Kris Karr may be a veteran of Fort Dodge's music scene, but his band, Just Around Midnight, which will perform at Shellabration, is fairly new. In fact, Karr said he put it together specifically for this event.
"Bill Rodewald asked me to throw this together," said Karr. Rodewald is Shellabration vice president. "I had mentioned this girl called Brooke LaRow from Swea City, what a great singer she was. I suggested a few years ago that if the act is right, they may want to consider her band for Shellabration.
"Brooke's voice is so powerful, just really gravelly and full-sounding. I was hoping I'd get to work with her."
-Messenger photo by Joe Sutter
Kris Karr explains to customer Aaron Schaffner how to care for a high-end Krank vacuum-tube amplifier. He organized the band Just Around Midnight, which will open for Foreigner Friday.
Karr said he had about a week and a half to find people. Fortunately, he knew who he wanted and things came together quickly.
Then the new band gathered to practice. "We thought we'd have about two hours to go through some songs. In reality, we had about half an hour," Karr said. "So we ran through those, and we were all hungry, so we started to eat and then Jim (Reed) and Bill came over."
The band impressed the Shellabration organizers.
In addition to Karr and LaRow, Just After Midnight includes Jeremy Ober on guitar, Rick Sexe on bass, Doug Nikkel on drums and Jeff Bluml with percussion and vocals.
Karr and Sean Minikis, the lead guitar player in Wheelhouse, used to work together in the band Cheap Drinks. They also are co-owners of a Fort Dodge music store, Eighth Note Music.
"This will be my third band to do Shellabration," Karr said. "When you do one of these, you don't figure you'll get to do it again ever. It was a big surprise."
Bluml talked about opening for a big band like Foreigner.
"You know, listening to them for years and then finally getting to share a stage, that's quite the honor," Bluml said. "It's scary. You get up there, and your heart feels like it's going to explode. You think you're ready for it, but you're never ready for it.
"You get pre-show jitters, but once it starts happening, then you're back into, oh yeah, I've done this before."
Both said it was an honor to be asked to play.
"They could get anybody to play here, they don't have to let local bands do it," Karr said. "We want to do a good job so they'll keep letting other people do it. Not many towns would let local bands open at this concert."
"It would be so easy for this large of a concert thing to go off and find another big-name band to throw in with it," Bluml said. "To have them look for local talent, it's a big risk. That's the positive thing about Fort Dodge, is the amount of talent in the area."