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Thursday, March 24, 2005 11:45 pm

now playing 3-24-05

The Pimps

Heaven help us as the Pimps, NIL8, Funky Circus Fleas, and Hot Iron Skillet come together in a concert of epic proportions — or at least one with colorful band names.

The Pimps first appeared in the mid-’90s, billing themselves as the Goodyear Pimps until they were politely asked by a trademark lawyer to cease and desist with the name-calling. The Rockford band dropped the least offensive part of the name and was promptly signed in 1999 by Hollywood Records, a profitable rung on the Disney corporate ladder. After a tour with Insane Clown Posse, a song on the Mission: Impossible 2  soundtrack, and other exciting ventures wrought by the powers of the music business, the Pimps parted ways with Mickey Mouse’s maker. Since then, the hard-rocking quintet has played regularly almost every weekend and has sold many thousands of units without any help from big, pushy know-it-all record labels.

What can I say about NIL8? We played gigs together 20 years ago at Crow’s Mill School and Knight’s Action Park. The band has greatly influenced its generation and has done its part to convert the next by presenting all-ages shows for the last 15 years. Armed with a brand-new CD scheduled for a world premiere this weekend (if the mail comes on time), the Brothers Williams are poised to continue making significant music for some time to come.

For the last few years, Funky Circus Fleas, Beardstown’s most successful rock band, have been pounding the pavement all over the Midwest, working their brand of hard-edged metal topped with screaming raplike vocals into the brains and bodies of happy patrons.

Up from Pana way is Hot Iron Skillet, another independent hard-rocking band with a couple of CDs out. The Skillet’s also known for hosting Barnfest, a Labor Day weekend live-music festival.

Springfield Concert Web site creator Rob Hansen booked this mighty meeting of downstate rockers. Hansen, once the host of the WQLZ (92.7 FM) show Bandemonium, is in the process of starting a new local-music show on WQNA (88.3 FM) called Midwest Music Network .

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