Steely Dane hits Egyptian

By Ginger Simons

Steely Dane is bringing rock and jazz fusion to downtown DeKalb 8 p.m. Friday at the Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St.

Performing hits like “Kid Charlemagne” and “Ricki, Don’t Lose that Number,” the show features a crew of musicians brought together in celebration of classic rock band, Steely Dan.

Tickets for the event range from $25 to $35 and can be purchased at the Egyptian Theatre website.

Combining rock, jazz and R&B sensibilities, the songs of Steely Dan incorporate a variety of sounds and instruments, all presented by Steely Dane’s 15-crew ensemble.

Jeanine Holcomb, Marketing Manager of the Egyptian Theatre, said Steely Dane is known as the “ultimate Steely Dan cover band and has won numerous awards for being the best Steely Dan tribute band in the Midwest.

“[Steely Dan] is known for bringing together rock and jazz and R&B, so it has a really distinctive sound, and Steely Dane prides itself on staying true to that sound and really capturing the essence of Steely Dan,” Holcomb said.

The group is co-led by music directors Dave Adler and Dave Stoler, Madison musicians with ties to the rock and jazz music industries. Adler’s rock background and Stoler’s jazz background come together to pay tribute to Steely Dan’s rich sound.

“Steely Dan is this great band where jazz and rock come together with the best of both of those worlds, and we felt like it’d be a great opportunity to bring together my rocker friends and Dave’s jazzer friends to play some music that both rockers and jazzers love,” Adler said. “That was eight years ago, and we’ve been running with it ever since.

The band pulls from Steely Dan’s immense catalog of music spanning several decades and including nine studio albums. Aided a four-piece horn section and a chorus of backup vocalists, the band plays a mixture of chart-toppers and deeper cuts.

The band has over 40 songs in their repertoire, but the list of songs they play is constantly growing and evolving.

“Everybody in the band has got their favorite songs, and we just keep learning more and more stuff,” Adler said. “People throw out their favorite tunes, and we learn them and rehearse them and add them to the list. It’s an ongoing process because there’s so much great material. It’s always a challenge to learn these songs, ecause they’re really deep and the arrangements are very specific.”

With such an extensive discography of hits, Steely Dane’s features a setlist of songs that audience members will recognize, regardless of whether or not they were around at the height of Steely Dan’s popularity in the ‘70s and ‘80s, according to Holcomb.

Adler said the show is highly interactive, and audience members tend to join in the fun of performing hits.

“‘Dirty Work’ people sing along with, ‘Hey Nineteen’ people love, ‘Peg’… There isn’t anything in there that I don’t like,” Adler said. “They’re all really fun to play, and it’s amazing how many songs people can sing along with. We’re always surprised at the wide range of audience members we get. We get the folks who grew up with the songs, but there are a ton of kids who dig it too.”

The band also incorporates their own style into the music, improvising, dancing and having fun with the live element of performance.

“We consider ourselves to be more of a celebration of Steely Dan than a tribute, Adler said. “It’s a fantastic experience. It’s a real, full-on spectacle.Playing live, for all of us, is just kind of the coolest thing you can do. It’s just a real blast to play these tunes that everyone knows and sings along with. There’s plenty of interactive stuff going on, and it’s just a first rate party. The joy is hard to contain.”