Normally, as autumn goes in the Midwest, things begin to cool off, but that isn’t so with live music. This fall has a number of options within an afternoon’s drive from Springfield, and there are even several all-new showcases for this season. Strap on a helmet; Illinois Times is about to blow your mind, musically speaking, this autumnal equinox.
Buddy Guy is the kind of guitarist who doesn’t need to flash awards to command respect. All one has to do is ask fellow musicians, or listen to any of his five Grammy award-winning albums, to understand how Guy shaped blues and rock music. Flamboyant and explosive on stage, he was vetted by Eric Clapton as “without a doubt the best guitar player alive,” and influenced Jimi Hendrix, among many other legendary guitarists. On Oct. 10, Guy plays the Sangamon Auditorium. Tickets range from $30-$44, and can be purchased online at www.uis.edu/sangamonauditorium/, or by calling the Sangamon Auditorium at 206-6160.
Reportedly Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys once pulled their yellow 1950s school bus up to a thrift store and inspired a child to ask, “Are you guys from the past?” Perhaps that’s not surprising, because since 1988 the band has been cranking out a unique blend of country, swing and rockabilly with a near-obsessive devotion to a bygone era. Sept. 24 they’ll play the Hoogland Center for the Arts as part of the Bedrock 66 Live concert series. This particular show celebrates the 10th anniversary of Sangamon Valley Roots Revival, and also features Texas country-rockers Two Tons of Steel, and Bloomington-based swing group Caffeine Patrol.
The Bedrock 66 Live concert series continues at the Hoogland Center on Oct. 22 with Chuck Prophet. As a teenaged guitar prodigy, Prophet fueled the critically acclaimed 1980s psychedelic desert rock group Green on Red. More recently, Prophet’s roots-rock solo act was featured on “Last Call with Carson Daly,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and provided background music for the television shows “Sons of Anarchy” on the FX network and HBO’s “True Blood.” Tickets for Bedrock concerts are $20 at the door, but can be had for $15 when purchased in advance either online at www.wuis.org/bedrock or by calling the Hoogland Center at 523-2787.
Also at the Hoogland, on Oct. 23, the first-ever Third Floor Music Festival hosts homegrown music from 7 p.m. to midnight, as its name suggests, on the third floor of the arts center. Local bands will occupy Hoogland’s Theatre III, while the nearby Club Room showcases the work of Springfield-area artists and acoustic solo musicians. The Center for the Arts unveils the list of bands playing this event on Sept. 1. For more info, visit www.scfta.org.
Sept. 24, country music artist Gary Allan plays the Prairie Capital Convention Center. The first 15 rows of this reserved-seat concert are $40, with all other seats going for $30, plus a $2 facility fee. Information and tickets are available at www.springfieldpccc.com, or by calling the Convention Center at 788-8800.
Indie and psychedelic-rock crew Of Montreal, Florida surf-rock quintet Surfer Blood, Tennessee’s all-girl, all-country-punk group Those Darlins, along with a roster of more than 50 other indie performers are playing this year’s Pygmalion Music Festival in Champaign. From Sept. 22-25, a $65 wristband is all that’s needed to gain access to the festival’s bands at numerous indoor venues in the twin cities of Urbana-Champaign, though passes to individual performances will be available. For the lineup and more details on the festival, consult www.2010.pygmalionmusicfestival.com.
Fall begins with the big guns in St. Louis, as the first-ever Loufest spans rock, pop and bluegrass genres across 18 bands at Forest Park on Aug. 28 and 29. Among those scheduled to perform are Broken Social Scene, Titus Andronicus, Alejandro Escovedo and So Many Dynamos. Bringing up the end of the festival is southern Illinois’ own alt-country hero, Jeff Tweedy, performing apart from his Grammy-winning band Wilco. The festival finale will be the first St. Louis appearance for singer/songwriter/actress Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer, Yes Man), and M. Ward together in She & Him. More information can be found at www.loufest.com.
In September and October, the venue will follow up with performances by Avett Brothers (9/24), Driveby Truckers (10/2), Band of Horses (10/13) and Blonde Redhead (10/25). Thepageant.com has event information and tickets.
The inaugural North Coast Music Festival will crank up Chicago’s Union Park on Labor Day weekend with three stages and 35 electronic, hip-hop, and indie rock bands. Headlining acts for the main stage include The Chemical Brothers, Moby, Paul Van Dyk and Umphry’s McGee. Three-day passes are $75, but daily admission is also available for $35. For more information, go to www.northcoastfestival.com.
Matthew Schroyer is a freelance writer and graduate student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He enjoys blogging about political events, natural disasters, music and journalism in his free time. He can be reached at email@example.com.