. "As the alternative music station in town, we should be doing live alternative music."

The event will feature five local alternative bands; the headline acts are Deering and Down and Maybe It's Reno.

"What I really wanted to do was have a concert where I featured both, because I think they're really amazing," he said.

The other three acts are Myth Barber, Ball and Chain, and George Kuhar.

"They're all really cool local bands people may not have heard much," Kline said of the three.

Deering and Down are known to most Juneau audiences, having been based here before their move to Memphis. Band members Lahna Deering and Rev. Neil Down have just finished recording their latest CD, a collection that Kline says is a bit of a creative departure for the pair with music that leans more toward a more non-traditional roots and blues sound.

"This will be a world premiere of some of their new stuff, Kline said. "I'm really excited about it."

Maybe It's Reno is the other headliner, and consists of George Kuhar and Bridget Cross. Though the pair has performed at the Alaskan and the Canvas, and accompanied a showing of "Nosferatu" with their original tunes, Kline said they tend to pass under the radar of many local listeners in spite of the huge talent they possess.

"It's amazing that they're here in juneau," he said. "Its just a fluky thing."

Unrest, the band Cross was part of in the 1990s, was listed as one of the most influential alternative bands in the country in an Amazon poll, and played big venues like Lollapolooza in 1993.

"She's been a really influential person in alternative music and here she is a yoga instructor in Juneau," Kline said.

Kuhar will also give a solo performance of his electronic music.

Myth Barber consists of singer and guitarist Patrice Helmar and guitarist Caleb Wylie. They are expected to play some traditional blues covers in addition to original compositions.

"It's only the second time Myth Barber has played," Kline said. The first was at this year's Folk Festival.

Ball and Chain, a high school band, also played at Folk Festival, and, like Myth Barber, really impressed Kline with their sound. Band members include Arthur Ackerman, Annie Bartholomew, Joe Funk and Michael Pollard.

In addition to the live music, several other events will taking place. Pat Race of Alaska Robotics will have an interactive booth set up for participants to create sketches and design their own KXLL stickers. Heritage Coffee, an event sponsor, will have a booth as well, providing a coffee tasting for the crowd, and Alaska Brewing Co. will set up a beer garden. Only those 21 and older will be allowed inside the garden. Nonalcoholic beverages will be provided by the Aurora Project, and will include energy drinks.

Roswick and Giles offered to take care of the sound and the lighting.

Kline said he hopes that the music will flow pretty seamlessly from one act to the next. All five bands are small - Ball and Chain is the largest, with four members - allowing for short set-up times.

As for the Mexican-based name, Kline said the number five just happened to provide a good umbrella, and Cinco de Juneau was a catchy way to sum it up. There's' no real Mexican connection.

"It's just a music fest," he said. "But if people want to wear sombreros or something, that's fine."

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