Jam Knight rides to the rescue of local music scene
After a year that saw two night clubs close, news that a group is planning a regular concert series is music to the ears of the local music scene.
As reported by Cabin Radio this week, veteran Canuck rockers The Grapes of Wrath will play The Top Knight this spring. Future productions — four a year are planned — by promoters operating under the moniker YK Rocks will be announced at a later date.
But here’s the best part of the new plan — opening slots will be made available to local acts selected through regular events at the club, Cabin radio reported.
Known as Jam Knight, the weekly sessions will begin Feb. 21, promoter Patrick Jacobson told Cabin Radio.
“We think it’s important to bring the entire music community together under one roof — established and new bands,” Jacobson told reporter Ollie Williams. “We want musicians meeting and inspiring each other. We want them pushing each other to put their best foot forward.”
While this plan will not fully make up for the loss of The Cellar and Twist & Shout venues, it will provide a place for local musicians to perform and for music fans to hang out.
In fact, as I call the Black Knight Pub my local, I recall having a lengthy discussion with a former manager of the venue about the under-use of the upstairs Top Knight.
With my early background as a night club reporter in Winnipeg, I can say the Top Knight is a really good live music venue. It has a proper stage area, decent production capabilities and good sight lines in a large room that has some character (and characters).
This was evident last summer when popular Saskatchewan recording act The Sheepdogs performed as part of a national concert series by Aurora Cannabis. The Alberta weed producer was taking advantage of advertising its brand prior to the legalization laws coming into effect.
And Aurora is now indeed a supplier used by the GNWT. I might even have some of the company’s delicious cannabis oil in my cupboard right now. I just can’t recall … hmm.
Boy, I wish that new KFC was open now. When is the Colonel making his return to Yellowknife again this year? I’ll have to look that up. Just give me a bucket of that crispy skin …
But I digress.
That Sheepdogs show last summer featured a completely full Top Knight, which was a very sweaty place on that warm July 4 evening. But the bar had a great rock ’n’ roll vibe.
Hopefully, the YK Rocks promoters’ plans will work out and our small — albeit dedicated and talented — music culture will be further nurtured.
There are precious few opportunities for local acts to strut their stuff and upstart musicians need to play out to get their sea legs, so to speak.
The YK Rocks Jam Knight series will also allow bands to get their act together in advance of the summer festival season in the city.
After all, it’s much better to figure out songs in a club in front of friends, rather in front of hundreds of strangers at the Festival on Franklin or Old Town Ramble and Ride.
So kudos to Jacobson, Lee Woods, and Nathan Knox of YK Rocks and good luck to them as they move forward with their plans.