It was a lively jam-packed night of music and dancing on Saturday, July 23 as the Crystal Saloon welcomed traveling blues acts Keith Scott and Andy “Badd Dog” Koch of the Badd Dog Blues Society. From the look of the crowd, one might have thought the entire town of Juneau showed up for attendance because there wasn’t an empty seat or a vacant spot on the dance floor to be found.
Scott opened the show with a stripped-back solo acoustic set that served as an excellent appetizer for the overall evening. He covered a variety of old blues standards such as Robert Johnson’s “Stop Breaking Down,” Slim Harpo’s “I’m a King Bee,” Sonny Boy Williamson’s “You Gotta Help Me” and many more.
“I thought the whole thing was great, I was real happy with it; the sound, I told the owner of Crystal’s, it’s unbelievable this venue” Scott said. “I was just shocked, the sound and the response from the audience, people really came out for the music. I’m just real happy with the way it all turned out.”
Before wrapping up Scott’s set and bringing out the headlining act, Scott and Koch came together onstage to do a short duet featuring Scott on guitar and Koch on harmonica.
“I was excited to reconnect with Andy and do a full set with him, as well,” Scott said. “It kind of reminded me of when Buddy Guy and Junior Wells did a couple of acoustic shows a long time ago, it was just a special moment in time and that was the kind of feel I had, it was just great.”
Together they covered classics like Little Walter’s “Blues with a Feeling,” Jimmy Reed’s “Going to New York” and Billy Boy Arnold’s “Wish You Would ” among others. Scott and Koch are actually old friends who have shared many stages together on several occasions over the years and Koch said it was just a mere coincidence that they ended up playing on the same bill on Saturday.
“It wasn’t even on purpose,” Koch said. “Taylor Vidic, who does the booking at Crystal’s, when I was telling her which day would be the best for me to play, she said she already had a music act booked but said it might pair well with me. She really nailed that one. But it was great playing with Keith, God, that was fun. Our paths continue to cross, we’ve probably known each other for over 10 years now.”
For the main course of the evening, Koch joined his backing band the Badd Dog Blues Society and played well into the wee hours of the night with three sets wrapping up just after 1 a.m. The band played a mixture of original tunes with some recognizable covers peppered in for spice, including Neville Brothers, Clifton Chenier and the great Willie Dixon, who wrote such timeless songs as the Muddy Waters hit “Hoochie Coochie Man” and “Pride and Joy” made popular by Stevie Ray Vaughan.
“I’m a huge Willie Dixon fan, he was a bass player out of Chicago and wrote for Buddy Guy, Howlin’ Wolf, all the old blues guys, he was just a prolific writer,” Koch said. “His songbook is my blues man’s bible.”
While Scott has since returned to his hometown of Chicago before continuing on with his tour through the U.S. and Canada, Koch is still in town and is scheduled to play two more shows in Juneau with C. Scott Fry. The two will perform a duo set at the Alaskan Hotel and Bar 3-6 p.m. Monday, July 25 and Tuesday, July 26.
“I’m just really thrilled with the whole Juneau experience, it’s exceeded my expectations and I’m an optimist, you have to be in this business,” Koch said. “It was just great; I loved the new Crystal venue and I was just blown away by all the people that showed up. I loved seeing my old pal Keith; it was just the perfect storm of things coming together, really amazing.”
• Contact reporter Jonson Kuhn at email@example.com