Local acts rock out at Kick-Off

As a new addition to the second annual Campus Kick-Off, University of Alaska Anchorage radio station KRUA 88.1 FM hosted ‘Rock the Quad,’ an outdoor concert featuring local musicians Jared Woods and JEB Aug. 28.

In addition to great music, KRUA delivered free goodies with all the originality college radio implies. KRUA T-shirts were pitched across the lawn. Gift bags of CDs, stickers and posters were given to the first 11 people to rush the stage. The event even included a one-stop voter registration and root beer float table run by Student Activities.

Attendants of the Kick-Off continued to trickle towards the Quad and settle in clusters on the slightly damp lawn as Woods took the stage. The setting was laid back and social, a gathering of friends and families, and Woods supplied the perfect mix for the relaxed audience.

Woods” style is rustic and heartfelt, thick with honesty and oozing with sincerity.
He plucks his guitar cleaner than a Thanksgiving turkey and sings with more reverence than most prayers.

‘You can never tell whether or not to do brand new material,’ Woods said. He played a variety of his repertoire, old and new, and a few covers for good measure. The audience was treated to a sampling of Woods” recent album ‘Spilled Drinks and Starlight,’ a delicious range of gentle ballads and power pop riffs, every song resonating with his distinctly sweet voice.

‘[Woods] is the cream of the crop when it comes to the Anchorage music scene,’ KRUA Program Director J.R. Zufelt said. He referred jokingly to JEB, ‘but we got these guys at the bottom of the barrel.’

Usually a quirky alterna-rock threesome, Just Erik and Beau played their set sans bassist Jordan Cash, who is the real J in JEB. He is currently attending the University of Idaho.

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‘Screw that guy, we don”t need Jordan,’ Beau Bodnar said, going to great lengths to emphasize JEB”s ability to rock without a third wheel.

They even renamed ‘Jordan”s Sex Dungeon,’ the accompaniment to an online stop-animation film made by Bodnar and band mate Erik Braund, as ‘J.R.”s Sex Dungeon’ when Zufelt joined JEB on the drums.

While the lack of their third member was a bit problematic as far as having to shuffle instruments and bodies around the stage, JEB performed the set brilliantly. Both Braund and Bodnar are accomplished multi-musicians and rotated easily from drums to cello and guitar to mandolin.

During the rare acoustic show, JEB captured the audience with the ethereal song ‘Beautiful’ and upped the tempo during ‘Baby Love.’ Crowd members mouthed the words to their favorite JEB tunes and agreed that all the songs about sex, drugs and alcoholism still sounded great without Cash.

To see the full JEB lineup, the band will perform Sept. 1 at the Alaska State Fair with Delmag. Tickets for the show are $13 and include fair admission. Jared Woods hosts open mic at Humpy”s every Monday at 8:30 p.m. and performs every Tuesday at Benihana from 7-9 p.m.