On the Town with John Harper

Mondays and Thursdays in March

Barryoke Karaoke

Karaoke hosts, like musicians, come in all shapes and sizes, from the here's-my-notebook-pick-a-song to those wanting to teach the world to sing in perfect and, often, imperfect harmony.

Barry Wells, 35, who lives in Rodanthe, falls into the latter category.

“You bring people together,” says Wells, who also plays guitar and sings in the local bands Blurky's Quirky Friends and Mumz.

Wells has been in the karaoke game since 2006, earning a reputation as an engaging host and good vocalist (he often puts his falsetto to good use).

This month, he performs Monday nights at Secret Island in Kill Devil Hills and Thursday nights, except March 21, at Poor Richard's Sandwich Shop and Pub on the Manteo waterfront.

Wells has about 20,000 songs in his library, including pop, rock, country, hip-hop, standards and reggae.

And what genre is his favorite?

“My grandma raised me on golden oldies,” he says.

So, you're likely to hear Wells singing tunes by The Beatles, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Del Shannon (“Runaway” is his go-to jam), the Beach Boys, Bob Dylan, with some great harmonica work, and John Lennon (“Instant Karma”).

But at the end of the day, it's all about the relationship between the host and the audience.

“If I'm not having fun, nobody's having fun,” Wells says. “It has to be interactive and energetic.”

  • When and Where: 8 p.m. Mondays at Secret Island Restaurant, 504 S. Virginia Dare Trail, milepost 8, Kill Devil Hills; 7 p.m. Thursdays at Poor Richard's Sandwich Shop and Pub, 305 Queen Elizabeth St., Manteo waterfront
  • Cost: Free
  • Info: secretislandobx.com, poorrichardsmanteo.com


Bryan Cultural Series: Clay Jenkinson

Will the real Clay Jenkinson, please, stand up.

The Bismarck, N.D.-based Jenkinson is a historical performer who portrays figures ranging from Theodore Roosevelt to William Shakespeare to Thomas Jefferson.

But he doesn't just dress the part and deliver a few well-known quotes; the college professor, former Rhodes Scholar, radio host and author inhabits the roles.

You can't catch him “acting.”

Jenkinson will perform three shows this month on the Outer Banks as part of the Bryan Cultural Series.

On Monday, March 25, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Kitty Hawk, he'll perform as explorer, politician and soldier Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark fame).

On Tuesday, March 26, Jenkinson will bring Sir Walter Raleigh, the British soldier, explorer, poet, author and cape-thrower, to life at the Sound Stage at Waterside Theatre in Manteo.

For those who slept during history class, Raleigh was the driving force behind the 1587 settlement on Roanoke Island that became known as “The Lost Colony.”

The theatres sit on land once occupied by the settlers and are part of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site.

On Wednesday, March 27, at First Flight High School in Kill Devil Hills, the historical performer will present a program called “Shakespeare: The Magic of Words.”

The 90-minute show will include a discussion of the Bard's themes, soliloquies and a light-hearted primer billed as “a practical guide to overcoming Shakespeare intimidation.”

After each performance, Jenkinson, in character, will take questions, even about current events, from the audience.

  • When: 7:30 p.m. (all three days)
  • Cost: $15
  • Where: Hilton Garden Inn, 5353 N. Virginia Dare Trail, milepost 1, Kitty Hawk; Sound Stage at Waterside Theatre, 1409 National Park Drive, Manteo; First Flight High School, 100, Veterans Drive, Kill Devil Hills
  • Info: bryanculturalseries.org

Saturday 3.30

Dr. Bacon

“We're Dr. Bacon from Asheville and we're here to prescribe good vibes and good feelings.”

That's how the musicians in the sextet introduce themselves for club shows.

Bacon's infectious music blends funk, folk, rock, blues, jazz and hip-hop.

Excuse the pun, but you'll get piggy with it.

The band plays Saturday, March 30, at Outer Banks Brewing Station in Kill Devil Hills.

For its “Appalachian Funk-Rock” sound, the group employs a wide array of instruments.

The stage looks like a pawnshop in Nashville: guitars, harmonica, bass, drums, resonator, saxophones, trombone, violin, pedal steel, kazoo and mandolin, among others.

Original tunes range from “Peculiar,” with suggests the Dave Matthews Band infused with hip-hop beats; the up-tempo, folky “Girls From Caroline” and “When I'm Gone,” a bluegrassy number that moves at breakneck speed.

  • When: 10:30 p.m.
  • Cost: $5
  • Where: Outer Banks Brewing Station, 600 S. Croatan Hwy., milepost 8.5, Kill Devil Hills
  • Info: (252) 449-2739, obbrewing.com