Don't miss this exceptional band all the way from Chicago featuring the legendary Johnny Iguana on keys & Michael Caskey on drums, as well as their bewitching singer/dancer Yana Atim! This is the Claudettes first Canadian tour and we are so honored to have managed to book them on their way back to Chicago after two dates with the Ottawa Blues Fest and a night at the Mont Tremblant Bluefest in Quebec! This is your chance to see this incredible band in a very small venue with amazing acoustics. It will be a night to remember! A bonus is that this show is on a Monday evening so many of the local musicians will likely be able to make it out as there are not many local gigs on a Monday night.
The Claudettes churn out hot Chicago boogie blues with a humorous wink and nod to burlesque and vaudeville. At the heart of the Windy City phenomenon is Johnny Iguana, a piano man with breathtaking chops who hates to be taken too seriously. With Michael Caskey on drums, the dynamic duo will showcase cuts from their latest album Infernal Piano Plot...Hatched! Their motto: piano + drums = wow!
The Claudettes debut album is getting some exceptional reviews (see below) and we are very happy to have them up from Chicago to play our venue!
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES Fuses blues and punk, and all points between….The hectic boogaloo of “Deep Soul for High Society” pays rowdy homage to Ray Charles…prodigious skill, but not purism.
BG (BUDDY GUY’S BLUES AND MUSIC NEWS) Uninhibited, wild, exciting…yet deep-rooted Chicago blues. A very powerful and impassioned album done as only true Chicago blues masters could do it. With this album, Johnny could easily inherit Big Moose Walker’s mantle as the piano wild man of Chicago blues. A pair like the Claudettes really shows the continued vitality and possibilities of Chicago blues in the 21st century.
Read the full review at https://bg.buddyguy.com/
DOWNBEAT MAGAZINE Hits listeners upside the head with a mash-up of Otis Spann blues, Albert Ammons boogie-woogie, Ray Charles soul and “Fess” Longhair New Orleans R&B. Catch them in a chaotic ballroom!
AMERICAN BLUES SCENE Johnny Iguana sounds like a saloon pianist from the Wild West brought to the future, his own vaudeville style modernized alongside Caskey’s sweet and delectable drumming, blending blues, jazz and a good time, creating an album unlike any other on the market.
CINCINNATI ENQUIRER An amped blues-rock-soulful-jazz explosion….You’re going to need a good day of rest afterward from the dancing and feet tapping that abounds from the music of these gentlemen.
BLUES BYTES (SURPRISE PICK OF THE MONTH, NOVEMBER 2013) One of the freshest discs that has crossed my ears in a long time…an amazing find…Iguana and Caskey play their instruments like men possessed.
COLOSSAL POP Beautiful and chaotic and wildly impressive all at once….If you would have told me three weeks ago that the most played album in my rotation would be a piano and drum instrumental album, I would have laughed….I’m all in. I love this album and the Claudettes may be my new favorite band!
Johnny Iguana BIO.
Johnny Iguana grew up in Philadelphia, where he studied piano from age eight and played piano and organ in blues bands from age 16. He moved to New York City at age 22, where he met one of his greatest musical heroes, Junior Wells. He was hired by Junior after auditioning live at the Boston House of Blues, and moved to Chicago in February 1994. He toured with the Junior Wells Band for three years, performing in the U.S., Canada, South America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Johnny has appeared on album with Junior (the Grammy-nominated “Live at Buddy Guy’s Legends” and “Live Around the World”), Carey Bell (the W.C. Handy Award-winning “Good Luck Man”), Koko Taylor, Lil’ Ed, Matthew Skoller, Eddie Shaw and many others. He is the piano player in the Chicago Blues: A Living History band and has performed on both their 2-CD recordings (which netted multiple Grammy and Blues Music Award nominations) and all their tours. His fellow musicians in that group: Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch, Lurrie Bell, Carlos Johnson, Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Felton Crews and Billy Flynn with special guests including Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Ronnie Baker Brooks and Magic Slim. He has performed on stage with nearly all of the above plus Otis Rush, Lonnie Brooks, Sugar Blue, Otis Clay, Van Morrison, Jeff Healy and more. (See the discography page on this website for many more albums featuring Johnny).
All along, Johnny (often as Iguana or Ig) has also had his own decidedly non-blues rock bands, usually playing his distinctively grimy overdriven organ. First came Stevie Lizard & His All-Reptile Orchestra (late ’90s). Then came the nationwide cult favorite oh my god (see discography and press quotes), who have toured and recorded since 2000. His band Them vs. Them, formed with JQ of the Q Brothers, recorded and performed between 2005 and 2008.
Since late 2010, Johnny and drummer Michael Caskey have been recording and touring as the Claudettes, releasing their first album (“Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED!”) on the Memphis label Yellow Dog Records in late 2013. To hear the Claudettes’ “Cosmic Cartoon Music,” to watch some great live video and to read all about the bizarre-but-true story of the Claudettes’ formation, go to their Yellow Dog Records page.
A short list of Johnny’s major musical inspirations: Otis Spann, Jay McShann, Ray Charles, Mose Allison, Bobby Timmons, Mike Watt, Bob Mould, Joe Strummer, Captain Beefheart and the near, dear, late, great Junior Wells. Johnny is a proud carrier of tradition (including the Chicago blues that uprooted him from his East Coast home and planted him firmly in the Windy City) but is even more proud to have developed abusive organ tones and a highly rhythmic, very “in-the-moment” piano style that sounds like no one else.
Michael Caskey BIO.
Drummer Michael Caskey (a.k.a. Bunny Patootie) graduated magna cum laude from Western Michigan University's school of music. He has played with everyone from Koko Taylor to Chuck Mangione to Marvin Hamlisch to John Sinclair. A Downbeat magazine award winner and five-time Detroit Music Awards recipient, he currently plays with Balkan fusion band Eastern Blok and teaches Music and Rhythm in Dance at Columbia College in Chicago. Michael has performed all across the U.S. and in France, Poland, Germany, Denmark and other countries.
Yana Atim BIO.
Born of Nigerian and African-American descent, Yana Atim has lived in Alabama, Georgia, New York and Chicago. Inspired by her artistic family, she has been drawing, painting and singing since childhood. After taking part in choir, marching band and theater in high school, Yana enrolled at Columbia College in Chicago. She aimed for a B.A. in musical theater, then switched to costume design before leaving to pursue performing full time. She is a member of Redmoon Theater in Chicago, which emphasizes visual art, puppetry and physical performance. Yana enjoys speaking French, Spanish and a bit of Korean and Japanese. She loves dogs, photography, jazz-based dancing and taking risks with hairstyles and apparel.