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Thursday, March 6, 2014 12:01 am

March in the meantime

Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers entertain for a Mardi Gras celebration on Sat,. March 8 at Donnie’s Homespun. Music starts at 5 p.m. with Brooke Thomas.
Just one week into March and perhaps the big thaw is here, but whether or not, there are plenty of events to experience in the meantime as we patiently (all right, already) wait for the warmth of spring to heat up the scene. I can just smell the outdoor beer gardens, alive with the sound of music.

Let’s look at a couple of fan-funded, crowd-sourced projects happening on the Indiegogo platform by area artists. With Kickstarter, the granddaddy of all such companies, recently hitting the billion dollar amount in funds raised for creative purposes by individuals, the concept of asking supporters to purchase your product in advance to build capital, is a viable option in an artist’s project planning.

Recently Brian “Fox” Ellis, our talented friend in presenting living history, launched a project called History...In Person! to make what he calls “living books” creating an “intimate encounter with historical characters” as portrayed by Fox himself. Discover how to contribute at indiegogo.com/projects/history-in-person.

Our other Indiegogo participant is local rap artist Nick Springfield, otherwise known as “Fade” (formerly “Young Fade”). In the process of recording his first “for sale” EP at Frequincy Studio, Fade is looking to raise funds to finish the job. Check out indiegogo.com/projects/nick-springfield-ep for information on how to help out his work in progress.

We continue with our Mardi Gras/St. Pat’s combo weekend as The Emerald Underground has Irish eyes a-smiling at Robbie’s on Friday, while the Irish-influenced, Midwest-raised duo Switchback brings a taste of the Emerald Isle to the Hoogland on Saturday. The talented pair of Martin McCormack and Brian FitzGerald will feature the Central Illinois Irish Step Dancers during the evening event and spend the week working with the folks at the Hope Institute.

Donnie’s Homespun recreates Fat Tuesday on Saturday with Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers headlining the second annual Mardi Gras celebration. Brooke Thomas and the Blue Suns kickoff the festivities at 5 p.m. Beads, dancing, booze and food accompany the music at this largest local celebration of the worldwide happening known as Mardi Gras or Carnival. Forget that Ash Wednesday was this week and just start over on Sunday is my religious rules adherence advice.

On Friday, another interesting character comes to the intimate room at Walnut Street Winery in Rochester. Russ Howard makes his first appearance in the Springfield area since playing the Harness Room (Wayback Machine, please) in the 1970s, before he took off for the big time. His career highlight of playing guitar for 70s pop crooner B.J. Thomas carried him through a lifetime of work. His WSW performance covers “The Best of the 60s, 70s, 80s ... and beyond!” plus I bet he knows “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head” backwards and forwards, inside and out.

ZZ Tripp, after a several month disappearance, makes their first, and possibly final, central Illinois appearance at The Cove on Sat. night. You best ask the boys in the beards what they’ve been up to lately. They seem so mysterious these days.

The rest of the weekend news is all the blues. The always exciting and fiery Mary Jo Curry and Tombstone Bullet play Casey’s Pub on Friday night. Saturday, at 7 p.m. come celebrate the 28th anniversary of the Illinois Central Blues Club at the Firefighters Club with Cash Box Kings and special guests Kicked to the Curb. Then during the weekly Blue Monday jam at the Alamo, the ICBC hosts the annual Eddie Snow Tribute featuring Wayne Carter, Dan Rivero and many of Springfield’s blues music luminaries.

These shows, plus the many more listed in the Pub Crawl, should keep the blahs at bay until it thaws someday.
Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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