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Thursday, Sept. 8, 2005 12:31 pm

On the Midnight Swinger shift

David Scott insists he's looking good. What a joker.

Ever wonder what it would be like to be a touring comedian, trying to crack people up, night after night, from Tuscaloosa to Tucumcari, Sioux Falls to Niagara Falls, Long Island to Long Beach?

For several years David Scott, a.k.a. the Midnight Swinger, has been on the road making a living by making people laugh. Now he's out on a four-month national tour, peddling his new DVD, Swingin' thru America .

"I wanted to make a film of what it's like being a touring comedian," Scott says. "People see comedy on TV and think that every night is a sold-out show, but it's not."

That isn't to say the Midnight Swinger spends his evenings entertaining a couple of barflies and a bartender at the local Dew Drop Inn. "The tape was filmed in various locations to give people a real feel of what it's like being on the road," he says. "One night, we have several hundred people in a Chicago theater; another night, we got 12 in Nebraska. I put it all in there."

Scott, who was born and raised in New York City, decided to give professional comedy a try after graduating from college. He took his stage name from an old Mel Torme song and transformed himself into the bleached blonde, snappy-dressing, fun-loving party guy known as the Midnight Swinger.

"My show is reminiscent of a '60s Vegas act with music, dancing, impressions, and crowd banter," he says. "I'm a huge fan of the Rat Pack and how they entertained." Scott sees comedy as an art form and his performance expresses that belief. "It's always a work in progress. I do my greatest hits and then try out new bits," he says. "I've just added a new opening and the last 15 minutes of my show is now an elaborate rock concert. It's not impersonations; it's totally live vocals. People say they don't expect it."

Even with his constant comedic evolution, fans of the Midnight Swinger need not fear — his personal slogan still remains the same. "Yeah, no matter what else I do I'll still be telling everybody, ‘Damn, I look good.' It's my battle cry."

The Midnight Swinger is guaranteed to be looking good while doing two shows nightly at 7:30 and 9:30 during the sixth anniversary celebration of the Funny Bone Comedy Club of Springfield (2937 W. White Oak Dr., 391-5653), Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9 and 10.

Music Notes

During the Traditional Music Festival this weekend, all levels of pickers and players will gather at Lincoln's New Salem to camp and perform music from the 19th century and beyond. On Friday, Sept. 9, at the formal evening concert in the amphitheater, look for a surprise when Bad Bill Robinson, one of the area's finest harmonica players, leads an all-star band through a bluegrass session. All members of the River Rats (Gene Fore, Jeff Fore, Bret Seiber, and Jerry Turley) are accomplished vocalists and players, so expect stellar harmonies augmented with superb banjo, fiddle, bass, acoustic guitar and, of course, Bad Bill's converted bluegrass harmonica. Mr. Robinson has promised not to sing as part of the deal.

Pack yer bags, pardner, and head north by northeast to Mustang Sally's in Leroy, Ill., for WWHP (98.3 FM)'s "Bigger Stick" Fall Festival Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 10 and 11. On both days, the party starts at noon, and features blues by Tommy Castro and Ronnie Baker Brooks on Saturday and hot guitar by Monte Montgomery and roots rock by Robbie Fulks and The Bottle Rockets on Sunday. Check out details at www.wwhp.com.

Viele's Planet (126 E. Jefferson St., 217-525-9029) explodes on Saturday, Sept. 10, with seven central Illinois bands at the First Annual Xtreem Metal Fest. Metal Chris Hupp, a contributor to Illinois Timesand co-host of Monday Night Metal Mayhem on WQNA (88.3 FM), promises us it will be "loud, crude, obnoxious and over the top, but we wouldn't have it any other way." And neither would we, Chris.

Calling all ages and lovers of original music as Midnight Fall throws a CD release party on Friday, Sept. 9, with pals The Elements, Best of Winter, and Harrison. 217 Skate Shop (3415 Chatham Rd., 217-553-1717) plays host to this extraordinary event in the annals of recorded music. Get the entire scoop at www.midnightfall.com.

Fat Willy's (109 E. Mulberry, Chatham, 217-483-6969) features Eldorado, a new nine-piece rock & roll band comprised of several veteran area musicians, on Saturday, Sept. 10. The group puts a fine horn section to good use by performing songs by Blood, Sweat, & Tears, Chicago, Los Lonely Boys, Dada, Temptations, and Steely Dan. They will, as they say, knock your collective socks off.
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