Variety is key in a season of exciting music
Autumn is traditionally a big season for live music, as touring artists make a last major push out onto the open road before winter’s icy finger makes it more or less impassable. The upcoming season is no exception, as a wide variety of renowned musicians – big names as well as up-and-comers in a variety of styles and genres – find their way to the region.
Sept. 21, 8 p.m. – Marty Balin The erstwhile Jefferson Airplane / Starship vocalist’s most recent solo disc was 2011’s The Witcher, but expect a parade of hits spanning an almost 50-year career, during which entire cities were built on rock and roll (whatever that means).
Sept. 27, 7:30 p.m. Willie Nelson and Family Country music legend and de facto spokesman for the hemp industry, Nelson began as a Nashville songwriter for hire (Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” was an early composition) and long ago ascended to iconic status as the braided, grizzled embodiment of “outlaw” country. Tax evasion, Taco Bell ads and pot busts have all failed to detract from a career built on sheer talent, soul and a catalog of songs as deep as it is wide-ranging.
Oct. 18 8 p.m. – Iris DeMent Country-folk singer-songwriter DeMent has collaborated with such luminaries as John Prine (see below), Merle Haggard Steve Earle and husband Greg Brown, and is renowned for her incisive, sometimes political lyrics and alternately tough and plaintive singing voice.
Oct. 23, 7:30 p.m. – Z.Z. Top Having formed in 1969, this trio of sharp-dressed men clearly both has legs and knows how to use them, and their current set is as likely to draw from their early tough, blues-derived Texas boogie, synth-driven ’80s hits, and the more recent hip-hop-informed material of their newest Rick Rubin-produced disc, La Futura.
Nov. 8, 8 p.m. – Masters of the Fiddle featuring Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy. The husband and wife team promises to bring down a genre-jumping maelstrom of violin virtuosity, surveying the breadth of the instrument’s range. Fiddle about, indeed!
Nov. 14, 8 p.m. – Foreigner The long-running platinum act with the revolving-door lineup is known to cover the full spectrum of temperatures from “Hot Blooded” to “Cold as Ice.” If ’70s and ’80s hits are your cup of tea, it is probably “Urgent” that you make it to this show. It may be your best chance to finally “Know What Love Is.”
Hoogland Center for the Arts
The Bedrock 66 series of roots rock, Americana and power pop concerts continues its run at the Hoogland with rockabilly queen Rosie Flores (Sept. 7, 8 p.m) and Chicago blues upstarts Cash Box Kings (Nov. 16, 8 p.m.). On Nov. 22, 7 p.m. Ernie Haase and Signature Sound return with their Christmas show on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.
Pygmalion Music Festival
Sept. 26-28. The annual independent music festival is back with an overwhelming (60 acts!) and eclectic lineup, the top tier of which ranges from superstar DJ collective Major Lazer to alternative legends The Breeders to current indie-rock mainstays like Kurt Vile and The Head and the Heart.
Other notable C-U concerts in smaller venues include a Sept. 20 appearance by San Francisco duo The Dodos at the High Dive (51 E. Main St.), and New Jersey punkers Titus Andronicus, who play Sept. 22 at the Canopy Club (708 S. Goodwin). Pop sensation Aaron Carter will also play the Canopy Oct. 5 at 7 p.m.
The U.S. Cellular Coliseum
The Coliseum boasts a busy fall schedule featuring such far-flung performers as folk-rockers the Avett Brothers (Sept. 17), emo mainstays A Day To Remember (Oct. 3), electronica artisans Bassnectar (Oct. 4), thrash standard-bearers Avenged Sevenfold (Oct. 12) and pop country favorites Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry (Oct. 26).
The Castle Theatre
209 E. Washington
The Castle Theatre mixes things up with Australian metal courtesy of Capture the Crown (Sept. 6) and Australian pop-rock from ex-Men at Work leader Colin Hay (Sept. 11). Departing the land down under, other offerings at the Castle include SubPop trash rockers the Supersuckers on Sept. 25, viral Internet rap-and-tattoo sensation Kid Ink (Sept. 26), jangly Idaho indie rock legends Built to Spill (Oct. 21) and certified guitar god Steve Vai (Nov. 2).
Peoria Civic Center
The Civic Center plays host to folk hero John Prine on Sept. 13, classic rockers Moody Blues on Oct. 7 and C&W superstar Keith Urban on Nov. 1.
Kirkland Fine Arts Center
In contrast to his late father, left-wing protest singer Woody Guthrie, Arlo Guthrie (“Alice’s Restaurant”) is a card-carrying Republican these days, but that doesn’t stop him from bringing the folk to the masses, as he will on Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m.
Illinois Symphony Orchestra. Maestro Alastair Willis opens his second season as ISO’s musical director with “Centennial Celebration,” (Oct. 11, 8 p.m., Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts; Oct. 12, 8 p.m., Sangamon Auditorium), a program featuring music by Vaughan Williams and Benjamin Britten as well as the somewhat puzzling autumnal choice of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.” Next up will be “Holiday Pops in the Heartland” (Nov. 22 and 23), featuring seasonal favorites.
Fans of smaller scale acoustic delights will want to check out the Classical Guitar Series, which continues at Lincoln Library with 7 p.m. concerts on Sept. 30, Oct. 28 and Nov. 25. Elsewhere, the Springfield Classical Guitar Society will present concerts by soloists Roberto Capocch (Oct. 5) and Eva Beneke (Nov. 2). Both concerts start at 8 p.m. at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2313 Whittier Ave. For more information, call 217-726-8991.
Contact Scott Faingold at email@example.com.