COLUMBIA — When Chuck Berry takes the stage Wednesday at the Blue Note in downtown Columbia, he will be backed by a local band.
Although Chump Change has performed with its fair share of well-known artists, the band members are excited to play with a forefather of rock 'n' roll. Berry is famous for songs such as "Johnny B. Goode," "Maybellene" and "Roll Over Beethoven," which was covered by The Beatles.
What: The final Ninth Street Summerfest show, with Chuck Berry and Chump Change
When: Gates open at 6 p.m. Concert starts at 7 p.m.
Where: Ninth Street, outside The Blue Note
The Blue Note manager Pete Rock said Chump Change was an obvious choice for the final Ninth Street Summerfest show of the year.
“For us, they were the natural fit to play with Chuck Berry,” Rock said. “Anyone who’s a fan of traditional blues should come out to see the show.”
Berry will perform with Chump Change outside of The Blue Note on Ninth Street at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The show is free, and gates open at 6 p.m.
Over the past 20 years, Chump Change has performed with many notable blues and rock 'n’ roll musicians. The band has played alongside such performers as B.B. King, KoKo Taylor and John Lee Hooker.
Chump Change, whose Web site describes it as "grooving rhythm and blues," has a strong local following.
“Whenever Chump Change plays, they generally draw pretty big crowds,” said Blue Note employee Terra Stephen. “I think it’s a good thing that artists like Chuck Berry perform with local bands wherever they go. This helps the bands gain more support and can even give them more exposure to the younger crowds.”
The band consists of guitarist and vocalist “Big” Babe Martin, bassist James “Smitty” Smith, saxophonist Kenneth Brantley and keyboardist Pete Szkolka.
Szkolka believes Chuck Berry is a “true legend” and an appropriate choice for the last show.
“Chuck Berry changed the way music was made,” said Szkolka, who also owns a freelance recording studio. “He started breaking the rules."
Szkolka met Smith in 1974 when they played in another band, which lasted for a year.
Szkolka said he's stayed in Columbia for 20 years because he enjoys the local music scene.
“Columbia is a stubbornly individualistic college town,” Szkolka said. “There is a faster and more progressive environment here than in many other places. I just really like its feel.”