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Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2008 03:24 am

The “Best” and all the rest

We congratulate the winners of Illinois Times Best of Springfield

The Dirty Ernies, co-winners of the best cover band award.

What could be better than winning an Illinois Times Best of Springfield award? Being recognized by peers within your community is an honor and delight, to be accepted with dignity and respect. Unfortunately, under normal circumstances and within the parameters of voting and tallying the votes, there is only one number one, regardless of how many worthy competitors appear. Understandably, along with the congratulations comes confusion, apprehension and even a bit of derision surrounding the awards on both sides of the results.

On the streets, in the workplace and at home, the winners, the losers and the in-betweens speculate, contemplate and arbitrate on the outcome of the contest. What does that mean to me? Taking in the very typical and often predictable nature of human nature it simply shows people care. As in politics or religion or any other very emotional and personal opinion-based concept, the Best of Springfield competition becomes a battleground of egos and attitudes mixed with worth and attraction, sometimes topped off by allegations of ballot fraud and lousy choices as prevalent as a U.S. presidential election.

But as with our system of electing officials, so far no implementation of a better idea has yet to happen. Therefore we are left with the far-from-perfect selection of who in our community is "Best" in what they do according to the number of votes received at a given moment in time. Could it be worse? Yes. It could be not at all. Could it be better? Absolutely. Each year the shifting categories and opinions refresh the competition with new ideas.

At the risk of sounding like a namby-pamby, soft-hearted liberal (is it safe to come out now?), as we congratulate the winners of Illinois Times Best of Springfield, let us pause to acknowledge others in the community who are doing the best they can do to make this place better. And that is how you get to be better than the best. Or at least we can all aspire to be pretty good.

Now let's get into the marketplace and quickly run through a myriad of entertainment possibilities.

A glance at the Pub Crawl shows a few, fairly new spots in our ever-changing, never static clubland. On Thursday Jaigh Lowder sports an early evening show with a music jam to follow at the BluCat Cafe, Jill Manning's new hangout in downtown Williamsville. Frankie's Main Gate, across from the Illinois State Fairgrounds' main gate on Sangamon Avenue, hosts rocking bands every weekend with this week's offering including the Dirty Ernies (congratulations, guys on the best cover band award) on Friday and Royal Pain (see the above comments) on Saturday. Bar None on the corner of Fifth and Monroe continues setting an original music pace with Go Tsunami and Thunderbeast on Friday and Matthew Ryan, a genuine American rock star, on Wednesday. The Planet weighs in with a diverse group of Springfield originals on Saturday, including Dig Down Deep, Hart Felt Sorrow and A-Bomb Nation. Folky's Pub adds Gypsy Collabo on Sunday night and Springfield Shaky on Tuesdays and a little thing called Punk Rock Wed: The Boot Party on Wednesdays.

So there you have it: a discourse on my thoughts on the Best of Springfield and a concise, and hopefully precise, list of fairly new clubs and what they have to offer this week. Hope your week is the best ever or is at least getting better.

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