Kris Lager Band Celebrates Life at Sioux Falls JazzFest
The Kris Lager Band from Omaha, Nebraska have been making music that makes you move your feet and feel good for the better part of the past decade. I first came across this bluesy, funky band about seven years ago in Sioux Falls when they were touring with Mato Nanji as Indigenous. Mato was going through a transformation with his family and former bandmates, and KLB had been opening their tour. After a few shows, Nanji recruited the band as a whole to become Indigenous, which they did for a couple years in addition to continuing their own career.
Over the past five years, the Kris Lager Band has evolved from a straight ahead blues band (although there are still elements of the blues in Lager’s writing) but they’ve picked up labels such as “Thrift Store Funk”, “Boogie Trance” and “Revivalist Rock & Roll”. Whatever you want to call it, the band’s mantra of “celebrate life” is definitely infectious as evidenced by their main stage performance at JazzFest in Sioux Falls Saturday, July 19.
Playing a mid afternoon set is never easy for any band, but KLB was up to the task as they drew in a lot of fans to the front of the stage who started bobbing, shaking and dancing with the feel good vibes of the band as we all became hippies. It was fun to see the younger crowd up front smiling, while even the older audience members were seen tapping their toes in their chairs. The energy level definitely came up through the bands mastery of their instruments.
Lager is an accomplished guitar player and a perfect front man the band. Keyboard player Jeremiah Weir is a funky Gregg Allman look alike whose smile and playing gets the crowd involved. John Fairchild is a human beat box behind the drum kit and master of the high kick, Brandon Miller, brings the groovy low end on bass. Together, they continue to write, record, tour, and evolve.
In the can waiting for release is an album they recorded at Tab Benoit’s home studio in Louisiana (which Benoit also plays on and produced) The band also hosts their own Hullabaloo Festival the last weekend of July in Nebraska. Their music and their stage presence has the Kris Lager Band poised to take the nation by storm.
Here’s an extended live version of “Sunshine On the Bayou” at JazzFest.