By Will Broaddus Staff writer
The Salem News
---- — Kryptonite was a substance that made Superman weak, lethargic and vulnerable to attack.
“Krypton Night,” an evening of Motown, funk, soul and blues at Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub in Salem this Sunday, should have the opposite effect on anyone who attends.
“It’s going to be very high-energy,” said Larry Claflin, co-founder and executive director of the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival, which is hosting the event as a fundraiser for their concert series.
People may in fact be unable to resist an urge to dance once they’ve heard Lois Lane and the Daily Planets, the band that will perform, and whose name inspired the evening’s theme.
“The band is so good and so seasoned, we thought we’d bring them in,” Claflin said.
Lead singer Genevieve Hayes of Saugus has been performing as Lois Lane — the female reporter who was Superman’s romantic interest — since the 1980s.
The band’s name has given rise to some playful theatrics over the years, including a video in which Hayes appeared “in a pillbox hat,” with a “notepad with a pen, and I’m pretending to work at the Daily Planet, and I get a call from Perry White,” Hayes said.
Those who attend Sunday’s performance are encouraged to attend in their choice of superhero costume, which Claflin is encouraging people to recycle from Halloween.
“We have five $50 gift certificates from Antique Table in Lynn for best costume,” Claflin said. A bicycle, donated by Salem Cycles, will also be auctioned at the event.
But there is also a serious source for the band’s name, in that Lois Lane was the name of Hayes’ aunt, who died at an early age from breast cancer.
“Serious” would also be a good term to describe Lane’s voice, which covers a song list that includes numbers by Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt.
“It’s a pleasure to play with her,” said drummer Cliff Goodman of Salem, who has been with the Daily Planets for less than a year. “No one has the range of Lois. She can go pretty low and high, and her inflections — it takes a lot of experience to know when to end the voice, when to bend it and come up, all that stuff.”
Hayes performed at Sandy’s, the famous jazz club on Cabot Street in Beverly, when she was only 16.
“I remember one time Phil Wilson introduced me,” she said.
Wilson, a trombone player, played with Woody Herman’s band and the Dorsey brothers, in addition to teaching at Berklee College of Music.
“He said, ‘This is the next Billie Holiday,’” Hayes said. “I couldn’t believe he said that. I sang ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and I cried at the end of it, and the place went nuts.”
Hayes studied for a year at Berklee College of Music and spent three years performing in London, which had a laid-back music scene that she enjoyed.
She has also had plenty of satisfied listeners in Boston, appearing as a regular with Little Joe Cook at the Cantab Lounge in Central Square for 25 years.
In addition to Goodman, the Daily Planets’ current lineup includes bassist Lee Lundy, whom Hayes compares to James Jamerson, the legendary bass player on dozens of Motown hits in the 1960s and ’70s.
“He was the sound,” she said. “This is him reincarnated.”
Goodman also has high praise for Peter Fedele of Rockport, the Daily Planets’ guitar player.
“He can play notes I can’t even understand,” he said, “I don’t know how he does it.”
In addition to admiring the band members’ musicianship, Hayes also enjoys their company, which she said gives their shows a positive atmosphere.
“They’re incredible musicians and nice human beings,” she said. “That’s what makes it so good.”
In addition to holding a free, two-day festival each August, which features some of the best up-and-coming acts in jazz and rhythm and blues, Salem Jazz and Soul sponsors a free summer series with young talent from Berklee College of Music.
The nonprofit festival also includes local student performers on the same stage with professional acts and supports local music programs.
“We’ve donated almost $25,000 thus far and will be making another donation before the end of the year,” Claflin said. “It depends on how we do with this event.”
One additional benefit to “Krypton Night” is that it allows all those Salem people who had to work on Halloween to put on some costumes of their own and have a party.
“A lot of our fan base is people who work in the tourism industry,” Claflin said, “who don’t have a chance to celebrate.”
If you go What: "Krypton Night," to support Salem Jazz and Soul Festival Where: Murphy's Restaurant & Pub, 300 Derby St., Salem When: Sunday, 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 at the door More information: www.salemjazzsoul.org