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Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016 12:03 am

December’s rocking

F5 performs a final show this Friday at the Curve Inn, 6 to 10 pm.


Welcome to the holiday season with all the trimmings as we slide headfirst through December headlong toward the new year of 2017. Jam-packed hardly seems a generous enough word to describe all the stuff going on around us this time of year. Besides keeping your eyes on Illinois Times’ print listings, don’t forget (because I always do) to look online at for more up-to-date and future events.

Let’s kick off with the announcement of a Kickstarter project by Southtown Sound. Set up by Kyle Noonan to help fund a full-fledged recording studio near Dumb Records by Eleventh and South Grand, the guys behind the knobs and the knowledge also include B.J. Pearce as studio manager and Mario Cannamela as journeyman engineer, with Kyle as the senior sound man. Having good, affordable studios in town is key to a vibrant music scene for original music, so take a moment to check out this cool project by searching online for Southtown Sound at Kickstarter.

 Without a doubt, F5 was one of the most popular and influential cover bands to play in Springfield during the last few decades, and on Friday, Dec. 9, at the Curve Inn, they play their last, final show. Tom Gaskins, the main F5 guy, disbanded the group in 2008 when he left town, then fired up the rocking machine again upon his return in 2015. The first F5 show ever happened at Bootlegger’s on Dec. 13, 1996; we’re plenty close enough to 20 years to call it a two-decade run.

During that incredible stretch, the group garnered 11 media awards, including several from IT’s “Best of Springfield” readers poll. Original members Robin Bosie, Stan Komperda and Tony Dyer return to join in the celebration and play a few tunes with the current F5, and who else but Ric “Skippy” Major will be in house to run sound, just like he did in the early days of the band’s initial success. On the Facebook invite page, Tom says, “Thank you everybody that followed us anytime during these last 20 years” and reminds all the F5 FB page will remain open to clue us in on possible upcoming reunion gigs.

At Always After Five, a nightclub in the shopping center near where Fifth and Sixth sort of come together on the south side, check out the classy, consistent live music on Fridays from 8 to 11. This week experience the cool sounds of Lady Carole and her Knights doing standards and classics of vocal jazz and old school R&B. The fabulous Johnnie Owens plays here regularly, as well as a nice assortment of other area performers. Next Friday features the rolling tastes of Ocean State.

Back Pack Jones is headed back to Memphis in early 2017, representing the Illinois Central Blues Club at the International Blues Challenge. The IBC is the most prestigious blues competition in the world, bringing together more than 250 blues acts, each chosen by a blues organization to find the best of the best. These talented fellows have been down this road before and done quite well. Who knows, this time they just might win the whole shebang. Come support the band as ICBC’s corporate sponsor, Third Base Sports Bar, hosts BPJ in a fundraiser to help defray costs of sending the band to Memphis on Saturday starting at 8pm.

As reported last week, the famous and fabulous Norb Andy’s is back with live entertainment every weekend presenting an acoustic version of Harmony Deep this Friday and the Mary Jo Curry Blues Band on Saturday.

That does it for me this week. Keep those cards and letters coming.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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