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Wednesday, March 7, 2007 11:17 am

Spring cleaning

The big news: Big Smith plays UCT on Friday

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Big Smith
Untitled Document Spring is coming, bringing with it a rebirth of sorts on our entertainment scene. Now that the smoke has cleared from our taverns and obviously won’t be returning, people are   making their way back to see live music, regardless of whether they can puff a cigarette in a bar. Could it be that someday Springfield will be heralded as a progressive municipality for being one of the first cities in Illinois to pass a smoking ban? It could happen, but, regardless of our legacy, keep your ears open, because lots of good live music is coming your way this month.
The big news is Big Smith, playing the Underground City Tavern on Friday, March 9, starting around 10 p.m. and going late. If you’ve never experienced this great and glorious band direct from the Missouri Ozarks, please avail yourself of the opportunity. It hardly gets better for a combination of hillbilly stomp, impeccable musicianship, undeniable showboating, and good songs done well. Besides that, they put on the best display of bib overalls and beards this side of Raoul.
Saturday night, March 10, at the Loft, the highly esteemed Roger Kimball fires up his sax and the Funky Music Dept. for some hot but still smooth jazz, including various classic New Orleans compositions. Kimball has attracted some of the top local musicians for his project and created a dynamic band in the process. The Dirty Ernies celebrate their one-year band anniversary 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday, March 10, at Marly’s Pub. Congratulations, guys! It’s no easy task keeping a band together, and these folks do deserve a hearty handshake, a pat on the back, and a shot of top-shelf booze — unless, of course, they are recovering alcoholic musicians, trying to rebuild lives destroyed by spending most of their adult lives hopping from band to band, playing in bars until the wee hours. If that’s the case, proceed with the congratulations and leave out the shot. Speaking of anniversaries, the Illinois Central Blues Club hits No. 21 on Saturday and commemorates the occasion with a performance by Big George Brock and Clarine Wagner, with opening act Michael Taylor, at the Capital City Bar & Grill, starting at 8 p.m. It seems like only yesterday we were sitting in Bruce’s Tavern watching Eddie Eugene tap-dance with a cymbal on his head. My, how the time does fly. Also on Saturday, the Shawnee Jamboree, a benefit for the local Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, rolls into the Forty-Niner Bye-Bye. Organized by four young men from Springfield, the show runs noon-1 a.m. and features several local acts. The guys are leaving the next day for a two-week hike on the River to River Trail in the Shawnee National Forest after securing pledges for their miles marched and are donating the money to the Red Cross. It has been quite a year for natural disasters around here, so please pitch in. You never know when you’ll be one needing help.
Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.
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