Canadian rock band The Grapes of Wrath will play Yellowknife in April as part of a newly announced series of shows in the city.

The group will headline a show at the Top Knight bar on April 6, the band confirmed to Cabin Radio on Monday.

Local opening acts will be selected through new, weekly “Jam Knight” sessions at the same venue.

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Jam Knight is the creation of Patrick Jacobson, Lee Woods, and Nathan Knox, and will run each Thursday from February 21.

Jacobson hopes the weekly jams will offset a loss of opportunities for artists after local establishments The Cellar and Twist & Shout closed.

‘Pushing each other’

“We are bringing in a minimum of four concerts per year – established artists – and selecting the opening bands exclusively from the Jam Knight,” Jacobson told Cabin Radio.

“This means even the most established local bands will have to come play a Jam Knight if they want a crack at an opening slot.

“We think it’s important to bring the entire music community together under one roof – established and new bands. We want musicians meeting and inspiring each other. We want them pushing each other to put their best foot forward.”

Jam Knight performers won’t earn money, said Jacobson, but will be paid if subsequently chosen to support a headliner like Grapes of Wrath at a ticketed event.

He said a range of local bands had been consulted about the concept and were “wholly on board.”

Patrick Jacobson, left, and Nathan Knox inside Yellowknife's Black Knight Pub
Patrick Jacobson, left, and Nathan Knox inside Yellowknife’s Black Knight Pub.

Asked how regularly importing well-known acts from the south could be financially sustained, Jacobson said: “We crunched the numbers and costs, and a sold-out show will even give us a little bit of breathing room to do the next show. And if that one does well, that will feed the next.

“These aren’t going to be big money-makers for us, but we are confident that we will be able to achieve everything we are setting out to accomplish here: to bring high-quality entertainment to our city while giving local artists a platform to showcase on.

“We think it’s important for Yellowknife.”

Jacobson hopes to attract a hotel or airline as an event sponsor to help offset the cost of flying up southern acts.

Dates and headline acts for concerts beyond April organized by Jacobson, Woods, and Knox – who will operate under the moniker YK Rocks – have yet to be announced.

The Grapes of Wrath formed in 1983. This year marks three decades since the release of the band’s breakthrough, platinum-selling album Now and Again.

The band has twice played Yellowknife’s Folk on the Rocks festival, in 1990 and 2013.