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Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 12:01 am

Goings on galore

Suzie Stephens hosts a Ten-Year Reunion and Celebration of Ultraviolet, Sat., Dec. 7. 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Capital City Bar & Grill.


Sporting a double album of new material and just off from a tour of the Netherlands, after a summer on the road singing backups for Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame, the band Venice stops by town this week. Thanks to a lasting friendship developed several years ago with local businessman and music fan Steve Wells, the Springfield Venice shows not only provide quality entertainment, but make for some nifty fundraising events as well.

On Thursday, they’ll perform a Christmas show combining Venice and seasonal tunes at the Legacy Theatre as a Coats for Kids benefit. Look for Venice later at Celtic Mist. Then on Friday, they’re at Boondocks as a benefit for the Mary Bryant Home doing spot-on renditions of 70s, 80s and 90s pop covers as their alter ego band the Pine Mountain Logs. In a special treat for local music fans, the Groove Daddies open the show with the amazing Jeff Kornfeld in town to man the electric gee-tar. After 35 years of performance time, Venice just keeps continuing to progress in the business and artistic sides of music. They are a class act well worth a listen.

When Suzie Stephens celebrated at her birthday party in 2003, she gave herself the lifelong dream of being a singer in a rock band. This Saturday at the Capital City Bar and Grill, Ultraviolet, the rock band she organized to fulfill her dream, celebrates a decade of making music along with Suzie’s big five-o birthday party. When I asked her thoughts on 10 years of being in a band, twice she said, “It’s fun,” while mentioning things like working with different musicians, meeting bar owners when booking gigs and generally getting an education in how to be a band.

Along with playing area night clubs, state fair beer tents, small town festivals, weddings, parties, benefits and other venues, the group won second place in the Illinois State Fair parade for their “All-American” float in 2009. Suzie says her bandmates through the years have been “adaptable to my different ideas,” especially in wearing theme outfits that she makes herself and going with the fun of something different. The original band for the first (nearly) five years included Oakie Morris, Jud Barnes and Steve Bosie. Travis Aldridge replaced Jud for a time, then the band took a break of nearly a year. The return of Ultraviolet included a new crew of Marc Waterman, Jon Gentry and Darrin Barr, with Pete Jeffers replacing Barr after a few years. Preston Gary as fill-in on lead guitar (Suzie’s still looking for a permanent member), along with Mark Packenham and Ric Bietsch make up the current lineup. All former members are invited to attend and perform at the reunion/celebration that kicks off at 6 p.m. with Taylor June, followed by Ran$om, then concludes with an Ultraviolet ultra-jam, party playtime until 1 a.m. Congratulations to all UV members, past, present and future, and a happy birthday to Suzie, who gave herself and us, a gift that keeps on giving.

Head out to The Cove on Dirksen Parkway this Saturday when Off the Wall hosts a “Keep ’Em Warm” party from 8 to midnight. Admission to the show is a hat, scarf, coat, gloves, mittens or something to keep a kid in need warm this winter.  Good music and good times for a good cause is a good thing.

After many years of late night beginnings at our weekly Sunday night Brewhaus show, we’ve rolled back the start time to 7 and intend on ending around 10. I sure hope to see some folks, both on and off the stage, that were unable to make the late Sunday nights, stop in at the beautiful Brewhaus in lovely downtown Springfield for early “church.”

Contact Tom Irwin at

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