Iowa City Yacht Club
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Iowa City Yacht Club

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The best kept secret in music


"3's the charm for Yacht Club"

At 3 years old, most kids are still figuring out how to load mashed peas into their faces with a spoon instead of their hand.

But at 3 years old, Iowa City's reborn Yacht Club, 13 S. Linn St., has already figured out how to pack in local audiences hungry for roots-rock, reggae, blues, and improvisational jamming.

To celebrate its third birthday this Saturday, the bar will host a CD release party for ICYC 2005, a 68-minute collection of live recordings that highlights performances of the past year. The album will be available in local record stores.

For this, the Yacht Club's first CD, owner Scott Kading, 39, worked with local producer John Svec to record tracks from club mainstays, such as David Zollo and the Body Electric, Dennis McMurrin and the Demolition Band, and Public Property.

The Jensen Connection, which came together two years ago during the venue's weekly Jam Band Jam sessions, will headline the CD release party, with Colorado rockers Storytyme opening the show.

Ryan Casteel, the Jensen bass player, said the Yacht Club was instrumental in the formation of the band.

"It was definitely the platform where we could get together and play," he said, adding that, without it, the group might never have found the piano and drum players that have become crucial to its sound.

The septet is featured twice on the disc, that, although billed as a "best of 2005" album, covers sounds all the way back to the opening night of Kading's club in 2003. On the last track, "Sometimes," Derek Perez and Brad Rieks of local band Clean Livin' play some of the first notes to grace the rechristened Yacht Club stage after it had been closed for eight years.

The original incarnation began in 1988, when owner Hank Miguel opened the blues and roots-rock bar below the former site of Ruby's Pearl on Linn Street.

Kading said Miguel was forced to close the bar in 1995, when the owner of the building refused to resign the lease, calling the bar's clientele "vermin."

A regular during the club's first conception, Kading spent three years remodeling the venue before finally reopening the doors in January 2003. The new Yacht Club quickly became a sanctuary for the descendants of yesteryears' so-called riffraff, offering a similar musical menu along with a new paint job.

"If you do the right thing, run a nice clean, dark place with good music, people will want to come back," said the owner. "The neat thing is that we kept getting bigger and bigger, with no crowds, no fights, and no puking."

Since he opened the bar, the Yacht Club's proud parent - who also recently became a father to a cuter but often-louder child, Jackson - has worked diligently to document its progress on audiotape.

Although he wishes he could do it for every show, Kading estimated that he has recorded more than 100 in the past year alone.

In the future, he would like to add more advanced recording equipment that would allow instrument levels to be mixed after shows instead of on the spot, as they are now. Plans for podcasting of Yacht Club shows are in the works, as well as future live albums - if ICYC Live 2005 proves to be successful.

The album is a snapshot of the Yacht Club gurgling and tumbling, but Kading concedes that the club still needs to develop its lighting and sound system.

"The goal is to always improve," he said. "We're almost where we want to be - but not quite yet."

E-mail DI reporter Charlie Moran at:
- Daily Iowan


ICYC Live 2005


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Yacht Club is Iowa City's main source for live music in an environment where you truly are a part of the music. We feature live music five nights a week and have some form of entertainment every night. We also have a great BBQ menu, friendly servers, coat check, ventilation system, plus serve tater tots! Trust us when we say this is not a financial endeavor - it really is about having a great time.