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Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017 12:03 am

February findings

Bri Bagwell opens the show for Jason Boland on Friday night at Boondocks.


Here comes fantastic February, finely focused on the “fickle finger of fate” as they used to say on “Laugh-In.” Oh my, that will date some of us; but the “F’s” are flying in February because it’s fun and full of folly to fantasize otherwise. Forward!

I guess with that silly intro we have to start with Friday. Experience a very cool, good and musically interesting band when Sunshine Daydream drifts into the Brewhaus. Expect interpreted versions of Grateful Dead songs interspersed with Jerry Garcia Band picks and the occasional non-Dead song to create the SD’s “Grateful Dead Franken-set,” as the song list is known to some. Boondocks knocks one out bringing Jason Boland, a 20-year veteran of national touring as a modern honky-tonk hero, to the stage with his crack band The Stragglers. These guys know how to rock a place country-style and continue to do so on their own terms. New Mexico native Bri Bagwell opens the show with rare, raw and real country music sounds and butt-kicking, gutbucket, true-to-life songwriting.

For some driving, acoustic music on Friday, experience the interesting Americana song list and intricate interplay of Jay and Kimberly Larson at Craft Beer Bar while our friend Joe Frew rocks out at the Trading Post Saloon. Down the road a bit at Lime Street Cafe, the Angel Brown Trio makes sweet sounds happen.

On Saturday (off with the “F’s”) Mike Steinhauer hosts friends for a special night at Cafe Andiamo, the downtown coffee shop on Sixth between Monroe and Adams. For years a consistent acoustic music venue, it’s sure nice to hear of cool sounds returning, especially downstairs in a special space called Charlie’s Club. Mike plays the Dobro guitar, sings and joins his comrades in music including David Stover, Jill Pulver, Ryan Pulver, Joel Elliott, Kris Lang, Brian Steinhauer and Sarah Schneider. This free show starts at 7 with doors opening at 6. A few blocks away at Fifth and Monroe, the Henhouse Prowlers, Chicago’s most potent representative of the bluegrass world, wind their way into Bar None. Every time these guys show up, they just sound better than before, in that way only life on the road playing music can do to dedicated musicians.

For a Saturday contrast in styles of two cool acts, check out these folks. Mark Mills plays the Walnut Street Winery with acoustic selections of originals from his recent album, American Man, along with other tunes culled from a lifetime of doing the music thing. Out at Third Base Sportsbar, enjoy the rocking groove sounds of Brandy Kristin and the Revival doing songs you’ve heard like you’ve never heard before but will surely want to hear again.

On Sunday, Jeff at the Radon Lounge hatched a brilliant marketing scheme by being the only live music listed in Pub Crawl on Super Bowl Sunday night. I think that’s terrific, even though Jeff admitted to not really knowing it was “that day” when he booked it and no one else said anything either, which I personally think says wonderful things about all those involved with the setup. So all of us lucky saps who would much rather listen to the creative and striking music of Von Strantz, The Good Companions, Arlin Peebles and David Rokos while munching on baked goods by Emma Wilson and playing free arcade games than watching some guys beat each other up over a funny shaped ball now have a place to go. The music starts at 7 p.m., and you can find out where by searching online for the Radon Lounge.

Finally, we’ve finished the first February findings. Phenomenal.

Contact Tom Irwin at

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