A contemporary incarnation of the Saturday Night Live musical duo that closed out the 70s with the hit motion picture “The Blues Brothers” is coming to the Vineyard for a benefit performance at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown on August 12.
Presented by original Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd and Judith Belushi Pisano, the wife of the late John Belushi, the other original Blues Brother, and sponsored by the Harbor View Hotel, the evening’s proceeds will support the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse.
The Official Blues Brothers Revue showcases Wayne Catania as Jake, and Kieron Lafferty as Elwood, Toronto entertainers handpicked by Mr. Aykroyd and Ms. Pisano for their musicality, stage charisma, and devotion to the phenomenon that is the Blues Brothers. Having a Canadian accent is especially helpful for Mr. Lafferty, as it provides an essential ingredient to the signature phonetics of Elwood’s voice.
“Dan told me that Elwood was a combination of influences,” said Mr. Lafferty, “one of them being ‘King Biscuit Boy’ a.k.a. Richard Newell, a Canadian blues legend who talked in a chopped up manner — he added the Chicago accent to that cadence.”
Though he and Mr. Catania will dish out plenty of blues music, Mr. Lafferty says that he doesn’t believe the enthusiasm of the audience will be solely for the Blues Brothers themselves because he believes that Islanders are lovers of blues in general, well versed on the subject, and hungry to hear it. In fact, it’s the Island, he admits, that keeps him informed about the blues.
“To be honest I’ve been getting my musical updates from MVYradio, which I listen to often; the ‘Blues at 8’ is really good and informative. I think the Vineyarders have a pretty sophisticated musical palate. If I could suggest anything new [in blues music], it would be a young Australian artist named Owen Campbell who’s got some good grooves and a very cool retro style.”
Unlike Messrs. Aykroyd and Belushi, who often became so soaked in perspiration during their shows that they’d need to switch out their shirts and suits whenever they could slip backstage, Messrs Catania and Lafferty don’t have that luxury.
“No time for costume changes, I’m afraid, but we do keep a bottle of ‘Old Spice’ handy in case we have to meet people after the show,” said Mr. Lafferty, who, like his entertainment partner, must also contend with fog-ups of another key component to the Blues Brothers look, the famous sunglasses.
“Yes, that can be a problem,” said Mr. Lafferty. “We’ve tried a number of industrial and household products, petroleum products, even camel spit, and nothing seems to work. So we have a second pair off stage that we keep at 1.5 degrees C above normal body temperature.”
Benefit: The Official Blues Brothers Revue, Tuesday, August 12, 8 pm, Old Whaling Church, Edgartown. $45; $40 with Our Island Club card; $100 VIP party. For tickets to the Official Blues Brothers Revue, visit TicketsMV.com/BB or call 508-696-6300.