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Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 06:06 am

February already

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Hick-hop group The LACS kick up the dust at Boondocks Pub Sat., Feb. 2.

After this odd week of weather contortions, I’m not sure if we are thawing out, warming up or freezing in, but I can assure you, no matter the fluctuating conditions of the climate, there is a steady run of good music in the forecast.
To add onto last week’s Marina V update, Nick Baker and Marina just booked a central Illinois show at the Abraham Lincoln Universalist Unitarian Congregation on Woodside Road for April 19 to celebrate the release of her latest creative endeavor Inner Superhero. As always, all the lowdown is available on her well-kept website at
marinav.com.

Thanks to Mike Austin of Mikey’s Entertainment Service for the heads-up on new goings-on in Pawnee. Mr. Mikey reports Still Kick’n, one of the most successful groups he books, comes to town on Feb. 1 to play a new venue called Locals. The bar and nightclub, open until 3 a.m. seven days a week with regular weekend entertainment coming soon, took over the old theater on the square. Along with the full bar and dinner menu, he says the band room is “as nice as any in the area,” with a three-tiered stage and good sounding space, plus room for 350 excited patrons. Check it out when you can.

This Saturday night at Boondocks Pub, I saw our singing country girl Amy Benton has a band together covering the opening slot for The LACS. I checked out the listing because Amy is the real thing and a good act, deserved of a band and bigger things, but the LACS I had never heard about. Thanks to The hot dang Internet I quickly researched this odd configuration of country, hip-hop, rap and pop from the southern Georgia town of Baxley. The name is an acronym for “Loud Ass Crackers.” The combination of hip-hop artist Clay “Uncle Snap” Sharpe with lead vocalist and guitarist Brian “the Rooster” King makes for some interesting genre mixing. Using their blue collar and rural upbringings for lyrical inspiration, backed by an urban-rap background, gives a surreal sound to the tunes on Country Boy’s Paradise. Hearing mentions of “listening to Johnny Cash” and “kickin’ up mud in my four wheel drive” over scratching, drumbeats and hip-hop sensibilities gives credence to The LACS calling themselves “hick hop” and certainly fills a niche in popular music not yet done at this point.

My surprise of the week came during the Downtown Springfield, Inc. Awards Banquet held last Wednesday at the Hilton. Invited by Illinois Times Editor and Publisher Fletcher Farrar to sit at the IT table along with the Kesslers from Recycled Records, we had a nice dinner, a few drinks and settled in for an exciting awards show. The mayor gave a nice speech with the most applause coming as he agreed to allow downtown music festivals to go until midnight. Somewhere between Best Upper Story Renovation and Best Outside Façade Repair, DSI gave me a Downtown Music Legend Award. I’m humbled and extremely proud of receiving this recognition for years of music service in the downtown area. Thanks to all.

Another related surprise came on the same day as Sean Burns of the Sangamon Valley Roots Revival revealed he will no longer be booking the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ nor will his American Music Show be associated with the Taste of Downtown festival, both DSI sponsored events. Sean plans to host his show at another time, and DSI intends to book more local acts at their events. The relationship was a good thing while it lasted, and I trust more good music is to come.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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