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Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 05:06 am

Labor Day doings


Cody Canada and the Departed play with Chris Knight at Boondocks on Saturday, Aug. 31.

Well, it’s time for the annual bemoaning of the passing of another summer, one that seemed to fly by like a hungry mosquito heading for dinner on my left elbow. Now I suppose fall will just do the same. The years pile up with annoying regularity and increasing rapidity, but all in good time.

First let’s congratulate Monica Morris (solo/duo) and Brooke Thomas and the Blues Suns (band) as the winners of the Illinois Central Blues Club Blues Challenge, held Saturday during the Old Capitol Blues and BBQs. The lucky and talented musicians now gear up for the International Blues Challenge held the first of February in Memphis. Should we go for a Springfield sweep? Why not.

How about taking some time to listen to one of the most creative and free flowing groups around as End Times Trio (Richard Gilman-Opalsky, drums and percussion; Mark Schwartz, prepared guitar and bass; and Frank Trompeter, tenor, alto and soprano saxophones) play freejazz on Thursday night at The Pharmacy. The enterprising and surprising three-piece combo opens for the improvising duo of Lucas Collins (percussion) and Albert Wildeman (upright bass). Collins and Wildeman first met on the Chicago improvisational music scene and are now doing a Midwest tour. If you’re ready for a pleasurable challenge of hearing a fresh musical approach, come on down to Pasfield and South Grand and experience a show at The Pharmacy.

On Friday, Perfunctory This Band and friends host a fundraiser night at the Butternut Hut to help pay expenses for the upcoming annual Jerry Garcia Tribute on Sept. 15 at Douglas Park. Also sponsored by the folks from Penny Lane, this year the day long concert is dedicated to the late Big Joe, always a big part of all things that happened around the hippest store in Springfield. He is majorly missed.

This Saturday night show at Boondocks with Chris Knight and a band, plus Cody Canada and the Departed, is what they call a twin bill and a good one at that. I visited with Boondocks’ owner Carol Grigiski when we were both up early and out to see Sam Madonia on his Springfield radio show last Friday morning. Grigiski’s always on the go and making things happen at her place, transforming it into a major live music venue in the region.

And speaking of transforming, Donnie’s Homespun has done a number at their space in the Vinegar Hill Mall. There’s one thing in common that brought both places to the level they are now and this weekend says it all – labor. Lots of work and a commitment to presenting live music well, gave us a couple of rocking venues presenting different types of music on a regular basis. Hip, hip hooray for that labor of love.

With the holiday this Monday, Sunday becomes a night to get out and hear music and several places kick in with an extra dose of live entertainment. Donnie’s Homespun hosts a band called Get the Led Out, a group honoring the sound of Led Zeppelin. Jason Bassett and Big Daddy Jasper play the Firefighters Postal Club, while Hat Trick covers the Curve Inn. The Stone and Biscuit Band plays at Guitars and Cadillacs, and Ultraviolet shines at the Stadium. The weekly Reggae Sundays with Loud Clouds continues with some sweet music at the Butternut Hut. At our regular Brewhaus Sunday, the guys and I rock out and go Florething with special guests Poppa Brad and son Taylor Floreth, who’s in from Brooklyn for the weekend to celebrate dear old dad’s birthday with a chick-boom-bang.

Okay, the Labor Day rest is over. It’s time to get back to work and head into the flash of fall, then off we go with a ho-ho-ho.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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