Jens Krüger give back while rocking out

Kingston band takes stage for Trek for Teen's charity concert

Trek for Teen's charity concert will be held at the Mansion on Jan. 17.
Supplied by Jens Krüger

Jens Krüger will bring humour and heart to Trek for Teen’s Kingston Chapter’s fourth annual charity concert. 

Held at the Mansion on Jan. 17, the show will feature performances from Kara Aldrich, Refreshingly Biblical, and Kingston band Jens Krüger.

Trek for Teens, a foundation dedicated to raising funds and awareness for homeless youth, opened its Queen’s branch in 2016. Their annual concerts have been one of their most successful fundraisers, with the organization adding an additional January concert following the success of their November show. Artists volunteer their time to perform at the concerts, with all proceeds going to the charity, which has branches in Hamilton, Montreal, London, Sudbury, and Toronto.

Jens Krüger, consisting of Jake Dawson (ArtSci ‘19), Ben Poole (ArtSci ‘19), Patrick Rankin (Sci ‘19), and Justin Saba (who recently graduated from Saint Lawrence College) jump at the chance to play charity shows, seizing the opportunity to give back to their community and support student initiatives.

“It’s nice to help out charities that mean a lot to our friends, and do that through our love of music,” bass guitarist Dawson said.

The band formed in 2018, and they say they still revel in the magic of playing music with friends.

After meeting in first year, Poole, Jens Krüger’s lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, encouraged Dawson to pick up an instrument so the pair could play together. The duo quickly convinced their housemate Rankin, a drummer, and friend Saba, a guitarist, to join. Occasionally, their friend Eoin Dawson (ArtSci ‘19) has joined in on the keyboard. Initially, the group used Joe’s M.I.L.L, Kingston’s Musical Instrument Lending Library, and scheduled practices around their class schedules. They played their first concert in February of 2019.

They took their name from a character featured in Dawson and Poole’s Beginners’ German textbook.

“This character in the textbook, Jens Krüger, was always doing super badass stuff. [The book] was always [saying things like] ‘Jens Krüger rides a motorcycle,’ or ‘Jens Krüger doesn’t do his homework,’” said Dawson. “What’s more rock-and-roll than being rebellious?”

As the group expands its original repertoire, its members draw inspiration from all corners of the rock genre, fusing together each member’s musical preferences and riffing back and forth to build songs collaboratively.

The local band embraces the opportunity to take on the city’s long legacy of rock, following bands such as the Headstones, The Glorious Sons, and The Tragically Hip.

“Kingston has such an amazing band culture that every bar you find in Kingston hosts live music some night of the week,” said Dawson.

“Whether it’s going to listen to live jazz at the [Blu]Martini, or being upstairs in the Mansion listening to rock, you can find whatever you want in Kingston, and I think that’s a cool legacy to be a part of.”

The future remains open for the band, but they continue to make the most of every opportunity they’re given. The rush of playing music together is not one they’re willing to give up any time soon, and they plan to record some of their original music later in the year.

Still, their first year as an official band has not been without its ups and downs. The band is still plagued by one case of mistaken identity.

“The first person that told me was my girlfriend’s mom,” said Poole. “She was talking to me, and said, ‘You know, Jens Krüger is already a musician.’ Turns out in Europe, there’s this guy named Jens Krüger who’s a fairly popular banjo folk artist.” 

While the band’s Instagram continues to attract the odd misdirected German banjo fan, they’re sure to soon establish themselves in their own right. Until then, they’re happy to keep doing what they love. 

“Just watching a rock show is something that gives you emotion that you’ve never felt before,” said Dawson. “I think we all just like to keep that alive. To get up on stage and get to do it ourselves is amazing.”


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