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Thursday, April 21, 2005 05:51 am

now playing 4-21-05


>What’s the point of having a two-night music fest for someone just turning 2 years old? First, the kid doesn’t get a real choice in who performs, so the selection is left to the parents. Second, the whippersnapper won’t be there because the shows begin after his bedtime. Third, who cares what the fest is about, as long as good bands are playing and the libations are flowing?

The event in question is Jonah Fest II, a musical celebration for a young squire named Jonah whose parents shall remain nameless. Each year, near the birthday of said child, the Brewhaus celebrates with live bands and liquor-company giveaways. The previous weekend was the original 2005 celebration date, but that darned Abraham Lincoln and his block party stole the show. Because the bar is next to Abe’s new library, the birthday hoopla was postponed until now.

Headlining on Saturday are those marvelous rockers from St. Louis the Phonocaptors. Guitarist Jason Hutto and drummer Scott Hermes started the band in 1998 and immediately began devouring St. Louis bass players at an alarming rate. It seems that only Keith Voegele, former rock legend of bass mastery in St. Louis and now a Springfield resident, could withstand the crazed assault of Hutto and Hermes. Together the boys tear the heart and soul out of basic guitar-bass-and-drum rock and throw it right back at you. Growling chords, flailing drums, wailing bass, and intense vocals create a great and awesome sound without beating anybody up or inviting feelings of violence or displacement. It’s feel-good rock with deep intensity and desperate emotion.

Sunday night, our old friends Black Magic Johnson work the Brewhaus stage. Like the Phonocaptors, guitarist Raoul and drummer Reggie Britton went through and around several bass players (including Voegele) before landing the tasteful and subtle Chris Warren. The trio plays all over town, churning out blues classics with a twist, originals with charm, and jamming dance music like nobody’s business.

So go relax and enjoy the kid’s birthday celebration without worrying about bringing a present, pinning a tail on a donkey, or behaving yourself in the least. And happy birthday, Jonah!

Jonah Fest II features the Phonocaptors, Saturday, April 23, and Black Magic Johnson on Sunday, April 24, at the Brewhaus, 617 E. Washington St.; 217-525-6399. Both shows begin at 10 p.m. There is no cover charge.

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