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Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 11:43 pm

Online IT, open mics and other stuff

NIL8 plays at Broadway Nights formerly On Broadway on Oct. 30.
Next week the Best of Springfield issue hits the streets and as always is highly anticipated, especially among the entertainment field participants. Let’s just remember we’re all winners here, but then again, it sure is nice to be number one. But I brought up that popular part of Illinois Times to mention a shining new development at your favorite weekly paper.

I’m kind of slow, so bear with me, but has anyone noticed the very cool, new Web site that hosts the online version of IT? I must admit I don’t do much reading on the old ’puter if I can help it, but the site is really something, with all kinds of interactive and informative bells and whistles. Readers of this column should take interest in the Band Directory section under the heading of Music. Here you’ll find listings for about 50 local music artists ranging from some of our most popular bands (including former Best of Springfield winners!) and several names I’ve never heard before.

What does this mean to you, the average (don’t take that wrong) reader of IT? You can now find what band is playing where online in the Pub Crawl then directly go to the band directory and listen to sample songs, look at photos, read about schedules, influences and song lists, plus send a comment under the “fan” heading or continue the search by clicking a link that sends you to the artist’s official Web site. The only flaw, my friends, is getting our fellow musicians to enter the information and thereby making it available to the listening and adoring public.

Musicians take note: the process is easy and painless while being beneficial and handy so please go to www.illinoistimes.com and have at it. For bands that already have sites, the process is as simple as transferring information and for those without an online presence this is a wonderful opportunity to obtain one for nothing but the effort. Check it out when you can, let us know what you think and please pass on the information to musicians everywhere so we can all benefit from this grand opportunity to share.

While visiting with Jeremy at Norb Andy’s grand reopening last Saturday night we got to talking about the cyclic nature of the music scene in Springfield, which is intensely wrapped up in the bar business for certain types of music. With the opening of Remy’s on Monroe and Norb’s we quickly have two more jazz/blues clubs. On Broadway returns as Broadway Nights with NIL8 performing a pre-Hobgoblinspookadelic on Oct. 30, while last weekend Dream nightclub kicked in at the Vinegar Hill Mall and Frankie’s 49er Steakhouse and Saloon debuted in the old 49er Bye-Bye. Plenty of other places come and go, changing names and sometimes staying the same, but it appears we’re on an upswing of venues at the moment, but don’t blink, it may all be different if you do.

To me a good test of the increasing volume of entertainment comes with a rise in open mics or open stages as they’re sometimes called. This is just my bizarre theory, but I think when open mics increase then more venues and more entertainment overall multiplies. And if you’ve looked in the Pub Crawl recently there has been an upsurge in the open mics over the last few months. Maybe filling the slower, early-in-the-week nights with live music at a minimal cost leads to more profits and allows club operators to hire more entertainment or maybe the whole thing just feeds into itself in some mysterious movement of universal proportions. Then again perhaps it’s just the way it is, and that’s all there is to it.

Who knows, but as long as we all have some place to go to listen to live music, enjoy a libation and visit with friends, I’d say we’re on to something.

Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com
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