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Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009 11:03 am

Final fair fling

The Eva Hunter Band plays Thursday at the Miller Lite beer tent.
Okay I give up. I’m trying to find something else to cover other than the Illinois State Fair for this week’s blathering, but not much else is a-coming into the column coffers. Sobeit, let’s head back out to the fairgrounds one more time.

Unfortunately, a couple of my personal favorites perform on Thursday, the day IT hits the streets, but hey, you prompt readers will be in the know. Dennis Stroughmatt Et L’esprit Creole plays the Ethnic Village, Aug. 20, from 5 to 7 and I’m just a toe-tapping, fool when it comes to Dennis and his “Upper Louisiana Creole” fiddle tunes and rhythmic Cajun-style music. Also on this last-minute Thursday, the Eva Hunter Band plays before the Cats on Holiday gathering at the Miller Lite beer tent. Last month Eva released No Missing Pieces, her third, all-original, studio CD, and her fifth release overall. The recording features a fantastic group of area musicians supporting her beautiful songs and stunning voice. I’ve yet to see her live show with the latest band incarnation, but with Bruce Williams, Michael Sullivan and Ric Snow manning the instruments, it’s no wonder anyone who’s heard them comes out raving about the striking musicianship backing this extraordinary singer-songwriter. If you hurry maybe you’ll make it for her 6:30 to 8:30 concert. If not, keep your eyes and ears open and check out an Eva show soon.

On Friday, when the Lost Boys take the stage at the Budweiser True Music tent just plan on kicking back for a spectacular night of over-the-top rock. When I walked by the tent on Saturday for an outside-the-fence listen to the Dirty Ernies, the place was jam-packed, with a good-sized line of patrons working on getting inside, so get there early and stake out a table. Next weekend the Lost Boys head to southern Illinois for an opening slot at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, when Warrant rocks the Du Quoin State Fair. What a cool gig that’ll be.

Saturday is Park District Conservation Day at the fair and with that comes something called the Park District Battle of the Bands at The Shed. Now I’m not sure what it really is, though I’ve tried to find out, so the assumption is that young bands battle for a prize of some sort through performances. The contest runs from noon to 5 p.m. while the venue also hosts a “Guitar Hero 3 Tournament” that is free and open to the public from 12:30 to 3:30. Well, it could be quite interesting, you know. I do believe, perhaps to each his own and that kind of stuff would apply well in this circumstance.

Here are a few more attractions to round out the beer venue experience in a final blast of fair-induced madness. At the Ethnic Village Exorna, an area-based, top-notch, traditional song-oriented, Irish band plays on Saturday from 3 to 4 and the ever popular, rolling reggae sounds of Keith Eric and the Waterhouse Band, a ISF regular for many years, waft through the culturally tinged air in marathon gigs from 7 to 11 on Thursday and Friday. Screamin’ Vatos play the Miller Lite tent for a very hip last Saturday of the fair show from 8:30 to 11, knocking out the Santana like nobody’s business. On Sunday madd hoss jackson (you go ask them why the lower case, not me) plays the Coors Light Tent from 1 to 3 and that’s all I’m saying about that.

Hope you had and are having a fun-filled 2009 Illinois State Fair.

Now start making plans for the Old Capital Blues and BBQ festival coming up next weekend. Here’s a tip: Don’t be thrown off by the absence of “big name” acts. The music bill is stellar and stunning, featuring an amazing lineup of under-the-radar, prime music makers.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.
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