K3 hosts Seafood fest and a Night of the Blues'

The Blues Band to reunite for Saturday performance

Posted: Thursday, October 01, 2009

This Saturday at the Yacht Club, K3 has lined up back-to-back events that will be a feast for ears and stomachs. The Seafood Festival, an annual event, will be held from 4-7:30, followed by a Night of the Blues from 7:30 on.

Courtesy Of Nancy Seamount
Courtesy Of Nancy Seamount

Night of the Blues was previously billed as an Octoberfest event on the KTOO Web site, said Andy Kline, program director at KXLL and main organizer of the event, but the name was changed to Night of the Blues in honor of the main guests, former Juneau mainstay the Blues Band.

The evening's festivities begin with a tutored beer tasting from 4-5 p.m., led by brewers from the Alaskan Brewing Co. It will include Rough Drafts, a selection of beers that haven't yet reached the market.

"Just like a wine tasting, they will discuss the different flavors you are tasting," said Andy Kline, program director at KXLL.

Next up is an all-you-can eat fish feed with salmon, halibut and shrimp, a tradition KTOO has organized for years. In addition to the seafood, some of which comes from Taku Smokeries, there will be Northern Keta caviar, Rainbow Foods' salads, Buzz Ritter's bread and Silverbow Bakery's gingerbread made with Alaskan beer.

Kline said diners can keep loading up their plates until about 7:30 p.m. At 8 p.m. the Yacht Club will turn into a 21 and older venue. Kline stressed that families are welcome to attend the dinner, but after that it's adults only.

"It's not a family concert happening at 8, people; we're talking about the blues," he said.

The event wil be MC'd by KRNN Blues Goddess Grace Elliott. Elliott has had a blues show on KRNN (formerly KTOO) for many years, and is herself a native of the Windy City, so she seemed the natural choice, Kline said.

Blues night music begins at 9 or 9:30 p.m. with a performance by Collette Costa and Costa's Construction Company. The Blues Band will be up next, featuring Justin Smith, Steve Nelson, Vernon Fowler and Adrianne Minne.

Anyone who lived in Juneau in the 1990s has heard of the Blues Band. The band first played together in 1993, said Smith, guitar player for the band, calling themselves the Cook County Blues Band. Smith had been living in Chicago, so he'd brought with him a full repetoire of blues classics which the band made their own. Over the years they morphed into simply calling themselves the Blues Band, playing nearly every weekend at the Alaskan and many other towns in Southeast. Their sound gradually changed, Smith said, to include more funk and improvisation.

"Along the way a lot more funk crept into it, and I think that had a lot to do with people dancing," he said.

Though the band no longer plays regular gigs, they do get together once in awhile.

"We dont really rehearse now, we just start playing and see where it goes," he said, adding that improvisation is a big part of their music now. "Steve and Adrianne and Vern are all so good,"

The band recently got together at Smith's house in Gustavus and recorded some music, and Smith said he hopes to do more and possibly release a CD in the near future. Smith himself has at least three CD projects in the works, he said, and is working "obsessively" on instrumental music.

Kline said he was excited about bringing this legendary Juneau band back to play. The band played in Gustavus a couple months ago, and Kline happened to see Fowler and Nelson at the Rendezvous. He decided then that he would try to get them together.

"I knew if we could get them in Juneau, people would love seeing them again," he said

"Justin literally is if not the best, at least one of the best guitarists that lives in Alaska," he said. "It's a really treat to watch him play."

Because the Yacht Club is a fairly small venue, Kline encouraged people to get there early.

"It's the Yacht Club, it doesn't have the capacity of the JACC," he said.

Attendees are welcome to join in all or part of the festivities.

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