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Thursday, May 27, 2004 06:33 am

Now playing 5-27-04

Broken Grass Underground City Tavern. Friday, 10pm.

It's here, the official summer kickoff weekend, whatever that means. No really, I read about it in the paper and I always believe everything I read. And so should you.

If you like hanging out on the streets of Springfield, drinking, eating, and listening to music without the worry of being run over by a vehicle, stop by the Air Rendezvous' PreVous Party Friday night. Bordered by the lovely Horace Mann building on one side and the equally smashing Center and parking garage on the other, Washington Street becomes a little valley of entertainment between 7 p.m. and midnight. The Groove Daddies take the stage first then pass the musical baton to F 5 at 9:30 p.m.

Hit and Run kicks off a Knucklehead's musical extravaganza on Friday. Late Arrival shows up (on time, I hope) on Saturday. Come Sunday, look out boys and girls, it's House of Nasty. It all takes place in the friendly Northend bar on Peoria Road.

In more multi-act weekend bar news: Marly's Pub hosts Mr. Opporknockity on Friday and Debbie Ross Band on Saturday. At the Lime Street Café, Jane Hartman Trio does Friday and Bob Katt and the Missing Lynx tackles Saturday. Yepper, buddy, that there is a whole dang lot of entertainment jam-packed into a few short hours of our lives.

On Saturday, Kell Robertson, outlaw mad-poet, gentleman, and scholar, appears at the Underground City Tavern. Kell is almost 73, lives in shack full of books and music, and he writes. Once I stayed up with him for two days and two nights talking, walking, drinking, and discussing. I finally crashed and he kept going with somebody else who had got some rest. The energy of genius creates a powerful drive. Kell has it and he is not letting it go. He writes poetry when he talks and plays songs about the real stuff, the good stuff, the stuff he lives every day. It's an honor to be on stage with him as a Dust Devil, along with Jason Eklund and Mike Good.

Here are a few exciting entertainment opportunities coming soon to a Springfield near you. The Unitarian Universalist Church becomes a hotbed for live music on the weekend of June 18 and 19. On that Friday, Pieces of East, a two-time Austin Music Award winner for "Best World Band" rolls into the newly rockin' church. Fragment, a bluegrass band from the Czech Republic (go figure), plays on that Saturday. And on Sunday they rested (right after the worship service, of course). Sean and Jamie Burns of the Sangamon Valley Roots Revival have put two more notches in their dream-booking gun. Wanda Jackson, the great early rock & roll singer who rocked the world right along with Elvis, is signed up for a show at the Underground City Tavern on June 25. BR549 is headlining this year's Rooftop Rootsfest on top of the Hilton parking garage on July 10. Get your tickets from the Brothers Kessler at Recycled Records. JamFest returns to the Nelson Center in Lincoln Park next weekend on June 5, supplying you, the fortunate listener, with the finest opportunity available to view the largest collection of area bands ever assembled in one location. Yeehaa!

Now to enjoy the weekend delights of what my dear Grandma called Decoration Day.

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