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Thursday, April 20, 2017 12:03 am

Many music choices made

The Iguanas from New Orleans play Bar None on Thursday with Cowboy Randy Erwin opening the Bedrock 66 show.


I know, I know; I keep complaining about having so many things to go and see in town that one (or more) can hardly find the time to see the sights and hear the sounds. Well, you know, it could be worse (and it has been), so let’s just step it up and go.

On Thursday, The Iguanas from New Orleans, standard bearers of classic Americana, roots-rock, blues and boogie for umpteen years, stop in at Bar None as they swing through the Midwest. Just for an inkling of what’s going on here, their bio page states: “the members of the Iguanas have (collectively or individually) played or recorded with everyone from Charlie Rich, Alex Chilton and Willie DeVille to Emmylou Harris, Allen Toussaint and Pretty Lights.” I heard the word that Rockin’ Johnny Burgin plays with them at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Saturday and the legendary Marcia Ball joins them in Kansas City at Knucklehead’s on Friday. But we got ‘em here on Thursday, all to ourselves, with the illuminating and entertaining Cowboy Randy Erwin opening the show, per his request.

On Friday, music returns to Arlington’s Upstairs (known to us old-timers as On Broadway) with Kofi Baker’s Cream Experience. I had a neat talk with Kofi the other night, and he’s a cool guy with great insights into life, along with being a superb and world-class drummer like his father, Ginger Baker, who is not necessarily known for the cool guy angle. Kofi explained the Cream Experience is not a tribute show but a jam band, an improvisational group taking songs by the Beatles, Blind Faith, Cream and others, then expanding the music through instrumental performance. With Kofi on drums (he sings some and expresses himself between songs), famed Chicago rock and blues guitarist Fran Banish sings and plays along with Dennis Keith Johnson, head dude in the Dennis Keith Experience and former member of major bands Chase and Survivor. Dennis plays bass and sings, making it a real experience. I open the show.

Saturday brings us the highly anticipated National Record Store Day, celebrated by artists who believe in the power of vinyl and independent stores that still sell records. LPs officially outsold CDs a few years ago, and by most calculations, recently surged ahead of digital downloads, partly due to the promotion and excitement surrounding RSD. Not surprisingly, Recycled Records will participate fully in the celebration with a host of specialty records for sale and WQNA DJ’s broadcasting live in the morning. The vinyl treasures include the much bootlegged Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band concert on November 18, 1975, at London’s Hammersmith Odeon, now in an official Sony-produced box set with only 3,000 copies pressed. Recycled Records has 15 sets available to first-come, first-serve customers. Dumb Records, on South Grand near Eleventh, also celebrates the big day with “New York’s Deadliest DJ” DJ TARIQ spinning records in the morning and live performances starting at 1 p.m. from The Young Eyes, Skunkworks and MLR with Luct Melod, plus 15 percent off all records all day long. Check out the special RSD releases they’ve ordered on the Black Sheep Cafe website or the Dumb Records Facebook page. Let’s note that the Elf Shelf downtown also carries a good selection of used records, but is not participating in all the RSD hoopla for now.

I bet there’s a billion and a half other things going on (like Rogers and Nienhaus at the Curve Inn on Thursday, Frank Trompeter Quartet at Norb Andy’s on Friday and Billy Bob Thornton at Boondock’s on Saturday, but that’s all I have room for this week. Better check the Pub Crawl, folks, and make a list.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.

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