On Stage

Blues Bros

Catching up with Elwood and Jake


What: The Official Blues Brothers Revue

When: 7 pm Sat., Sep. 22

Where: Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.

Cost: $25-$42

Info: 734-6080 or http://www.mountbakertheatre.com

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Elwood Blues isn’t a real person, but he might as well be.

When Dan Aykroyd first channeled the character in 1978 during a memorable sketch on Saturday Night Live, he probably didn’t think he’d still be bringing the harmonica player and vocalist to life 40 years later, or that fellow actor and erstwhile musician John Belushi—who played his sibling and lead Blues Brothers singer, “Joliet” Jake Blues—could ever be replaced.

Sometimes, however, truth can be just as strange as fiction. After discovering that Aykroyd’s and Belushi’s side talents weren’t just a fluke, fans around the world supported the duo’s musical efforts—by watching them on the small screen, purchasing their album Briefcase full of Blues, showing up in droves when they opened for the Grateful Dead at the closing of Winterland Arena in San Francisco, and by securing enough tickets to make the John Landis-directed comedy, The Blues Brothers, one of the highest-grossing movies of 1980.

There’s no telling what else the “brothers” would’ve achieved if Belushi hadn’t died following a heroin and cocaine overdose in 1982, but after the tragedy Aykroyd worked hard to keep their dream alive. Over the years, he’s turned his love of blues music into a calling, and is now a partial owner of the House of Blues franchise. He’s also corralled other actors/musicians into performing with the act—most notably John’s brother, James Belushi, and John Goodman—and regularly heads onstage with James and his Sacred Hearts Band. “Elwood” also shows up on the regular on the weekly House of Blues Radio Hour.

All this is to say that when it comes to Blues Brothers imitators, Aykroyd’s got a personal stake in how the characters and the music are portrayed. That’s why it’s important to note that when The Official Blues Brothers Revue appears Sat., Sept. 22 at the Mount Baker Theatre with Wayne Catania and Kieron Lafferty donning the duo’s trademark sunglasses as they play along to the Intercontinental Rhythm & Blues band, it’ll be with Aykroyd’s approval, as well as thumbs-ups from original Blue Brothers musical director Paul Shaffer, and John Belushi’s widow, Judith Belushi Pisano.

“Kieron and Wayne are not imitators,” Judith says. “They live the music and embody the characters. They understand the spirit of the Blues Brothers and revel in the joy of being Jake and Elwood.”

While listening to Elwood and Jake 2.0 re-create blues, rock and soul hits such as “Soul Man,” “Gimme Some Lovin,” “Sweet Home Chicago,” and “Shout,” audiences at the interactive multimedia showcase might believe they’ve gone back to 1978, and that Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi have busted through some sort of weird time/space continuum to keep the musical and comedic magic alive. In many ways, that’s precisely what has happened.

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